A friend’s wedding in the Peak district meant last weekend we approached the Lake District from the South for the first time and decided to stop near Kendal for a spot of exploring… on horseback (and foot)
The internet is a marvelous tool when it comes to finding horse riding schools so I quickly found Hipshow Riding School in the little village Patton near Kendal and booked on to a two hour hack. We mounted up and set off into the untouched countryside, Alex walking/running alongside.
Pony trekking- this is not! These horses were huge and when they went, they went fast! My horse for the ride was Becca a 15h2 small show hunter, who although big in my books was very small compared to our riding companions Alfie 17h3 and Diva 18h1. We rode out of the riding stables across the nearby farmland, sometimes along rocky farm tracks but mainly through open fields which allowed plenty of opportunity for a good canter. All three horses were very forward going when it came to galloping across the fields and sheep quickly leapt out of the way to avoid the pounding hooves. It was a real adrenalin rush to be on a horse that really enjoyed being out in the open going as fast as it could and I was happy to give up the reign.
It was a great vantage point for exploring a new area of the lake district and Alex was very handy to have nearby, not only to open the gates but also point out the distant fells and orientate me! The countryside was much more rolling than I was expecting but you could see all the way up to Kentmere.
The 2 hour hack was lead by Kate who was very friendly and knowledgeable about the horses and riding trails; making the ride varied and very fun. The cost was £40 for 2 hours on horseback and I would definitely recommend it. Hipshow Riding School also offer residential riding holidays which sound amazing.
My wonderful ride at Hipshow has really brought to light the type of riding I want to be doing more regularly. As much as I enjoy my fortnightly schooling lessons in Newcastle (I go to Fir Tree Farm Riding School if anyone is looking for a brilliant riding school) it is just not the same as the thrill of hacking. So I have decided after my holiday I will be on the hunt for more great hacking in Northumberland and the Lake District so watch this space!