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  • Writer's pictureJude

Springhill Riding Club, English Harbour

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Springhill Riding Club

Springhill Riding School by Falmouth Harbour is the place to come for an unforgettable equestrian encounter. Many of the horses here have been rescued and donated to Springhill. Some are better suited to trail riding while others prefer jumping.

The two most popular experiences for adults are the 90 minute trail ride through the valley with a swim costing US$100. This is most suitable for those with little or no prior riding experience. Alternatively, more confident riders comfortable to walk, trot and canter may prefer the Rendezvous bay trail ride and swim. This is a 2.5 hour excursion costing US$150.

Lessons in dressage and show jumping are also available.

90 minute valley trail ride with swim at Springhill Riding Club

horseriding through the valley

Having had a previous bad experience with a disreputable company that used poorly fitting tack and did not provide a helmet, you can understand my fear of getting back on a horse. However I had read good reviews about Springhill Riding Club and decided to go along.

The activity is very easy to book online through Springhill's website. Susannah replies promptly and answers any queries you may have. The weather is watched closely to ensure conditions are suitable for the ride. If bad weather is forecast it may be necessary to rearrange at short notice and delay by a day or two. A detailed specification will be emailed to you outlining things you need to know before the ride as well as a list of preferred clothing and footwear.

My trip had to be postponed due to a looming tropical storm and I am so pleased it was. The day I went along conditions were idyllic, a gentle breeze with a few scattered clouds.

The experience begins at 8:30am, the cooler part of the day. Susannah leads you to a room with lots of riding hats to select one that is a good fit before being taken to the stables to meet the horses. Having explained my fear of horses to her and expressing how terrified I was of their size and power, she eased me into the experience gently.

My horse was my namesake, Judy, a 15.2hh skewbald mare around 24 years old. Apparently even though she was a rescue horse, it is possible to identify a horse's rough age by its teeth. Judy loves to trail ride and may become part of their breeding program. She is a calm natured horse that doesn't get excited or like jumping and is therefore a good choice for beginners. Susannah suggested I comb its mane as I would my own hair to bond with her and get used to being around her.

Once saddles are fitted I step on the mounting block and mount the horse with help. Stirrups are adjusted for my comfort and important but simple instructions for an easy ride are given. Keep reins short, pull left to turn left, pull right to turn right and pull towards you firmly to stop the horse.

Riding through the valley on horseback at Springhill Riding Club

Judy is a grazer rather like myself and sometimes it was hard to pull her away from the leaves and fallen mango splattered on the ground but when I was unable to do it Susannah called her and she dutifully followed.

As we meander through plantations in the warm sun with Junior the dog tagging along behind us we pass tamarind trees, neem plants, lime trees with olive sized fruit forming and mango trees. As we clamber uphill I am advised to lean forward and as we venture downhill to lean back.

tamarind tree
Tamarind Tree

Susannah reassures me that Judy knows the route well and will be quite happy to follow rather than going off in a different direction. Nothing phases her - barking dogs, roadside cows, an odd passing of traffic. After half an hour I am surprised at how relaxed I am and how easy it is to converse without feeling the need to concentrate on what I am doing. Perhaps Judy’s relaxed nature and Susannah’s careful guidance and confidence in me is the reason.

Susannah rides ahead looking back frequently and takes lots of photos to enhance my experience, ready to airdrop them to me later.

On arrival at a small beach area within the harbour we dismount our horses. It still feels as if mine is between my legs plus it feels strange to put feet on land again even after such a short time, dizzying almost.

After removing the horses' tack we prepare for the second part of the experience, a bareback horse ride in the sea where the horses can swim.

swimming with horses

Once again I am helped to mount the horse. It is much more difficult to stay on without the saddle to steady me. We wade out into the sea zig-zagging through the surf, gradually getting deeper. The further out we go the more the horses seem to enjoy it. They both appeared to be smiling and Susannah's horse, Blanca snorted like a hippo the entire duration of the swim. After around 20 minutes of swimming with the horses we dry off and return to the stables.

From start to finish, this was an incredible activity and one I could recommend to everybody, experienced or a total novice like myself. I remember reading that the reverse side of the coin to fear is excitement and this was spot on.

My blog post about how to spend a few days in English Harbour. will give you plenty of ideas of where to stay and things to do. There are also many restaurants in English Harbour. It is a popular place to stay for couples, families and solo travellers.


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