Okay so I'm one of the 'annoying parents' who has, over the years become what a lot of riding instructors might call a gallery expert.
All that time I've watched my daughter learn to ride a horse and have stood there on the verge of shouting.. 'Just kick a bit harder' !

Well it's time to come clean thanks to the newly introduced Mount Mascal Lads and Dads night on Mondays.  I signed up thinking that I can get this all sewn up in a matter of two or three lessons and I'll be out in those woods with the wind in my hair in no time. So there am I in my newly purchased and ill fitting jodhpurs and shiny hat thinking that not only will this be what us blokes would call a technical piece of cake, but also a good time to show my now able daughter that it's not that hard after all right?  WRONG !

This has been a true eye opener and has very quickly made me realise that what you think you know and understand your ability to be, is not necessarily the case. More importantly, the four legged furry animal below you thinks and interprets your every move in a very different way to what you previously thought. Therefore just yanking hard on the left rein doesn't mean that the horse steers left just like a bike. Oh how I underestimated this horse riding lark and now find myself eating a great deal of humble pie at home and at the stables in front of her peers as she tacks up for yet another blast round the arena. She throws in a few jumps just to rub it in !

But hold on, its not all that bad, our instructor Alan has years of experience and has been exactly where us blokes have been and very quickly by the end of the first lesson, had us all walking round quite nicely and sitting up straight.  I have to say I soon found a certain sense of well being sat on the horse in the evening with the sun setting across the field. It all passes off without too much pain and so I decide to put in an appearance next week.

Week two we start to trot and although a bit on the untidy side, soon it all starts to happen. The camaraderie and general leg pulling among the blokes is good and we're already pointing out each other's faults, tongue in cheek of course and talking of when we might ride down to the local pub for a pint etc.

Alan gently but firmly brings us on each week and life on horseback gets easier inch by inch. This is going to be a long journey but a good one. Our evening on a Monday night is a good laugh and we finish in the bar afterwards for a well deserved drink and generally de brief the lesson with Alan's expert eye.

For those guys who have yet to get in the saddle, please give it try. I never intended to ride horses but can honestly say, don't knock it till you've tried it :-)

Several weeks on and I've now got muscles that I never knew I had. I'm on the verge of cantering and most importantly, I'm looking forward to my first ride out with my daughter through those woods before the summer ends.


 Dave McMahon

I am writing to you in relation to my daughters, and the riding lessons they have undertaken over the last year.

I would firstly like to thank Sam for his help with individual lessons, he has been brilliant with in steeling confidence in my daughter and she is now improving every week.

I would also like to thank Vicky as she has also been great with her group lessons and Jennifer who took the group on Sunday.

I would finally like to comment on the helpful friendly staff at mount mascal, everyone is always polite and approachable!

Please pass on my sentiments, keep up the good work!

Many thanks


Joanne Mcquillan.

I would like to recommend the livery yard at Little Mascal Farm. There is a great team set up on the yard, especially Kelly, Peter and Siobhan. They work so hard to keep the horses happy and well looked after and the yard spick and span. It is a lovely place to come to, and whilst it is obvious that it's professionally run, the atmosphere on the yard couldn't be more friendly and welcoming.

It is all too easy to take fantastic service for granted but all their extra efforts are certainly appreciated by me. I know with absolute confidence that Bonnie is cared for above and beyond the call of duty.

They are a very loyal team there and this should be celebrated.

 Helen Milliner, Chislehurst, Kent

 May 2016

Helen Milliner

At 7pm on a Wednesday evening I dusted off my old riding boots and riding hat, squeezed myself into some jodhpurs and set off in trepidation to Mount Mascal's for I was bravely "Taking back the reins" with a couple of my friends.  All three of us ranging from Jenny (60 plus), Lynn and myself (40 plus) had various riding experience between us, they both had ridden as teenagers whilst I rode approx. 7 years ago to keep up with my horse mad daughter - until I fell off and had a back injury which dented my confidence.  We met the rest of our group, 7 of us in all, and our instructor, Jennifer.
Jennifer made us all feel at ease and we soon were all saddled up.  Jennifer treated us as individuals assessing our needs and tailoring the lesson to the areas she identified. Whilst we all started with shakes we all ended up with smiles.  After the riding lesson we all then went into the bar for a coffee, biscuit and debrief - this was as much fun as the lesson and I found this really useful to talk about what we had done in a relaxed atmosphere.

We have now completed a couple of weeks and I feel that we have all progressed and are looking forward to the new challenges and thrills that "Taking back the reins" has given us.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone with some riding experience, however long ago.

Miss P Taylor, Surrey

A wonderful message full of happy memories sent to John Window, founder and owner of Mount Mascal Stables for 50 years ... 'I can remember it like yesterday getting off the bus at Bexley and walking down the dirt track. At that time there was a trotting yard next to the stables. I bet so much has changed. I have alot to thank John & Pam Window (Alison's mother) for. I was about 11 at the time so it would have been about 1969 and we bought a super little new Forest Pony from them called Nicky. I would also be put up on any new horse that came in. They taught me so much and had such fun up in the forestry, competing next door, the pub rides and I seem to remember going off hunting with John. So many happy memories of my time spent there where I spent every weekend and holiday helping. Don't expect John to remember me but so many thanks for all he taught and the encouragement he passed on. I still have horses now and hunted & competed to date.'

 Lynda Ayre (prev Arnold), Somerset


Lynda Ayre

I was inspired to ride again when I read about Take Back The Reins in the paper. My impression of riding school horses from years ago was a bit ‘kick and pull’ but I’ve been really impressed by the calibre and wouldn’t have continued if it hadn’t been for the quality of horses and tuition - I didn’t want to ride just for the experience. My daughter Karla rode when she was young but I had given up riding when I was expecting her and we had never ridden together. So for us both to take up riding again together now feels great. We love the social aspect of the Take Back The Reins classes too - we always stay for a coffee or glass of wine in the Clubroom afterwards with the group!

Mandy Davis, Sevenoaks, Kent

I booked a birthday party for my daughter, Elizabeth, for her 5th birthday and invited 10 of her friends.  When we arrived at Mount Mascal stables, all the children were assisted in having the correct size hat.  We then waited for the ponies to come out.  Each pony had a helper who helped each child on and they then had a 45 minute lesson.  They had a fantastic time and Vicky, the teacher, was brilliant.  They had numerous trots, walks, touching toes exercises and everything and they loved it. They even got to go out down the lane as well in the sunshine.  Lots of beaming toothy smiles.  Once dismounted and hands washed they were guided to their table which was set up in a room overlooking the indoor school. The party food selection consisted of nuggets, sausages, burgers etc.  The party event lasted approx. two hours and it was the best children’s party I have ever attended.  I was so proud of all the kids they all got on their pony first time - they weren’t scared at all. 

The staff at the stables were brilliant, extremely helpful and I would fully recommend this stables to anyone who want a fun birthday party.  Well and truly worth the money and the birthday child also gets a free voucher to allow them to come back for another lesson. Brilliant!

Daniella Aspland, Bromley

I wanted to thank you so much for giving my daughter Olivia a fantastic birthday party on Saturday afternoon. The girls all loved their ponies, Instructor Nancy was excellent. She remembered all their names and gave them so much praise and encouragement. I’m sure you’ll get more parties as a result as my friends were also impressed!
Thanks again and we look forward to using the voucher soon.

Jenny Mason

I have been riding a Mount Mascal on a weekly basis for the past 5 years. Riding has always been a passion and as such I have taken lessons at several other establishments. However  I have been at my happiest and most confident at Mount Mascal. I am particularly impressed at how important the welfare of the horses and ponies is to the staff and management at this yard. Personally I would hate to ride a horse that I felt unwell or injured, but unfortunately I have seen this happen at other places. There is a good mix of long standing experienced ponies and horses that are great for the clients. The staff are fantastic and I feel that the standard of teaching is very high. I am very happy with my current instructor Hilary who has helped me progress over the past few years.

Erica Tandy

I am a resident of Sidcup and have been riding at Mount Mascal now for nearly 9 years. I am very impressed with all the instructors I have had over the years - especially with their wide range of equestrian experience. But even more by their kind, encouraging way of teaching. Because of their encouragement, my self-confidence has been boosted - so much so that I entered a horse show for the first time at age 61 and I was placed!! I would highly recommend this stable to anyone who is thinking of either learning to ride or wanting to get back in the saddle after a long gap like me.

Lynn Stevens, Sidcup

Our team finished work early and headed to MMS for a Team Building exercise. The package - horse ride, dinner & beverage was a very reasonable price. It was explained that we would have a 50 minute induction/assessment first in the school and if we were assessed to standard we would then be able to hack out for the second hour. Riders lacking in experience/confidence would remain in the arena and continue with the lesson for the second hour. We were fortunate that the whole group performed considerably well and we were all able to enjoy the hacking activity. After the session we enjoyed a delicious meal with refreshments in the clubroom where we were all able to catch up with stories of the horses and experience. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all and would thoroughly recommend it as a team building exercise.

Pauline Le Roux - Financial Ombudsmen Service Ltd

Thank you very much for all the fun & help you have given my daughter over the summer holidays. Much to her disappointment we have to return to Italy for the next 9 months. However after this time, we will be back in the UK for good and we will be sure to start again with Mount Mascal as you have been brilliant. Thank you.

Jo Smart, Parent

After enjoying several hacks at Mount Mascal Stables, my daughter and I decided to bring along four friends – two other mothers & daughters - for a two hour ride. We had a great time! First of all everyone was assessed riding their horses in the indoor arena to help ensure safety. Then we were off and out around Joydens and Chalk Woods. The woodlands are such a beautiful setting and it was great to meet other riders along the way. Even though our group is of mixed ability, age and confidence, our escort gave us all help, encouragement and tips for improvement and the ride was fun for everyone. The horses were so well-behaved and willing too. On our return, we spent the end of our session in the outdoor covered arena, with a canter included for those of us who are ready to try. Just to round things off and make our day! We are planning another visit already and we would all recommend hacking at Mount Mascal Stables to anyone who enjoys riding in the outdoors.

Maria, West Wickham

I have my daughter’s sixth birthday to thank for getting me back in the saddle. Looking for a local ‘pony party‘ online led to me finding Mount Mascal Stables and the Take Back The Reins initiative. I told my daughter to go and tell her Daddy that I wanted to do this too! I was so keen I booked myself onto a Take Back The Reins assessment session even before my daughter’s birthday party! I was attracted to the Take Back The Reins scheme by the social side and that’s been brilliant and while I remember my riding instructor as a child being scary, they are much more caring these days! My family has certainly been bitten by the horsey bug! While I’m hoping to progress with Take Back The Reins, I also think we’d like to part loan a pony down the line and my daughter is now a member of the Pony Club too and comes every holiday to take her achievement badges.

Joanne True, Orpington, Kent

"I really just want to thank you for changing our lives!! It’s surreal that I only came to you last August Bank Holiday with a dream and now it’s come true. Rory and now Chalky have become part of the family. The kids, especially Tom have altered immensely – it’s great to have something to share with them and I can’t remember the last time the x box was on! So a really special thanks mainly to you and Adam, but also to all those at MM who supported us, for all your help and advice along the way. We couldn’t have done it without you."

Andree Kelsey, Bexley (sent by email to Alison Window)

When I was a teenager, I helped out at a Riding for the Disabled riding stables in return for a free ride on a Sunday, but a change in family circumstances meant travelling to the stables became impossible. So, my contact with horses ended. I kept talking about my love of horses and my partner encouraged me to start again but it did feel like a leap of faith to go to a stables on my own. I remember I felt intimidated by the environment as a teenager as there had been a lot of procedures to follow. My fears were abolished as soon as I started riding at Mount Mascal Stables with a friend I worked with. Then when Take Back The Reins was introduced I signed up. I love being part of my Take Back the Reins group - it’s nice to see everyone else progress and it’s great fun!

Jodie Thompson, Wilmington, Kent

By joining Take Back the Reins I have achieved the dream of hacking out together with my daughter who is a keen Pony Club Centre member. It’s amazing! I used to get so jealous watching my daughter ride but I was apprehensive about joining a riding school group. I had ridden and competed when I was younger and I didn’t want my lessons to be too basic. I was so surprised when I joined my Take Back The Reins group at Mount Mascal Stables. The quality and variety of the horses is brilliant and I’d obviously developed bad habits previously. So now I feel I’m schooling and jumping properly and, although our group split for a bit to accommodate different experiences, we’re now back in it together again!

Emma Harris

My twin daughters are pony mad, and planning a family ranch holiday made me consider taking a few riding lessons. While my children have gone on to have their own ponies and are loving Pony Club Centre life, Take Back The Reins is fabulous for me. I don’t want to commit to owning my own horse. I have always liked group activities - I used to play netball and tennis – so I really enjoy the team feel of my Take Back the Reins group. Booking the ranch holiday made me begin but I won’t stop now!

Rowan Link, Bromley, Kent

We had the best time at Lodge Farm. Joe ended up taking the time off work to come and support Nellie and myself as we were so sure that Zebedee was going to misbehave and we would end up spending the day waiting around with Zeb tied to the trailer!

What actually happened was that Zebedee seemed to feel completely at home at Lodge Farm and behaved beautifully. He really enjoyed the day and I am sure that pony was grinning all the way around!

The instruction and encouragement from Adam was, as always, wonderful and Nellie's confidence as a rider was given a long awaited boost.

Without you all at Mount Mascal we would not know these places exist and first time pony owners that support is invaluable to us.

Thank you for a great day and we hope there will be more to look forward to in the not too distant future!

Cheryl, Joe, Nellie and Zebedee! x

"After our daughter had been riding at the school for some time, we decided to bite the bullet and look into buying a horse for her.  As we were still pretty naive, we asked lots of questions and the Mount Mascal team were incredibly patient with us and the process was fairly pain free. 

The best thing about being at MM is the people & social environment - everyone has been really welcoming and helpful from the staff to other livery clients and we are very happy to be part of the MM family."




Emma Hunwick

“I discovered Mount Mascal stables 25 years ago.  With their friendly, professional, and  fun staff they have provided a quality of service and teaching which has been instrumental in my still being a client and a livery. MM taught all my family, ages ranging from 4 to  50 to ride, taking myself and my daughter  from Riding Club to British Eventing.  Investing in its clients MM provides enviable facilities and a dedicated staff.  Whether for pleasure hacking or competition riding,  MM has given us an education enabling us to develop and above all enjoy all that is horsemanship”


Lesley Spinks

The love of horses for my daughter began when she was 4 years old, visiting my niece as she had her own pony. As time went by, it was birthday time and was recommended to go to Mount Mascal.

We went for a visit and felt at home straight away, every one was very friendly any questions we had were answered and our minds were put at rest.

After having a fantastic party, my daughter took up private lessons at first just to see how she got on. Her instructor Jennifer showed her the correct way to sit, balance etc, I could not have been more than happy on how quickly she progressed.

We joined the Pony Club having group lessons which is fantastic. All the girls encourage help and support each other and that is down to Mount Mascal's way of teaching. 

Each member of staff are friendly, very helpful and give good tips in any learning process which is wonderful. Courtney has progressed so well, passing her D test with many badges from holiday activities, events that are held it is truly a wonderful place to be. This is our second home.....

 If you are thinking of trying horse riding, having a birthday party Mount Mascal should be top of the list.

I would like to personally thank Jennifer, Pam, Zoe, Alison and everyone else who works so hard, and gives up so much time making MM a fabulous place to be.


A huge thank you to one and all


Angie Davies - Welling Kent


Angie Davies

I am writing to you in relation to my daughters, and the riding lessons they have undertaken over the last year.

I would firstly like to thank Sam for his help with individual lessons, he has been brilliant with in steeling confidence in my daughter and she is now improving every week.

I would also like to thank Vicky as she has also been great with her group lessons and Jennifer who took the group on Sunday.

I would finally like to comment on the helpful friendly staff at mount mascal, everyone is always polite and approachable!

Please pass on my sentiments, keep up the good work!

Many thanks


Joanne Mcquillan.