There have been many articles recently on the advantages of your child riding from a young age, benefits including children being smarter, fitter and healthier, learning responsibility, making friends, gaining a confidence boost from something they love and lifelong wellbeing just to name a few (Horse and Hound). 

We know how much we loved riding as children and would like to share that joy with other little ones, but what happens when you just can’t find the right place to teach your toddler to ride? 

To many, a toddler and pony are too much of a commitment and very time consuming, many riding schools shy away from teaching young ages, worried about insurance cost, or just how to keep the attention span of young children. 

 We want to introduce you to The Playmate Children’s riding school based in Cheltenham. Playmate is one of few riding schools up and down the country that offer riding lessons to toddlers, owned by Lou Swambo they are a family run riding school, where all members of their family have learned to ride. As a parent of a toddler herself, Jessie, Lou's daughter, knows the importance of care needed around ponies at this age. So we got in touch with Jessie from the riding school to learn a little more. 
The Playmate Children's Riding School is a family-owned riding school and Pony Club Centre for children from the age of 2 years old. Based in Elmstone Hardwicke just outside Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, the school offers everything for the young rider - from lessons to Pony Club events for older children.
Playmate has a solid reputation for helping very young riders grow in confidence around ponies, with led lessons for pre-schoolers that gently help them learn the initial riding moves. Lessons involve a 30-minute ride at a walk and gentle trot pace in the beautiful surrounding countryside, with each child having their own trained leader. Parents can also accompany the ride on foot. All riding lessons are £15 per half an hour, which includes the hire of a riding hat. Pre-school lessons are held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. 
If you are interested in learning more or to book or enquire, please call 01242 680888, follow on Facebook: or visit 


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