Saddle up and explore
By its very nature, the Isle of Wight possesses a spirit of adventure, exploration, and freedom. With hundreds of miles of bridleways and a warm, comfortable climate, one of the most exhilarating ways of enjoying the Island’s landscape has to be on horseback.
Sally’s Horseriding at Bembridge and St Helen’s are the best to try for riding on the beach. During the winter months they are based at Sally’s Stables in Forelands Field Road and from here you can hack out through the houses and down onto the beach at Bembridge where you ride along towards the Lifeboat station. In the summer months Sally’s are based at Nodes Point Holiday Park and they hack out down to the beach at St Helen’s and along to the exclusive Priory Bay Beach. This is a broad sandy beach, with tall mature trees tumbling down to the shore and can be accessed only by foot, boat, and of course – horses!
Fun For Kids and First Timers
Allendale, located between Godshill and Rookley, has a wide range of ponies and horses to suit all abilities and their instructors offer children and first timers a great introduction to being in the saddle. It’s a BHS approved riding establishment and it’s handily right on a bridle path, so you can ride off into the countryside from here for miles along leafy country lanes and more bridleways. If you go up at the weekends or during school holidays you will be surrounded by youngsters who attend the stables’ Young Rangers Club (ages 7 to 17) and who help out around the yard when they’re not having lessons or out on hacks. Regular visitors to the Island might want to put their own children on the waiting list to join – it’s a great way to learn and a fun club to attend.
Happy Hacking in the West Wight
Hill Farm Stables is in an ideal location for hacking through the scenic West Wight countryside: Golden Hill Parkland, the old railway line that follows the River Yar, Tennyson Downs, Afton Downs and many more picturesque routes. Once the West Wight coaching stable for Queen Victoria, with views to the Needles and Lymington, the riding stables has been established for more than 46 years and is now run by two generations of the family. They have a range of ponies and horses to cater for all sizes, ages and abilities. There’s also a pony club or you can even book a children’s pony party and have a mini party gymkhana where you can all win a party gymkhana rosette – spectators are welcome to cheer you all on. (Party tea is not provided but picnics can be brought to the stable).
Hang Out With Horses – Island Equus
For a totally different experience with horses you might like to gain confidence by meeting and getting to know horses at Island Equus who are at Irish Oak Stables, Pound Lane, Calbourne. You need no prior experience of horses or riding and many activities take place without the need to ride. This is something very special, and a great place to unwind and de-stress in the company of these beautiful beasts.
Bring Your Horse on Holiday with You
If you can’t bear to leave your horse at home there are many places that will happily look after your horse for you while you’re on holiday here. Most of the stables will be able to offer stabling or grazing (or both) and some self-catering establishments have stables for you to use. Try the Dairy Barn at Wroxall Cross Farm where four stables and a paddock are separately available.