Not everybody living in the metropolitan areas of London are “urban" all the way; some people still miss their past of growing up in the countryside. Enjoying the chirping of birds, fishing in the lakes and galloping in the fields or in the woods often become ingredients of nostalgic conversation, or at least, of a monologue for such Londoners. Being able to ride a horse somewhere in London may sound like a far cry; so, even though some of the memories of rural life can be revived to some extent in places like parks and lakes, the revival of a countryside canter seems beyond any expectation.. After all, horses and modern cities do not really go together. Nevertheless, the city is galloping a welcome news from South West London, Wimbledon Village in particular, where horse lovers can book a ride, take riding lessons, train for competitive events and much more.
The Wimbledon Village Stables was established more than 100 years ago; it is probably the oldest surviving riding clubs in the country that offers riding lessons, equestrian courses and hacking. You can join the club; there are Gold Membership, Silver Membership and Associate Membership available, each with distinctive entitlements. Non-members can book a ride as well; the cost for one hour private ride or lesson is GBP 85 and for GBP 110, you get two full hours of riding. Semi private and group rates are lower; however no private or semi-private rides are available for non-members on weekends.
There are 25 healthy, well trained and happy horses along with a team of qualified and experienced instructors who make WVS a very special place for horse lovers. The “Full Livery” horses are only accessible by their owners or by WVS staff while “Working Livery” horses are available for hire. However, a significant aspect of taking a ride through WVS is that they have access to more than 3000 acres of breathtakingly seductive South of England countryside right at their doorstep. So, you start by clip clopping on paved roads of Wimbledon Village for a little while and go over two zebra crossings with city council installed “Horse lights” as curious people wave you from their motor vehicles. You will be accompanied by an instructor on another horse and the magical terrain is there to explore in a few minutes. The city disappears and more country-like environment is all around for you and your equine friend to enjoy.
The Wimbledon Village Stables is part of the local history since the 1800s when it facilitated parking for coaches and horses for “Dog and Fox”, a local pub. Dog and Fox is still there and WVS is planning to celebrate its 100th anniversary as a Riding School next year. The place is a 10 minutes’ walk from Wimbledon Station which is connected with District Line London Underground. Wimbledon can be reached by bus routes 93, 200 and 493. More information on the Wimbledon Village Stables’ location and services can be obtained through their website at http://www.wvstables.com.