Woodridge College & Preparatory School, Van Stadens Pass, Eastern Cape
Situated on the Van Stadens Pass near Thornhill, just outside Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, you will find Woodridge College & Preparatory School and its Equestrian Centre, a top-class horse-riding training facility.
Established in 2012, it is one of the only schools in the Eastern Cape with an equestrian centre.
The facility is equipped with show jumping arenas, a dressage arena, warm-up arena, lunging ring, eventing course, secure tack room, riding trails and excellent livery facilities. There are a total of 25 horses of which 14 are used for daily lessons.
Currently, there are 60 riders who make use of the Woodridge Equestrian Centre. Lessons are also provided for adults who enjoy riding and have a passion for horses.
Kids Connection (KC) magazine chatted to Lynne Niemann (LN), Marketing & Communications Officer at Woodridge, about this amazing centre. Here is what we found:
KC: Is prior experience needed or are beginner riders welcome to join the Woodridge Equestrian Centre (WEC)?
LN: Lessons are available for novice riders and beginners from lead rein up to advance levels. They can start lessons at the age of 3 years old, in Grade 000.
KC: Can students bring and stable their own horse at the WEC?
LN: Yes. Excellent livery facilities are available – in stable and live out paddocks.
KC: Does the WEC have horses for pupils to use if they do not have their own? If so what kind of horses are available?
LN: Yes, the WEC have horses available to use for any level of rider – schoolmasters, from small ponies to competitive sporting horses.
KC: What equipment/riding gear must be privately owned and is there any equipment/riding gear offered by the WEC?
LN: It is compulsory to wear the appropriate gear – riding boots, riding hat, jodhpurs. Safety comes first at the WEC. Extra hats and second-hand gear is available at the centre.
KC: Can private equipment be stored at the WEC?
LN: Yes, the WEC has a safe and lockable tack room.
KC: How individualised are the training programmes and the costs thereof?
LN: We have group lessons available, which are limited to between four and six riders depending on how advanced the riders are. We also offer private lessons. The fees are adjusted annually. Should anyone be interested in finding out more, they may contact Eleni Pullen (contact details provided further on).
KC: What do practice and show schedules look like?
LN: The WEC is open from 08h00 till 16h30 on weekdays and by appointment on weekends. Showing takes place throughout the year, over the weekend at different riding clubs around the Eastern Cape and the nationals are usually held in Gauteng. Six qualifiers are available for each of the different disciplines. Other shows are available in the Western Cape area as well.
KC: What kind of riding is offered?
LN: At the WEC, we offer English riding, i.e. Dressage, Showjumping Performance riding, Eventing, Equitation etc.; Western Riding; Distance riding; Mounted Archery. Outrides into Yellow woods farm and through the campus happen regularly.
KC: What opportunities are there for pupils i.e. show and competitions?
LN: The WEC are proud supporters of the SANESA, SAWMGA, DRASA, SASJ, SAEF, ESA, SASA, SAEQA, PR Champs, and MAASA. Kids are trained and prepared for any show they wish to attend. Fun shows and practice shows are also available during the course of the year.
KC: How many instructors does the WEC have and who are they?
LN: Experienced rider, qualified coach and course builder, Eleni Pullen, is the Manager and the senior coach at the WEC. She works with a great team of experienced assistant coaches and grooms.
KC: Is the WEC open to the public for use or is it for school goers only?
LN: Yes, the centre is open to the public. The fees, lessons and operating times are the same as for pupils. Contact Eleni Pullen to make an appointment/arrangement for tours of the centre.
To find out more about the Woodridge Equestrian Centre, give them a call on 041 492 0006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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