If you are mad for ponies as we are – join us for a Riding Holiday. You will have lots of fun with ponies, goats, hens and other animals, meet new friends, and have a week you will never forget! Our Riding Holidays also appeal to overseas visitors, whose children can experience rural life in the UK whilst enjoying the riding and improving their English language skills at the same time. In the last few years we have welcomed children from most of the European countries.
We are registered with ELDC and approved by The British Horse Society, The ABRS and The Pony Club. I am an ex Primary school teacher and NVQ Assessor, our instructors are all BHS UKCC qualified, and we all have DBS checks. There is lots of supervision and always someone to ask if you are unsure of anything. Many children come on their own the first time and make new friends to meet up with the next year. We often have children on their 5th or 6th visits. We have been in business for more than twenty years, and many of our visitors have kept in touch with us over the years and now have children of their own.
Our holidays are centered around riding. We are quite isolated, with quiet little lanes to ride along, and we have a safe rubber surfaced school, some cross-country jumps and a full BSJA set of show jumps to use here too.
During the week you will be taught formally in the school, hack out, have a chance to ride bareback, jump, take part in a musical ride and more. Each week varies according to age and ability of the group, but everyone has a chance to take part in competitions and perhaps win rosettes and prizes to take home.
This is a hands-on holiday so you will look after one pony as if he is your own for the week – responsible ( with supervision if necessary ) for feeding, mucking out, grooming and tack cleaning – all the tasks which go with owning a pony as well as all the riding!
Willow Farm is a registered smallholding of 15 acres, in a tiny hamlet of half a dozen houses in the flat, fertile farmland of the Lincolnshire Fens. Our nearest station is Wainfleet which is the stop before Skegness. We are about 2 and a half hours from London King’s Cross and quite an easy train journey via Eurostar from Paris. From Stansted Airport there is also a good train connection.
The Eastern side of England is the drier side, and although we can never promise a dry week, we rarely have a totally spoilt one.
In addition to riding we also have other places of interest to visit, so during your time here we may take you to Skegness for the beach, the funfair and the shops, to have Fish & Chips and a paddle in the sea. We also have a local zoo and Aquarium, many Farm Parks and a National Dressage Centre at Sheepgate.
Accommodation is as part of a country family – no cold caravans in the yard here! You sleep in the house in rooms with 2 or 3 children in each and have meals as part of the family. Our maximum group size is 8 but usually less are resident at any one time, so no one can feel left out or lost.
We have vegetarians in our family , so I am used to cooking a variety of meals. In summer we might have a barbeque, in winter we might toast marshmallows on our log fire – I can usually persuade the fussiest of eaters not to starve!
Health & Safety
We have family experience of asthma, and I will keep a discreet eye on your children with common medical conditions. All our girls have current first aid certificates and enhanced CRB checks. We do have rules, just a few! Hats will be checked for current standards on arrival, and we do not allow mobile phones or vaulables – so please don’t pack them. Children are kept fully occupied and supervised at all times – in the evenings depending on the weather we have quizzes, beach outings, go swimming, to the fair, (all outing prices INCLUDED in your holiday) or have evening rides sometimes with lights and music.
We will take any age from 8 years to 16 years but cannot take complete beginners on weekly holidays. We do our best to book similar ages and abilities each week, and sometimes have special ‘themed’ weeks.
Our Ponies are all registered native breeds / Highland, New Forest and Welsh. Some are my daughter’s outgrown pony club ponies, and all compete locally.
We have all sorts – some quiet, some challenging, some brilliant jumpers, some are very fast at games. So let us know your interests and abilities when you book and we will try and match you with your perfect pony. All the ponies are lovely, many get fan mail which they do reply to, but we would always swap you if you did not get on.
We can sometimes take children with their own ponies. This very much depends on the time of the year and availability of paddocks and stables, Ponies must have current vaccination cards and full insurance.