Last week we took our 3 little ones (age 8, 4 and 2.5) to Shetland pony club in Cobham, Surrey.
What a gem of a place! The ponies here are just the perfect size for children under 10. If your children are even the slightest bit interested in ponies, they are guaranteed to have a lovely time here getting to know, learning loads about and riding the Shetland ponies. And you’ll enjoy it too!
“Pony morning” experience
Our 8 and 4 year old took part in what’s known as the “pony morning” which is a great opportunity I can highly recommend. Children as young as 4 years old can take part in this fully supervised and led experience, which lasts for 2 hours, but if you have younger children who are 2 and a half years or older they can do a starter pony ride too (session lasts 45 minutes, which includes various activities similar to those listed below).
7 activities for kids at the Shetland pony club’s “Pony morning”
Here’s a list of 7 of the wonderful, hands-on activities that the children were able to participate in:
1. Meet and greet the ponies – very special moments indeed meeting these stunning animals, too cute for words
2. Brush the ponies – brushes are provided for grooming “your” pony
3. Help to tack up the pony and lead the pony – your helper shows you exactly how to do this!
4. Ride the pony (two good rides are included) – children are fully supervised and accompanied at all times on a one to one basis
5. Poo-picking (helping to clean up the pony’s poo!) – didn’t watch this but hygiene is properly observed and the kids really do enjoy this activity!
6. Enjoy learning about other skills in looking after ponies such as painting a moisturising coating onto their hooves
7. Receive a rosette at the end for their efforts – this takes place during a proper little prize-giving at the end, our 2.5 year old was delighted to get one too!
We were lucky to attend on a beautiful sunny albeit chilly morning, when the whole place looked absolutely stunning. It was decorated with colourful bunting and the seats are bales of hay. Parents can watch their children do all the activities though you don’t see the entire pony ride as they take the ponies out on a nice circuit of the fields. I was most impressed that the children get one to one supervision with a teacher, as well as their very own pony to look after and ride.
It truly was a very special experience, and I was delighted our 2.5 year old enjoyed it too as he got to hang out with and attempt to ride Honeybee, a gorgeous 15 year old pony. He was a little wary initially but he soon got into brushing Honeybee and even sat in the saddle for a few minutes, before he decided to get down again, but it was a great little taster experience for him. The immense cuteness of seeing one’s toddler with one of these beautiful Shetland ponies is just too much! I’m sure it won’t be long before we go back for him to try out a pony morning and an actual ride…
My 4 year-old son was a true superstar as he had never been on a pony ride before, and before we went was very uncertain about the whole thing! But he got completely involved and absorbed in looking after “his” pony and enjoyed two proper rides with no problems! I believe this is testament to how fantastic the helpers are at Shetland pony club and how comfortable they make the children feel around the ponies.
Besides pony mornings there are other activities at Shetland pony club like pony parties (from age 3), summer camps and even Easter egg hunts with a pony (now fully booked for this year).
There is a car park and a toilet at Shetland pony club. Hand washing facilities are available (very important!) Drinking water for the children is available but you may wish to bring some water and snacks, which is what we did. There’s a great child-friendly pub with a garden nearby where we had a delicious lunch afterwards, called The Old Plough. http://www.oldploughcobham.co.uk
RHS Wisley Gardens and Painshill Park are nearby too. We haven’t been to Painshill yet but I hear it’s lovely, and Wisley Gardens is just glorious!
You can find out more about Shetland Pony Club at http://shetlandponyclub.co.uk
If you’re looking for another activity that is fantastic for kids age 4 and up please check out my review of Kidzania London http://awaybies.com/kidzania-london-review-and-tips-successful-first-visit-with-my-8-year-old/