Witham Villa runs its own training scheme for those riders that wish to develop their skills further and have more involvement in the care of the horses and ponies.


To register on the scheme, riders need to be a minimum of 10 years of age, ridden with us for a minimum of 6 months and a pony club member. They should be competent riders and able to perform basic stable management tasks ie to Pony Club D test level. Once registered onto the scheme, they will be invited to a training session, when they will be given a training folder, and they will be assessed for suitability for acceptance as a junior trainee.

Once accepted they will be allocated a training day, either Saturday or Sunday, and they should then make every effort to attend on that day to obtain maximum benefit of the training available. They will become involved in all applicable aspects of Witham Villa. Further benefits include allocation of a pony for them to look after specially and also to compete at Witham Villa shows. Rachel Burlingham is an example of how much benefit can be obtained from the scheme as she has competed on various horses in Affiliated dressage, having been a trainee with us from the age of 11.

The first pony she was allocated was a little grey pony called Misty that she taught to jump, she then moved onto a palomino pony called Sunny and a black pony called Holly that she competed at local shows. She was then allocated Vikki (Witham Surprise), that she schooled from being broken in as a 4 years old, up to competing her Affiliated at Novice and Elementary Dressage as a 6 year old. She then moved on to "Chaitaine" whom she qualified for the Regional Final at Novice level affiliated dressage. Her next horse was "Quelle Jolie" whom she competed at Elementary and Medium level.

Lizzie Merritt is another junior trainee who has had amazing success through the scheme and having been with us for 10 years she left to take up a much sought after Dressage apprenticeship. she is now working within the industry. Thomas Moulding also had great success through the scheme, having been National runner up at the BHS Riding Schools competion riding Ben. He also competed on Ben in affiliated dressage at elementary level. Tom has now gone on to take up an equestrian university degree course at Brackenhurst.  

Frequently asked questions

Do you have a rider weight limit? . . .

We have a weight limit of 14 stone, as we do not have any horses suitable of carrying any heavier weight. We would ask all our clients to adhere to this as it is to ensure the welfare of our horses.

Do you cater for riders with disabilities? . . .

The Kimberley House RDA group meet regularly at Witham Villa on a Thursday afternoon. Additionally, we may be able to cater for riders with disabilities that come to Witham Villa direct, providing that they have registered with us first and we have a signed agreement from their Doctor that horse riding is a suitable activity, and that Witham Villa is able to provide a suitable horse/pony for their individual needs.

What do I do when I come for my first lesson? . . .

When you come for your first lesson, please arrive 15 minutes early to enable you to be ready to start on time. You will need to come through the small gate leading from the car park. Then walk along by the manege, past the stables until you come to Reception at the bottom. When you go through this door, you will then be greeted by our member of staff on reception duties, and you will be able to pay for your lesson, find out which horse you are riding and which arena you will be in, make sure you have a hat correctly fitted and that your clothes and boots are suitable, and re-book as appropriate. We will also ask you to complete a Client Information Form for our records and to explain the health and safety requirements whilst you are at Witham Villa.

Do you cater for groups? . . .

We are pleased to cater for groups. Please ring 01455 282694 to discuss your individual requirements.

Will I be riding indoors or outdoors? . . .

We have both an Indoor and Outdoor school, and also a Show Jumping Paddock and Working Hunter Course during the summer months. We book lessons in both the indoor and outdoor arenas concurrently. If your lesson normally takes place in the outdoor school, please come suitably dressed depending on the weather conditions! In the event of weather conditions preventing the lesson from carrying on in the outdoor school, it is our policy to double up the lessons in the large indoor school.

Do you give lessons to people on their own horses? . . .

Yes – we are pleased to teach people on their own horses – whether it be that you need help with your own riding, or help schooling your horse, or competition training.

Do you teach stable management? . . .

Yes – we can run tailor made courses for you, or let you know of any of our existing courses.

Do you do career training? . . .

Yes – we are a BHS approved Training Centre to train up to BHSAI.

Do you do hacking (take rides out)? . . .

We regret that we do not take any rides out as we are situated on a busy road and we do not feel it provides a safe environment.

What times do you teach? . . .

Check our LESSONS page to see when we are open.

Can I buy a voucher to give as a present? . . .

Vouchers can be purchased for the cost of any of our lessons and special events.

How old do you need to be to start lessons? Am I too old to start having lessons now? . . .

We teach children from the age of 4 and there is no upper age limit!

Do I need Personal Insurance? . . .

Riding is a Risk Sport and whilst we are totally safety conscious, horses can be unpredictable and we recommend that clients invest in personal accident insurance. For your safety:- We are licensed by Harborough District Council which involves an annual inspection to ensure that all required safety standards are met. We are approved by the British Horse Society which again involves an annual inspection.

What do I need to wear? . . .

It is essential that any time you get onto a horse or pony, you wear a Riding Hat that meets the current safety standards. We have a selection of different sizes meeting current regulations available to hire if you do not have your own.You also need to wear Shoes or boots that have a smooth sole and small defined heel. This is so your foot will not get stuck in the stirrup. We regret trainers or Wellingtons are unsuitable. Again, we have a selection of boots available to hire if you need to.We recommend that our clients always wear Gloves as these protect your hands from possible blisters and keep your hands warm in winter!You will need to wear comfortable long trousers - jodhpurs are specially designed for riding, but any comfortable trousers, for instance jogging bottoms will be fine to get you started. Any clothing worn should be suitable for the weather conditions and must be fastened for safety. We recommend that you wear a long sleeved top.Many riders choose to wear Back Protectors to provide extra protection. They are particularly recommended to clients who start jumping.

Will I have a qualified Instructor? . . .

Your instructor will always be suitably trained with the knowledge and experience to teach at the required level. Click on STAFF in the main menu for further details of our staff.

How do I book a Lesson? . . .

Give us a ring on 01455 282694 to discuss your requirements and enable us to book you into a suitable lesson.



The Pony Club is an international voluntary youth organisation for young people interested in ponies and riding. Founded in England in 1929, and granted independent charitable status on 1st January 1997, there are around 345 Branches and 480 Centres in the UK alone. The Pony Club has been the starting point for a large majority of equestrian team members and medal winners. 

The Pony Club is represented in no less than 27 countries with a worldwide membership exceeding 110,000 making it the largest association of young riders in the world.


The objectives of The Pony Club are: 

  • to encourage young people to ride and to learn to enjoy all kinds of sport connected with horses and riding

  • to give instruction in riding and horsemastership and to educate Members to look after and to take proper care of their animal

to promote the highest ideals of sportsmanship, citizenship and loyalty to create strength of character and self-discipline


Membership is available to children until the end of The Pony Club Year or the Centre Membership Subscription Year, whichever is relevant, in which they become 25 years old. 

More Info / How to Take Part

Witham Villa is an approved Pony Club Centre, enabling children and young adults without their own ponies or horses to take part.

Interested? Then pick up a membership form from Witham Villa Equestrian Centre, send it to the pony club office and that’s it!! You can join in immediately - book in for the Monday evening stable management and badge sessions (first session starts at 4.30pm) and/or join in one of the special events or camp. The options are endless and you will have great fun.