Get Fit, go Horse Riding

Horse riding in an Association of Irish Riding Establishments (AIRE) approved Riding Centre will tick all the boxes for you or your child.

Horse riding in an Association of Irish Riding Establishments (AIRE) approved Riding Centre will tick all the boxes for you or your child.

AIRE closely monitors all the Riding Schools that are members of the Association through yearly inspections to ensure that the quality of teaching, child protection, safety standards and welfare of the animals are all up to standard.

The Association of Irish Riding Establishments is the body authorized by the Department of Agriculture to maintain standards in the leisure horse industry and is also recognized by Failte Ireland as the authority on this matter.

AIRE has responsibility for the inspection and registration of Horse Riding Schools and Establishments in Ireland. I am sure when you were choosing your child’s primary school you picked one which came under the banner of the Department of Education so why therefore when choosing a Riding Centre would you accept anything less!

Select a venue that is AIRE approved and you will be certain that they have Insurance, Qualified instructors, First Aid certificate and appropriate standards of welfare for their animals.

The sport has become very accessible with lessons ranging in price from €15 to €25 depending on lesson duration and expertise required. Not only are the prices of lessons reasonable but all riding schools that are members of the Association of Irish Riding Establishments (AIRE) provide everything from the horse, to your riding helmet, boots and tack so that all you will need to bring is yourself.

Many AIRE riding schools also run BHS training courses where you are coached in stable management, horse-riding and teaching; pony camps are plentiful around the country during the holiday period, these are popular with the kids for fun and activities with their friends.

This year Horse Sport Ireland ran an “Introduction to Riding” scheme where Educational Schools got grants for transportation of children to an approved AIRE school and the children received subsidised lessons. This will continue until up to December 2012.

Students who are serious in improving their skills may take part in the AIRE Amateur Tests and upon successful completion will receive certificates. These courses are accessible to novice level of horse riding. Those who wish to make a career out of instructing should partake in BHS exams; our centres will assist each student in their programme.

Most AIRE approved riding schools will take children for lessons from the age of five years old but it is best to check this with your local AIRE approved riding school before getting your child’s hopes up!

Beginners then vary in age from teens, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and so on. There is no age limit on the sport and we strongly encourage people of all ages to get involved. Be it for a stroll along the beach, a show jumping or dressage lesson or a lead rein lesson.

Horse riding is a risk sport however AIRE go to every length possible to ensure that the risk of injury is limited. AIRE schools must have first aiders present and all instructors are monitored and approved with the necessary qualifications. It is also a requirement that AIRE approved staff have taken a Child Protection Course.

There are many different disciplines to the sport of Horse Riding, Trekking – where you take a nice leisurely stroll on the beach or through some beautiful scenery.

Show Jumping - where you ride over a course of approximately eight to fifteen jumps; Dressage - where you are marked on your control and smoothness of movements, racing - which does as it says on the tin. Polo where two teams of four play against each other with sticks and balls.

When starting out horse riding you will be taught the basics. These include walking, halting, perhaps trotting and the basic parts of the horse. From there you will start moving up the stages from trot to canter and eventually after you have mastered these paces you will try a jump if you wish.

This process can take anything from a couple of weeks to a couple of months or even years depending on how fast or slowly you want to take it. AIRE instructors are trained to help you achieve your personal goals and work at a different pace for each student. Many AIRE Riding Centres are also approved for ‘disabled riding’ and welcome horse enthusiasts with all capabilities.

For more information on getting involved in horse riding or even to just have a chat to us about the sport don’t hesitate to contact us on 045 854518 or visit www.aire.ie. Click on Riding Centres at the top and then scroll down to your relevant county. Get fit! Go horse riding.