Ride High is a charity supporting hundreds of disadvantaged children, and they have recently taken possession of the Equestrian Centre in Loughton. Mum to Mum were invited to discover more about the magical Wish Upon a Star children’s Christmas experience they are offering this year.
Rachel (Founder of the charity Ride High) met us when we arrived and talked us through what we would be doing – making baubles and gifts for the ponies, and then walking outside to the Twinkle Garden to hang the baubles, and meet the ponies in their Christmas stable.
We were in a group of about half a dozen children, which was just the right size for the craft room. Parents were able to enjoy a hot drink, while the Ride High team helped the children with their decorations – a bauble with their Christmas wish inside, and a rosette for the ponies. (The staff all took the time to remember the children’s names and use them throughout the experience, which I thought was a lovely touch.) Then all of the children were kitted out with riding helmets to go outside to the garden.
Half of the children met Star, and the other half met Twinkle, and then swapped over. We learned about each pony’s age and what they are like, and then the children were able to brush them, and decorate them with the rosettes they had made, and glittering star stickers.
I’ve never done anything like this before at Christmas, and it really was magical. My son loves animals, and as we don’t have any pets, it was a special opportunity for him to cuddle and care for two of them. Then there was the Christmas crafting, Christmas wishing and hanging the baubles on the beautifully lit tree; and how often do you get to visit a real stable at Christmas time, care for the animals there, and enjoy a Christmas story in the hay?
What you need to know:
At £10 per child, and £3 per adult, this is good value for the overall experience, especially as it lasts for an hour and 15 minutes, and you have lots of time with two beautiful animals in a small group of people – that’s why booking is essential.
If you plan to go after dark, the cost increases to £12 per child, because of the enhanced festive atmosphere.
Ideal age: it depends on your child, but I would say 2-11 year olds would get the most from the experience.
Riding is not part of the experience – but it’s a perfect introduction if your little one has never met a pony before. If you are interested in riding at the centre, there is lots of information about the options.
Every penny of profit made from Wish Upon a Star will go to the work of the Ride High charity. Their acquisition of the Loughton centre is giving them opportunities to expand their work further, and offer work experience, apprenticeships and employment, as well as a riding school for the public.
When and how:
Wish Upon a Star is taking place every day between 15th and 23rd December. To book your place, contact the Ride High Equestrian Centre on 01908 666434, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Sam Poole and Rebecca Chamberlain
We were invited to the centre to experience Wish Upon a Star and provide a review for our members.