My first pony ride at the Singapore Zoo was when I was five or six years old. To be honest, that was the only reason I kept going back to the zoo. Sadly, three zoo visits later, I got too big for the ponies, and just as quickly as the love affair started, it ended.
I think it’s safe to say we were all sad when we outgrew the pony rides at the Singapore Zoo. I for one absolutely loved horses from the day my parents brought me for my first pony ride. Since then, I’ve always wanted to join a horse riding class because I love how gentle and sweet horses are.
Fortunately, the Equestrian Federation of Singapore (EFS) offers drop-in horse riding classes to the general public—something that I only found out about recently. Located at Jalan Mashor, EFS is a short drive from Caldecott MRT station. Our Grab driver dropped us off next to this huge arena.
Upon reaching EFS, we drove past a huge arena. I caught a glimpse of a female equestrian and her horse in action, as they jumped through the arena’s obstacle course. As it was 7:30am, the sky was pastel blue and the weather was perfectly cool (which is a rarity in Singapore). The moment I opened the car door I was hit with the oh-so-beautiful smell of horse dung. Walking up to the stables, I was so excited I really couldn’t stop smiling. My colleague, Tres, and I literally squealed with excitement every time we spotted a horse.
Since it was so early, the stables were pretty empty, aside from the staff who were cleaning the stables. After walking through the stables and gazing at horses left and right, we were greeted by Danial Sadely, a riding instructor at EFS.
For safety reasons, riders must wear appropriate attire which includes an industry safety-approved horse riding helmet, proper riding boots (with heels), and a sleeved shirt. They provided us with boots and helmets. Just a heads up, they have limited sizes so be sure to wear covered, comfy shoes in case they don’t have boots in your size.
After putting on our helmets, we were introduced to the horses. I was paired with Lando, a 15-year-old dark bay German gelding pony (male) while Tres was paired with a 13-year-old dark bay German mare pony (female) named Lilli.
I was quite worried about getting on the horse, because its not exactly an easy thing to do (I was also doubting how stretchy my skinny jeans were).
Thankfully, they gave us a stool to help us climb onto our horses. We had Danial, and Dikie Mardiyanto (Head Of NEC) as our instructors for the day.
I was informed that Dikie decides on the horse-rider allocation based on the information you provide in the application forms such as height, weight and riding experience.
The trail we took was within the Bukit Brown compound. In consideration of the rider and horse’s safety, the trail will be decided by the instructors. For instance, if the rider is a child and feeling a little scared, the riding class will take place within a confined area. For more confident riders, like adults, they will be brought on the trail that we took.
This gif doesn’t show just how beautiful it was but it gives you an idea of the terrain you will be travelling on. For some reason, the air seemed so much cleaner there and seeing trees instead of buildings was a nice change of scenery. It was amazing to be able to escape from all the noise and stress in the city. It was such a peaceful trail ride and being in such a calm environment is undoubtedly something we all need from time to time. I highly encourage you to try this out one day, especially if you want to escape the chaos of the city.
The trail horse riding class we took costs S$90 for a 45-minute session, which kinda sucks because I wish it was longer. I got sadder and sadder the closer we got to the stables because of how fun this horse riding class was.
This horse riding class was truly the highlight of my year. Danial introduced us to many of the horses and even let us feed them carrots. Getting to interact with the horses afterwards was great because of how friendly they were.
The Equestrian Federation of Singapore was established in 1976. The National Equestrian Centre (NEC) started in 2010 as the sports development arm of EFS.
EFS is a National Sport Association with their very own riding school that is open to the public. Up-front membership is not required. This makes horse riding classes affordable and accessible to the community!
The minimum age to ride is six years old. In view of the horses’ welfare concerns, the weight limit is 80kg. For children under six, EFS offers kid-friendly activities like the Pony Playgroup where they” get to have a pony-ride on the lead rein, give the ponies a bubble bath and “cook-up”an apple/carrot feast for the ponies.
As their website is currently under construction, you can find more information on EFS’s programmes and activities on their official Facebook pages. You can check out the National Equestrian Centre’s Facebook page here.
Nearest MRT: Caldecott Station
Opening hours : (Tues-Sun) 7am to 11am & 4pm to 7pm
Pricing: S$90 for 45 minutes ride
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