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Camping and Pony Trekking

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 2 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Camping Pony Trekking Riding Children

There are many activities a family can enjoy when camping, but one of the most interesting, especially for those who’ve never ridden, is pony trekking. It’s probably the gentlest form of riding and one that also allows you to explore the country very safely.

It’s good for all members of the family. While there’s no advisable lower age limit, children below the age of four might not find it suitable and may become bored too quickly to gain much from the experience.

Horses

Full size horses can seem daunting, even if you’re an adult. It’s not just the size but also the power they have. The horses used for pony trekking are much smaller – ponies in fact, usually Highland or New Forest ponies. These have a much more placid temperament and plenty of energy for walks through the countryside, even on steep hills, without slipping. The sense of being much closer to the ground can be reassuring to riders of all ages.

Trekking

There are several different lengths of pony trek. A simple one might just last an hour and can be the perfect introduction. It’s just enough time in the saddle to enjoy it, even for young kids, without becoming too saddle sore.

For those who want more, treks can last up to a full day, sometimes you’ll probably have to provide your own lunch to be eaten when you stop for a break. Generally this will be for people who have experience of riding, as several hours in the saddle can leave you rather uncomfortable and make walking afterwards difficult. You will be able to take regular breaks if you wish (which is advisable, and also the pony will need them).

One of the great advantages for children is that the ponies are so well-behaved that there’s no need to lead them at the rein. That way, children are really riding by themselves, which fosters a good sense of independence and maturity. The pace is slow enough to suit everyone and the horses do all the work without guidance from the rider.

What You Need

Make sure you have a good rain jacket with you. This will protect you in case of a shower or stronger deluge, which is always possible in Britain. Carry a water bottle so you have something to drink, and some snacks to eat en route. For a full day trek have a lunch in your backpack.

Although you could wear trainers for pony trekking, you’ll have better support in the stirrups if you wear hiking boots or at least stout hiking shoes. These are built to work with your feet so they will feel less tired when you finish. For a short trek, however, almost any shoes will be fine.

You’ll probably be in a larger group of all ages so it’s a chance for everyone to make new friends. Above all, it’s a great way to see the countryside and to gain a feeling of relaxation, as you just enjoy the view and let the pony do all the work. For those who worry about the animals, they’re always well looked after. They’re working animals, doing what they do best and never subjected to too much weight or work. It’s an affordable day out for everyone, and the kind of experience guaranteed to make good memories

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