Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 443

Riding Schools


Hello Everyone



Are you one of those children who would love to have their own pony or even a horse?


lt is a dream of many children, but owning a horse is expensive and you need to have a lot of money and dedication to look after one properly.


Horses need a lot of room, and unless you have a massive back garden or live on a farm, you will have to keep your horse some way from your house and travel to look after it.


Every morning and evening at least, you will need to give it attention and that is not an easy thing to do when the winter mornings and evenings are cold and dark.


lf you love horses but cannot have one of your own, the best way to get close to horses is to go to a riding school.


Horses in a riding school or a trekking club may not be as well-behaved as your own horse.  They know that they will be taken out by lots of different people and they won’t form a bond with their rider in the way that they would if they had one owner and went out for rides with them all the time.


lt is a very good idea to see if you really like riding before you take it up seriously.  For a start, you might be a lot higher up than you imagine once you get in the saddle!


A teacher might walk by your side or give you individual attention as you walk round on the horse.  You can take lessons and work your way up to cantering across the countryside once you have built up your confidence and ability.


And a lot of disabled people love riding too.


lt is a wonderful experience to get free from a wheelchair or crutches and feel the freedom of a walking movement beneath you.  Having that bond with a lovely animal like a horse is wonderful too.


The Riding for the Disabled Association has nearly 500 centres all over the country.  They can be found in cities and remote rural areas. 


There are no age restrictions for the riders.  A lot of the volunteers that work in the schools are qualified coaches.


The horses chosen have especially sweet natures so that the riders need not be afraid to sit on them.


Horses, unlike bicycles, do have a mind of their own!


Many thousands of children and adults participate in fun activities at these centres like riding and carriage driving with the support of thousands of volunteers.


But perhaps the most famous riding school is the Spanish Riding School.


lt is one of the best four classical riding academies in the whole world.


The horses there have the most superb training. 


They are taught to dance!


And to watch them is the most amazing spectacle!


The Spanish Riding School is situated in Vienna, the capital city of Austria.


lt was set up to continue the tradition of classical dressage and the training of Lipizzaner horses.  The performances in the Winter Riding School which is a beautiful hall inside the Horburg are a huge tourist attraction.


The school is open to the public so you can see the training of the horses as well as the performances.  The revenue from the guided tours helps to fund the school.


The leading horses and riders do sometimes go on tour though, so you may be able to see them in your own country too.


The riding school is the oldest of its kind in the world and dates back to 1572.


lt is recorded that an idea for building a wooden ring for performances was thought up in 1565.  Then in 1729, Emperor Charles Vl decided to have the riding hall we see today built.


There are 68 horses in all.  They are all stallions.  That means they are all boy horses.


lf you are wondering where all the girl horses are, that is to say mares – they stay on the farm where the horses are born.  There is a special name for horse farms; they are called studs.


For seven weeks during July and August the horses take a rest from their schooling and go on a summer holiday.  They are kept in stables that have paddocks and are taken for rides in the nearby forests.


So why is it called the Spanish Riding School if it is in Austria?  l hear you ask.


Well, all the horses there are Lipizzaner horses and this breed was formed partly from Spanish horses.  Spanish horses were a cross between native stock and horses brought into Spain by the Moors – a people from North Africa.  The Spanish horses were crossed with Arabian horses and others. 


The development of the breed was supported by Habsburg nobility.


They are now the oldest cultured breed in Europe.


One of the original places that bred these horses was Lipizza, which is now called Lipica (the word comes from linden tree [Blog Post 435]), near Trieste in Slovenia. 


The place name was used to name the breed.  The horses that are used at the riding school were established in 1580 and are now bred near the village of Piber in Austria.


Lipizzaner horses are truly beautiful.  You could call them super models of the horse world!


They may look like white horses but they are referred to in the horse world as greys.  They are very dark as foals but their hair coat grows paler as they grow older.  They have turned into much paler horses by the time they are six to ten years old. 


The horses have black skin and dark eyes.


A true white horse is born white and has no pigment (or colour) in their skin.


Lipizzaner horses are strong horses that mature slowly and are long lived – up to forty years in some cases!


Most Lipizzaner horses live in Europe.  A few have been taken to other continents.


Until the 18th century, there were Lipizzaner horses of other colours at the school but now just one bay is kept for tradition’s sake and all the other horses used are greys.  Grey horses were preferred by the royal family and they were the horses that were mostly bred.


They were an endangered species during the 20th century because of the major wars that took place and the evacuations they had to endure.  The story of how American troops rescued Lipizzaner horses during WWll was made famous in the Disney Film called Miracle of the White Stallions.


There was also a children’s television programme made in 1965 called The White Horses which featured Lipizzaner horses and a teenage girl called Julia who visited a farm where they were raised. 


The tradition of training horses to move in such a controlled way started as a military movement on the battlefield – dating as far back as Ancient Greece. 


A knight fighting without armour would not weigh as much as one wearing armour, but had to be quick on his feet to dodge being shot at – or if he was on a horse, the horse had to move with masterful precision under the guidance of the rider. 


Military horses had to be powerful and agile.


The methods used in the riding school are traditional methods dating back hundreds of years and are designed to strengthen the horses’ minds and bodies and make them supreme athletes.


Warhorses had to be strong – but dressage is a method of building stamina, not a battlefield movement.


The riders in the Spanish Riding School take two to four years to train and the horses take four to six years.  The uniforms the riders wear have remained relatively unchanged for two hundred years.


Performances take place most months, usually at the weekend. 


When the more experienced horses are on their summer holidays, the younger trainee horses take over the shows.


lf you ever want to see a show, you should book early.  You can do this online.



lf you like my blog, please support it by telling all your friends and followers about it.


Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bill:  Why did the horse cross the road?


Bob:  l don’t know.  Why did the horse cross the road?


Bill:  Because he heard someone shout out ‘hay’!


Bob: He must have liked to eat hay.


Bill:  Yes, l have heard that the more hay you give to a horse to eat, the softer they are to ride on!


Bob:  Wow!  That is useful to know!



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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Picture Gallery












Bill and Bob’s dad is doing well with his studies to become an accountant.

I have been working in their cottage all week building some extra cupboards in the cottage.  Then when I have finished I will help Bill and Bob’s dad clear out the attic so that a little office can be built up there in the attic space.



The things from the attic will be brought down and put into the new cupboards.

The Rocky Bay builders Reckitt and Stackett will be starting work soon on refitting the shop that Bill and Bob’s mum wants to rent with her friends. 

They want to start a new business.  I have been telling you about it in recent posts.

They will sell local produce, gifts, artwork and pottery. 

Auntie Alice will be knitting some cute, little toys to sell too.

When the builders have nearly finished in there, Bill and Bob’s mum will resign from her job as a dental nurse. 

She knows that she will be leaving soon and every time the grumpy dentist she works for gets grumpy with her she doesn’t get upset anymore.  She just smiles to herself.

He doesn’t know she is planning to leave!

She can’t get a job as a dental nurse in Rocky Bay because there aren’t any vacancies.

That is the trouble with living in a small town – you might not necessarily be able to get the exact job you want at the exact time you want it because there isn’t as much choice of jobs as in a big city.

Bill and Bob’s dad can’t resign from his job until he passes all his exams – and that won’t be for a while.

When Bill and Bob’s mum leaves work, their dad will have to travel by himself in the car to work. 

But he said that it will be alright because instead of chatting on the journey he will listen to audio tapes and learn about how to do well in business which means he will have more knowledge to help his clients (customers) with.

Bill and Bob’s mum will take them to school and then walk to work.  It might mean that they won’t have to get up so early.  That was good news!

After Reckitt and Stackett have finished refurbishing the shop they will start on building the attic room in Bill and Bob’s cottage.



Bill and Bob’s dad is just hoping he will pass his exams so that he will need that office!

If he doesn’t pass first time; he will just have to retake.

Bill and Bob said that if the family didn’t have so much money for a while they would help by needing fewer new toys.  They said that they really would prefer to have a happier dad than lots more toys.

Their dad said that he really appreciated the thought.

So he and I went up into the attic to see how much cupboard space I would need to build down in the cottage to accommodate all the boxes that were up there. 

While we were up there, we found some of his old toys packed away.

Bill and Bob thought they were great and wanted to have them and play with them straight away.

Their dad said they could have them if they tidied up their cupboards to make some room for them.

So instead of having fewer toys, they actually ended up with more!










Pet Care


Can you answer these questions about looking after a horse?


  1. Why do you put straw in a stable?
  2. Why is it important that the straw in the stable is always dry?
  3. How much clean water does a horse drink in a day?
  4. Why must you clean manure off a pasture at last once a week?
  5. How often should you brush a horse?
  6. What is an unshod horse?
  7. What is poll evil?
  8. Why do you need a hay net in a stable?
  9. How old can a horse live to?
  10. What should you check for in a paddock?
  11. How often should a vet see a horse for check ups?
  12. Why should a horse not be in a paddock alone?






lt’s the Weekend!




If you are going back to school soon, you may need a padlock for a locker or be given a small key you will have to look after carefully.

Padlocks have very small keys which are easily lost.

This is a brilliant idea to use.

This little bag is big enough to put a small key inside.

The end of the cord can be tied into the hole in the top of the key and the bag can be used as a key fob.  The cord is very long so that the bag is not in the way when you want to use the key.

The whole thing can be stored inside your pencil case.




Using 4mm knitting needles and green dk yarn cast on 12 stitches

Knit 2 rows of garter stitch

Knit 12 rows of stocking stitch

Change to red dk yarn

Knit 4 rows of garter stitch

Cast off



  1. Using over-sew stitching and with right sides together sew bottom and side seams
  2. Crochet 50 chains into a length of red yarn and leave very long ends that can be threaded through the hole in the top of a key
  3. Thread this cord along the top of the bag and tie a knot at the end of the chains



Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand



Pet Care Quiz Answers


  1. Why do you put straw in a stable? Horses can sleep standing up but they get better sleep lying down
  2. Why is it important that the straw in the stable is always dry?  Damp straw can breed fungal spores which are bad for a horse’s health
  3. How much clean water does a horse drink in a day?  At least eight gallons
  4. Why must you clean manure off a pasture at last once a week?  lt can attract parasites
  5. How often should you brush a horse?  Every day – you should use soft grooming tools on face and legs and check for cuts and grazes with a horse first aid kit always to hand – their feet have to be checked too to make sure that no stones have got stuck in them
  6. What is an unshod horse? One not wearing metal horse shoes
  7. What is poll evil? An injury from hitting the head – so low doorways are not a good idea
  8. Why do you need a hay net in a stable? lt keeps the food clean because it is off the floor
  9. How old can a horse live to?  Thirty +, which means a horse is a very big commitment!
  10. What should you check for in a paddock? Broken rails, poisonous plants, rubbish, protruding nails, sharp objects, little holes in the ground that a horse can twist its ankle in
  11. How often should a vet see a horse for check ups? Once or twice a year to check teeth and give injections
  12. Why should a horse not be in a paddock alone? Horses are social animals and can get very stressed when they are alone – if a new horse is introduced to a group, it should be observed to make sure it is accepted well into the group


Can you sing along?


  • Jamie says:

    This blog is fantastic. There is certainly a lot to read now! Will be back soon!

  • Maryanne says:

    Love your content. Had to write in and congratulate you!

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