Everything you need to know about horse riding lessons for kids (and grown-ups!)

Horse riding typically hasn’t been the most accessible activity for kids. But Unity Equestrian is on a mission to change that, creating a Gold Coast horse riding school committed to offering horse riding lessons for kids and grown-ups and knowledge of horses to all.

We chat with Caroline Shaw at Gold Coast Horse Riding School Unity Equestrian to find out more about horse riding lessons for kids at this exciting equestrian centre.


What inspired you to create a horse riding school on the Gold Coast?

We wanted to bring a holistic approach to horse riding for all our clients, regardless of age or ability. Somewhere they can learn all aspects of horse care and management, including horse care before and after riding, hoof care, how to tack ponies and care for equipment. Connecting with horses on the ground leads to a much better connection and riding experience. Horses need to know and trust the people riding on them, and then the bond between horse and rider becomes something very special.

Horse Riding Lessons for Kids at Gold Coast Horse Riding School

Caring for the horses is just as important as riding. Credit: Unity Equestrian, Gold Coast


What horse riding lessons for kids do you offer?

Our primary focus is on regular Gold Coast horse riding for kids and adults, and it is a chosen sport in which they develop skills. All riders are assigned a Canter level when they start riding at Unity. We then hold regular grading days with theory and practical tests that allow the rider to progress to the next Canter level. This gives riders and parents a true sense of achievement and demonstrable progress. We do offer trail rides, birthday parties and one-off lessons, too.


How do you ease first-time nerves?

We have a team of three coaches, led by Mel, who are all skilled in supporting even the most nervous riders through their journey. Every rider learns at their own pace, and individualised plans and regular check-ins ensure they reach their goals.


Girl Leading Horse at Unity Equestrian Gold Coast Horse Riding Lessons Gold Coast Credit Unity Equestrian

Every child has an individualised horse riding lesson plan. Credit: Unity Equestrian, Gold Coast


Why is horse riding an excellent sport for kids?

Many of our young riders are kids who don’t quite “fit” with regular team sports offered at school. We find that riding enables them to participate in a highly skilled activity, make friends, and have fun learning a unique sport.

Riding is all about learning skills as an individual, bonding with your horse and then developing the confidence and ability to ride as part of a group and have fun. It’s quite different to the pressures of typical team sports. Many kids have made enduring friendships and grown in confidence and independence while riding with us. We encourage kids to come and volunteer, help out around the stables and be part of our community. The recent weather event showed us that our community is strong and supportive, with many people helping us move horses and ensuring everyone was safe during the storms.


Fast Facts: Horse riding lessons at Unity Equestrian Gold Coast

  • Regular horse riding lessons for kids run during QLD public school terms
  • Lessons are scheduled regularly with the same groups riding together each week
  • Open Tuesday to Saturday


How do you balance safety and fun at your Gold Coast horse riding centre?

Our kids’ lessons are fun-focused, with games and exercises designed to develop skills in a fun and engaging way, always with a very strong focus on safety.  By ensuring all our riders learn how to handle and move around horses on the ground safely, we establish a confidence that translates to time in the saddle. No riders are pushed beyond their abilities, but we ensure they progress and improve using fun games, care and support. Kids improve quickly, and their progress is incredible to watch. Our group lessons enable them to make friends and support each other through the riding process.

Child on Horse Jumping at Horse Riding Lesson at Unity Equestrian Gold Coast

Kids develop skills in all areas of horse riding and care. Credit: Unity Equestrian, Gold Coast


Do you offer school holiday horse riding lessons and camps?

Yes! Our school holiday horse riding camps for kids are offered every school holiday.  They run four days from 9 am – 3 pm and are broken into groups of similar skill levels.  Each day involves two riding sessions and some theory. Special holidays like Christmas or Easter always include dressing up (yourself and your pony) and fun activities like Easter egg hunts.


Do you have an NDIS equestrian program?

Yes, we do offer special Gold Coast horse riding programs in the NDIS space. These may be riding or non-riding-based programs, depending on the client’s needs. We work with clients and their NDIS goals. Horses bring a unique type of calm to clients with special needs.

The connection between horses and people is truly unique. That is why, at Unity, we focused so much on teaching all our clients skills on the ground. Forming that connection on the ground is vital to a better time in the saddle.  When a horse knows and trusts its rider, it performs at its best. There is nothing quite like a cuddle with your horse after a great ride.

Horses bring an extraordinary calm and beauty I’ve never found anywhere else. To have such an immense animal trust and look after you is a truly special experience.


Child Hugging Horse After Horse Riding Lesson at Unity Equestrian Gold Coast

The bond between horse and rider is truly special. Credit: Unity Equestrian, Gold Coast


You offer adult horse riding lessons, too!

Something really special about Unity is our adult Gold Coast horse riding community. We have a fantastic group of adult riders, perhaps returning to riding or learning to ride. These riders have formed a community, people taking an hour or so out of their day to do something purely for them. Plus, it’s great exercise! People think the horses do all the work… they don’t!

This community of adults get together for coffee, wine and cheese after a ride on Friday afternoon, which is a great way to end the week. Mornings after the school run are a great time for adults to come and take some time for themselves while exercising outdoors and learning a new skill.

Parent Riding Horse at Horse Riding Lessons at Unity Equestrian Gold Coast

The parent-riding community is strong at Unity Equestrian. Credit: Unity Equestrian, Gold Coast


What has been your most rewarding moment from teaching horse riding?

I find that watching the kids improve and learn so quickly is incredible, and for the parents, watching them master skills is very rewarding; they may go from being nervous to cantering on a lead line to cantering over small jumps in a matter of a term. Quite an achievement!


Do the horses enjoy it, too?

At Unity, our horses and ponies are part of our family.  They are all spoilt! We are very careful with their workload, and they all get holidays! It’s vital that our school horses and ponies love their job, and we do everything we can to ensure they do. This includes regular training by our experienced coaches and stable hands to keep them in the best condition they can be. We genuinely love our horses and ponies; we never ask them to do more than they can give, and we nurture them in every way we can.  We expect all our riders to show the same level of love and respect to our beautiful family.


Contact Unity Equestrian

0457 220 835


22 Toula Ct, Advancetown QLD 4211



By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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