Horses in central London

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Newbie here who has long been lurking!

I'm fascinated by people's stories of horsey central London. Despite growing up pony-mad here, and learning to ride here, the only stables I knew of in centre of the city were the ones at Hyde Park.

I never knew about these word of mouth yards I've read about in the threads here - we're talking Kennington, Clapham etc. I know there's one in Bermondsey that is really hidden away...

Does anyone have any information on these places, or know anyone who keeps their horses there? I'm really keen to find out more as I aim to buy a horse of my own at some point in the future (not really any time soon, though - trying to find a share first!). Failing that, I'm just looking for some interesting riding opportunities in the city.

Thanks for your time :)
 

Abacus

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I can't help I'm afraid but there's a sweet novel by Jojo Moyes about a girl in the East End with a horse kept in the railway arches (which apparently was inspired by some true stories).
 

PeterNatt

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I used to keep my horse in London and ride it all over the place. (One of my rides took me along Regents Street, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Park Lane, Hyde Park Corner and in to Hyde Park).
There were a large number of different places that horses were kept and I have actually created a list of them as many of them have now sadly disappeared.
Which part of London do you live in?
 

Pinkvboots

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I used to know a few little stables in Tottenham and Edmonton my dad's friend kept his horses behind his builders yard in Edmonton Green, we used to ride in Jubilee park which was a ten minute ride up the Hertford road which was a very busy road.
 

Esme

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Hiya, I live in Islington (Highbury, specifically!) and keep my horse a short-ish train journey away by going out of London. It's not perfect but it's doable at least one end of the day or the other, and with horse on livery in case of total train failure! There are a couple of local groups on FB where people advertise for loaners/sharers so it's worth searching :)
 

pippixox

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I used to have riding lessons in Ham, near Richmond Park at a tiny stables called Barnfield.

But when I was lucky enough to get a horse aged 16 while I lived in west London Richmond, he was first stables in Ruislip and then Chorleywood. Easy to reach by motorway and just about doable on public transport. As you could then actually have some decent grazing and hacking. Expensive commuter belt yards though.
 
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Hiya, I live in Islington (Highbury, specifically!) and keep my horse a short-ish train journey away by going out of London. It's not perfect but it's doable at least one end of the day or the other, and with horse on livery in case of total train failure! There are a couple of local groups on FB where people advertise for loaners/sharers so it's worth searching :)
Ooh! :)

Is that on the line up to Herts from High and I via Finsbury Park? I’ve heard there are a lot of yards up that way. In terms of cost - is it a bit cheaper further out of London - at least to cover for the travel?
 

Surbie

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Ebony in Brixton, it's a fantastic place.

I am in South West London, loads of yards out my way, just inside the M25. Very much not Central London though. :D
 

gingerfan

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Before my time but my grandfather kept his driving pony behind his house in Edmonton. I think there are still quite a few little hidden yards tucked away, plus bigger BHS approved riding schools - Hyde Park stables, Ross Nye, Mudchute Equestrian Centre, Wormwood Scrubs Pony CentreVauzhall City Farm, Newham Riding School.
 

JackInABox

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I've seen the yard in Bermondsey (assuming it's the same one you're talking about). It's tucked away in a residential area, just a stable yard and a school, only really noticable if you're looking for it or if you see the sign for free manure!
 

Suechoccy

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I lived in East London for some years, learnt to ride at Snaresbrook Riding Stables (since demolished to make way for luxury apartments) which had a deep wood chip arena and we'd hack out into Epping Forest. There was a stables near Wanstead too, also Mudchute mentioned by someone else already, also still running is Lea Valley Riding Centre, then out to "suburbs" for Lillyputts Stables in Upminster, Havering Riding Stables in Havering-atte-Bower, Aveley Riding Stables and Court Farm Livery Yard (did hacks) both in Aveley, plus several in Sewardstone/Epping Forest area plus livery yards.
There was a tiny yard on a corner of terraced houses/railway arches round back of Shoreditch with several ponies/cobs privately owned for driving and riding, including a gorgeous chestnut Orlov trotter who lived in the ground floor of a terraced house with the front door (sawn into top and bottom) as his stable door which opened onto pavement so he could mug you for a treat as you walked past on the pavement, he was ridden up/down Mile End Road and Victoria Park. There were 2-3 small ponies kept on steep slopes of grass behind Victorian terraced houses in Cadogan Terrace, looking down onto Blackwall Tunnel road off Victoria Park, there was a Welsh kept in a scrapyard round Eastway (now site of Olympic park). Lots of tethered coloured cobs and shetlands in Dagenham behind the civic centre, on the marshes (some private horses there too) and over the Chase (area between Dagenham and Hornchurch) where there was also Hooks Hall Riding Stables (now Eastminster Riding Stables). My first ever pony ride was on a palomino Welsh gelding privately owned and kept tethered on the Chase, along with Zebedee the grey donkey.
 
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I've seen the yard in Bermondsey (assuming it's the same one you're talking about). It's tucked away in a residential area, just a stable yard and a school, only really noticable if you're looking for it or if you see the sign for free manure!
Yup, from my digging I figure it was the Old Southern Railway Stables. Apparently they tried to knock it down for a development. But now it’s staying put! Might go and have a look at it one day...
 
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I lived in East London for some years, learnt to ride at Snaresbrook Riding Stables (since demolished to make way for luxury apartments) which had a deep wood chip arena and we'd hack out into Epping Forest. There was a stables near Wanstead too, also Mudchute mentioned by someone else already, also still running is Lea Valley Riding Centre, then out to "suburbs" for Lillyputts Stables in Upminster, Havering Riding Stables in Havering-atte-Bower, Aveley Riding Stables and Court Farm Livery Yard (did hacks) both in Aveley, plus several in Sewardstone/Epping Forest area plus livery yards.
There was a tiny yard on a corner of terraced houses/railway arches round back of Shoreditch with several ponies/cobs privately owned for driving and riding, including a gorgeous chestnut Orlov trotter who lived in the ground floor of a terraced house with the front door (sawn into top and bottom) as his stable door which opened onto pavement so he could mug you for a treat as you walked past on the pavement, he was ridden up/down Mile End Road and Victoria Park. There were 2-3 small ponies kept on steep slopes of grass behind Victorian terraced houses in Cadogan Terrace, looking down onto Blackwall Tunnel road off Victoria Park, there was a Welsh kept in a scrapyard round Eastway (now site of Olympic park). Lots of tethered coloured cobs and shetlands in Dagenham behind the civic centre, on the marshes (some private horses there too) and over the Chase (area between Dagenham and Hornchurch) where there was also Hooks Hall Riding Stables (now Eastminster Riding Stables). My first ever pony ride was on a palomino Welsh gelding privately owned and kept tethered on the Chase, along with Zebedee the grey donkey.
Ah, how wonderful! Thanks so much for this. What kind of era are we talking here? I can’t imagine anyone riding a trotter in Victoria Park these days. Or ponies in shoreditch terraces!

I rode at Lee Valley as a youngster :)
 

CMcC

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I grew up in Hampstead, North London. When I was very small there used to be donkey rides by the Whitestone Pond. Every time we went past I threw a tantrum until my mum allowed me to have a go, I am sure this is where my addiction started.
Also every so often my sister and I would be woken up very early in the morning by horse hooves on the road, the cavalry used to come by on hundreds (in my 5 year old brain) of beautiful horses.
For a pony mad London-bound child these were magical events.
 

Sleighfarer

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I lived in East London for some years, learnt to ride at Snaresbrook Riding Stables (since demolished to make way for luxury apartments) which had a deep wood chip arena and we'd hack out into Epping Forest. There was a stables near Wanstead too, also Mudchute mentioned by someone else already, also still running is Lea Valley Riding Centre, then out to "suburbs" for Lillyputts Stables in Upminster, Havering Riding Stables in Havering-atte-Bower, Aveley Riding Stables and Court Farm Livery Yard (did hacks) both in Aveley, plus several in Sewardstone/Epping Forest area plus livery yards.
There was a tiny yard on a corner of terraced houses/railway arches round back of Shoreditch with several ponies/cobs privately owned for driving and riding, including a gorgeous chestnut Orlov trotter who lived in the ground floor of a terraced house with the front door (sawn into top and bottom) as his stable door which opened onto pavement so he could mug you for a treat as you walked past on the pavement, he was ridden up/down Mile End Road and Victoria Park. There were 2-3 small ponies kept on steep slopes of grass behind Victorian terraced houses in Cadogan Terrace, looking down onto Blackwall Tunnel road off Victoria Park, there was a Welsh kept in a scrapyard round Eastway (now site of Olympic park). Lots of tethered coloured cobs and shetlands in Dagenham behind the civic centre, on the marshes (some private horses there too) and over the Chase (area between Dagenham and Hornchurch) where there was also Hooks Hall Riding Stables (now Eastminster Riding Stables). My first ever pony ride was on a palomino Welsh gelding privately owned and kept tethered on the Chase, along with Zebedee the grey donkey.
I used to ride at Snaresbrook back in the late 80s. I think it was on its last legs by the time I was going there. I'd moved to London from Scotland thinking my riding days were over, and couldn't believe there was a school just one tube stop away!
 

VioletStripe

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I'm dead central (EC1 postcode) and keep my horse in London, around Barnet and Mill Hill way. I only moved here a couple of years ago, before that I grew up in a SE London suburb and kept my horse at an appalling yard on the Kent borders.

Apparently there used to be a much larger London horse community, with loaaads of yards around the Mill Hill and Edgware way... now not so much, it seems. Always love hearing from horsey Londonders!
 

Suechoccy

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Ah, how wonderful! Thanks so much for this. What kind of era are we talking here? I can?t imagine anyone riding a trotter in Victoria Park these days. Or ponies in shoreditch terraces!

I rode at Lee Valley as a youngster :)
The Dagenham memories are 1978-1985, the Shoreditch/Orlov trotter memories are 1985-1990.
 

Suechoccy

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I used to ride at Snaresbrook back in the late 80s. I think it was on its last legs by the time I was going there. I'd moved to London from Scotland thinking my riding days were over, and couldn't believe there was a school just one tube stop away!
My riding days at Snaresbrook were 1987-88. There is a Snaresbrook Riding Facebook group with old photos scanned in ... remember Gambol, Melody, Warwick, Kia, Pally, Heather?
 

Pinkvboots

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My riding days at Snaresbrook were 1987-88. There is a Snaresbrook Riding Facebook group with old photos scanned in ... remember Gambol, Melody, Warwick, Kia, Pally, Heather?
I was at pipers farm in high beach with a girl whose mum took some of the school horses when it closed I know one was a chestnut called merilyn, they also had a black cob and a lemon and white mare but I can't remember there names
 

OldNag

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I grew up in Sarf London - started riding on Tooting Bec (horses were kept in a mews), also rode at Dulwich and Willowtree. A friend kept her pony at the riding school in West Norwood but that is long gone.

Both Dulwich and Willowtree are still going as far as I know.

I have a lovely book (60s) by Joyce Bellamy called "Horses in Suburbia" .

There used to be a fab show (run by the then Greater London Council) every year on Clapham Common.
 

Sleighfarer

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My riding days at Snaresbrook were 1987-88. There is a Snaresbrook Riding Facebook group with old photos scanned in ... remember Gambol, Melody, Warwick, Kia, Pally, Heather?
I started there in summer 1988. I remember poor Warwick - he'd been in an accident and couldn't be ridden by the time I met him. The horses were going up to the Hollows and were hit by a van, I think. I rode Merilyn a lot and another little chestnut Arab but can't remember his name - was that Pally? Also rode Brandy, who later turned out to have a brain tumour ... I will have a look at the Facebook page.
 
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Sleighfarer

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I was at pipers farm in high beach with a girl whose mum took some of the school horses when it closed I know one was a chestnut called merilyn, they also had a black cob and a lemon and white mare but I can't remember there names
Loved Merilyn. The lemon and white mare would have been April, I think.
 
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