The Isle of Wight was made to be explored and to inspire freedom. With literally hundreds of miles of bridleways and a warmer than average climate, one of the most exhilarating ways of enjoying the Island’s landscape has to be on horseback.
Take a ride across the downs on bridleways which have been in use since the stone age, or for a truly memorable experience ride through the surf at the beach.
There are a number of excellent riding schools across the Island which cater for visitors all ages and abilities and offer a wonderful way to explore the many paths, bridleways and beaches.
The Isle of Wight is an amazing place to discover on horseback, with our miles of bridleways for you to enjoy and even a few beaches for exploring. Here are a few options in the saddle for you to try…
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 – Great for First Timers
Allendale in between Godshill and Rookley have 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. “The skills learnt working with horses can be easily transferred to the wider world,” say Island Equus. “Body language awareness between horse and human encourages communication to be quietly assertive without aggression. Horses have the ability to uncover our emotions, from our deepest fears to the heights of pure, unconditional love. The horse reflects our behaviours and personality, becoming a metaphor of how we live our life and of how we communicate in relationships. So often, human experiences leave us let down, lose trust or become fearful to communicate. Horses have the ability to sense and react accordingly. During this process we can help people to understand themselves and work towards a happier, healthier outlook,” say Equus. 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. Or checkout our guide.