Six steps to set up your own school riding team

We caught up with Issy, from the Hollidge family, after we recently built their family’s dream stables.

Last year, Issy’s school team won the NSEA (National Schools Equestrian Association) County Riding Championships and she went on to represent Surrey at the National Championships.

Issy loves her pony but also loves the fact that she can represent her school doing something she enjoys so much. If you don’t have a school riding team, and would love to set one up, here are some top tips from the NSEA to get you up and running.

Firstly, find a member of staff at your school who either has an interest in horses, or at least supports your idea. It could be a member of the P.E. staff or a member of staff who has ridden in the past.

Make an appointment with the Headteacher and your supporting teacher with a list of pupils who are interested. Ask for their permission to set up a team. Ask them to fill out the NSEA Membership form: www.nsea.org.uk/membership/membership-application

Following agreement from the Head, ask them to vote a pupil as the Riding Captain.

Find a qualified Riding Instructor who is prepared to hold practices and help to select teams for competitions. Make sure that they are able to go along to competition dates in your area with the team, walk the course and advise each team member on how to ride it. This person can then be the Team Trainer.

With your supporting teacher and with the agreement of the Head, send out a form to each rider’s parents explaining what you are aiming for, practice times, dates of competitions, financial implications (Do parents or the school pay for entry fees/ training?) etc. There must be a return slip on the form that parents must sign, agreeing to be present and responsible for their own child at competitions and practices.

Send in the NSEA Membership Application Form. Your school will be given a Membership Number and Membership Badges for the Team Manager/s and riding squad members. You can then enter competitions.

For more information on the NSEA, visit their website  www.nsea.org.uk