Youngsters now have the opportunity to practise show jumping at an earlier age as a one-of-a-kind group fills the gap in the market.
MiniJumpers, based in the indoor arena of Knotlow’s Farm, in Flagg, was set up in September by Lynn Palfreyman and partner Pete Atkin, and the sessions have grown from strength to strength.
The 46-year-old said: “There are pony clubs around the country which do jump practise but that is aimed at older ponies and older children and the jumps can be very intimidating.”
The couple branched out from making wooden planters to making small, light jumps, and received great support and started offering training sessions to young riders too.
Lynn said: “I believe we are offering a unique service that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the country. “Horse riding and jumping should be fun and the younger children want to try it.
“We have had one pony come to us who refused to jump because he had a bad experience before and that makes for a nervous rider, so with time we made them both feel confident to tackle the smaller jumps.”
MiniJumpers uses lighter and shorter poles which children as young as six are able to move.
“This is something great for Buxton and the surrounding areas,” said Lynn. “We have had people travel for over an hour with their pony to train at the sessions which is amazing - I never expected it to take off like it has.
“Living in a rural area there are children who have a lot of dealings from horses from a young age and we want to channel their energy and give them the passion for show jumping early on.”
Bethan Garlick, 32, from the Goyte Valley takes her seven-year-old daughter, Lily to MiniJumpers.
She said: “Lily loves going and gets so much from it.
“The support and encouragement she receives is bringing her jumping skill on so much and she wants to be a professional show jumper when she grows up, which is brilliant, and I don’t think she would if she wasn’t being shown how to do it properly.
.”It is more than just a group, when Lily’s pony was lame Lynn was messaging me and I felt that we weren’t just a number or a pound sign for her as she really cares.”
With Frozen and Minion jumps, Lynn felt it was important to use things the children could associate with to make learning fun.
“Buying the smaller jumps would only see a child for a couple of years while they get use to it and want more challenging jumps, so offering a class specifically for this benefits parents in the long run.
“I know we have only just started but the long term plan is to try and get a MiniJumpers set up in every county so children all around the country can hone their skills.”
The next meeting of MiniJumpers will be on Sunday, January 17. The first session will be at 10am. One hour costs £20, ponies not provided, and for more information ring Lynn on 07773595814.