In the depths of winter, we need all the daylight we can get to keep us trudging through the wind and rain with our horses — and a dusty indoor school with murky lighting is enough to make us ditch schooling altogether until the spring. These luxury indoor venues — all available to hire by the hour — will help brighten the darkest of days.
1. Bishop Burton, East Yorks
With a flagship competition arena plus a second indoor school and a third currently being refurbished, this busy college offers a range of options. There’s room for polo, horseball or driving, with waxed surfaces and extensive facilities including showers, hard-standings and out of term-time accommodation.
From £30 per hour for up to four horses (lighting included)
Tel: 01964 553087
2. Stretcholt EC, Somerset
A popular West Country venue offering a quality waxed surface in a 20x60m indoor arena. The well-lit environment comes complete with showjumping and working hunter jumps and a heated gallery, plus wi-fi, speakers for music and full-width training mirrors.
From £25 per hour for one or two horses plus £5 for lighting
Tel: 01278 683312
3. The Dovecote Stables, Oxon
This naturally light, calm and inviting 22x55m school is ideal for young horses, with German-designed slanting kickboards and an integrated mounting block that can be stowed away with the push of a button. It boasts a heated client room and viewing gallery, a high-performance waxed surface and a full sound system, plus mirrors on the short side and diagonal.
From £25 per hour regardless of numbers, plus £5 for lighting
Tel: 01608 658743
4. Ingliston, Renfrewshire
For a full-on, buzzing atmosphere to help desensitise your horse for big shows, try the 80x45m main arena with its swags, fillers and bright lights. A quieter option is the 25x45m warm-up arena. Visitors benefit from waxed surfaces and superior facilities including a sound system, varied jumps and rider/trainer headsets.
From £25 per hour (warm-up arena) and £50 (main arena), regardless of numbers. Full lighting options extra
Tel: 0845 3011010
5. Fairoak Grange, Berks
This quiet, spook-free 20x40m school offers flexible training options. Warm up in an outdoor arena before riding inside for an authentic competition experience. It’s a friendly, affordable venue, with a top-notch waxed surface, mirrors, a heated judges’ box and an open side for ventilation. Showjumps are available.
£20 per hour, regardless of numbers (lighting included)
Tel: 01635 299367
This article was first published in the 21 August 2014 issue of Horse & Hound magazine