Millfield Prep School’s Head of Equestrian, Hayley Newman, talks to two pupils about their experience of riding at the school…
As the Director of Equestrian at Millfield Prep School, I am responsible for the beautiful on-campus Equestrian Centre, the 25 superb ponies stabled here and the coaching of our brilliant riders.
We currently have 60 pupils riding, from beginners learning the basics, up to experienced competitors taking on challenging Eventing competitions – we have the reigning champions of NSEA and Hickstead amongst our pupils. Our riders take part in a mixture of group and individual sessions, as well as Cross Country on our specially designed course, fun sessions at the beach and hacking through the stunning Somerset countryside that surrounds the school.
Our pupils enjoy using the arenas here at the Prep School, 120 acres of hacking trails and canter track, as well as the indoor school over at Millfield Senior School. As the only British school with our own Polo facilities, our pupils can learn to play and take part in competitions up at our countryside Kingweston Estate, where our annual Millfield Polo event takes place in the summer. Pupils also love our annual Millfield BE competition, which sees riders from all over the world come to take part.
Equestrian at Millfield Prep is about more than riding, as we also teach our pupils how to properly care for their ponies. On Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, riders can come and take part in Stable Management lessons, where we teach them how to maintain their pony’s wellbeing, including how to do studs and plait manes ready for competition.
I wanted to speak to two of our Millfield Prep riders, to find out more about their lives at Millfield Prep and what they really love about riding here.
"My horse Bluesy and I both board at Millfield Prep. I love having him so close to my boarding house, which is right next to the Equestrian Centre, so I can come and see him at breaktimes and after school.
I originally came to Millfield Prep as a swimmer, but as time has gone on, I have specialised more in riding and now ride every weekday and go to competitions most weekends. I love Eventing, and show jumping is my favourite thing to do!
I feel so lucky to have all the opportunities and facilities here. The riding instructors have helped me so much, not only with my riding and confidence, but in training and bonding with my new pony too.
My highlight of riding at Millfield Prep was taking the win at both Hickstead and NSEA last year, on Bluesy. Not only is it amazing to compete, but it was such a fun weekend, spent camping out with the other Millfield Prep riders. Having the British Eventing competition at Millfield Prep every year is really special as well.
Alongside riding, I play hockey, football, netball and cricket, and I love Food Tech! I also enjoy spending time in my boarding house with my friends. It’s such a friendly and sociable place to live.
I am going on to Millfield Senior School next year and I’m so excited to continue riding there, living on campus with Bluesy!"
"Before I came to Millfield Prep School, I rode once a month as a hobby, in my home country of Spain. Now that I am at Millfield Prep, I ride four days a week, as well as competing at weekends and I love it!
I loan a school horse called Mr Ed and I think he is the absolute best; I feel like he has taught me how to ride! He is such a brave and confident horse.
My favourite thing to do is Eventing, because I love all the elements of the competition. It’s so great that we get the opportunity to Event, because not all Prep Schools have the facilities for you to do the training. We’ve got a specially designed cross-country course, as well as 2 all-weather arenas, which really helps to prepare us for competitions. We also use the Senior School’s facilities, which are amazing. The riding instructors are brilliant and have really improved both my technique and confidence.
Winning the National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) National Championships at Addington has been my highlight of riding at Millfield Prep; it was such a tough competition and it really helped me to learn how to jump better.
Outside of riding, I play rugby in the first team. I also enjoy playing cricket and hockey and studying Mathematics. I am a full-time boarder, and I love the friendly boarding house, living on campus and sharing a room with my two best friends.
I am looking forward to taking part in more riding competitions in the future!"
Find out more about Equestrian at Millfield Prep School here.