Pewsey Vale Riding Centre

By Florence Wallace

We arrived at the Pewsey Vale Riding Centre on Sunday morning just before 10am, as the three of us Justine, Angela and I, had been booked in for a two hour hack across the beautiful Pewsey Vale in Wiltshire as a birthday treat for me! All of us can ride but we had not been out for a hack for a while so we were a little out of practice.

Greeted by Kelly, we were asked to sign the standard disclaimer form, donned our fluorescent tabards and had our hats checked to ensure they comply with the most stringent health and safety standards.

We were then taken out to the yard to find our allocated horses. Justine was given Eddie – later to be known as Steady Eddie, Angela was put on Millie and I was given Raymond. All three horses were beautiful, well built and somewhat high from the ground. Kelly rode a small cob called Scarlett.

At the centre

Once we were all mounted we were off at a steady pace up and around the village of Stanton St Bernard. However, it wasn’t long before we turned off the road and around a field. The ground conditions were wet and muddy after all the rain we have had but we were just grateful that for now the weather seemed to be holding!

It wasn’t long before we had walked and trotted around the field for a while, crossed a road, and then arrived at the bottom of the Alton Barnes White Horse.

Horses

Kelly talked to us throughout the ride and was really good at explaining where we were going and only when we were all used to our horses did we get prepared for our first – canter or should I say gallop! At the bottom of the hill Kelly gave the command and we let them go – all four horses – took on a full gallop up the hill. The adrenaline was pumping and I thoroughly enjoyed the speed and pace of big Raymond’s immense stride. I felt very secure on the saddle and knew I was in safe hands as he wasn’t going to do anything stupid.

Pewsey Vale

After the first gallop we obviously all couldn’t wait until the next one and the one after that!
We were heading up on top of the Alton Barnes White Horse and the higher we climbed the more the wind got up. We galloped again and again – until we reached the top. We really were embracing the elements. From the top of the hill we saw a couple of red kites interacting in the sky and as we were so high up it we were in fact sharing the same air thermals. We also saw a herd of deer in the fields below – the view was amazing!

Horses

As we started the descent we came close to a couple of the deer who did not seem afraid as they see the horses rather than the people above. It was a fabulous way of immersing yourself in the Wiltshire countryside and being at one with nature.

It was only when we reached the bottom that the wind subsided and we headed back to the yard along a track and crossed the road.

On our return, Kelly showed us around and I met Brian – the owner of The Pewsey Vale Riding Centre. He owns 800 acres which explains why they can take people around so much of the Vale without having to go on many roads – he owns most of the land we rode on and they also have access to neighbouring private farm land. There are around 80 horses at the yard, 45 of which are for the riding school and the remainder being full or part livery.

The Riding Centre are very good a matching horse to rider. They can cater for novice or experiences riders and offer half hour walk out rides to long distance all day rides. If you are visiting Pewsey or the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, please consider experiencing it from horseback. Prices from £18.50 for ½ hour to £230 for all day. A two hour weekend trail ride is £67 per person.



To complete the day and in celebration my birthday we drove to The Three Daggers, Edington, near Westbury, where I was joined by my family and friends for a delicious Sunday roast lunch. Pre-booking recommended. Prices from £21 for a 2 course lunch. My special birthday pudding was a lovely touch and delicious!

The Three Daggers

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