Woodford house


Woodford House Equestrian


Woodford House offers two exciting equestrian programmes for riders in Years 7-13, catering to all riding levels from beginners to advanced.

The programmes, one for experienced riders and one for girls new to equestrian, have been designed to develop the ambitions and goals of students to help them achieve on horseback and in their lives. Both programmes are run at Golden Oaks Equestrian, a purpose-built equestrian centre in Havelock North.

As part of the Experienced Rider Programme, girls can keep their ponies at Golden Oaks and visit on a daily basis.

For more information please email sport@woodford.school.nz or phone 06 873 0708

Student kissing horse in dusk light

Experienced Rider Programme

Woodford House has partnered with Tess Williams, an award-wining rider and Woodford House Old Girl, to deliver a full-service, agistment coaching programme at Golden Oaks Equestrian, a 16-acre equestrian centre in Havelock North.

The Experienced Rider Programme is for students in Years 7-13 and caters to all riding levels from beginner to advanced. The programme has been designed to develop the ambitions and goals of students to help them achieve on horseback and in their lives.

Students will receive professional 1:1 coaching once a week by Tess Williams, and they may visit and ride their horse at Golden Oaks any day after school. Students are required to have their own horse and some level of riding experience.

The Golden Oaks Equestrian Centre is a 10 minute drive from Woodford House and has an impressive range of has purpose-designed facilities.

Girls walking away on their horses

Learn to Ride Programme

Woodford House offers a dedicated Learn to Ride programme for students in Years 7-13 who are new to the sport of equestrian.

The Learn to Ride Programme is delivered by Stable Hearts, an organisation specialising in riding lessons for beginners, and provides girls with extensive equestrian knowledge and skills. The programme is designed to enrich students’ understanding of the relationship between horse and rider, as well as personal growth and development through experiential learning.

Stable Hearts is a unique, socially safe environment for passionate horse and animal enthusiasts. In addition to learning how to ride a horse, students will:

  • Function as a part of a team in an equine educational and work environment
  • Conduct routine care and safe handling of horses in and around an equine facility
  • Understand routine requirements in maintaining healthy pasture, understanding arena etiquette, how to and why it is important to keep stables and equipment clean and organised etc.
  • Learn the language of the horse: be able to describe the relationship between a horse’s natural herd instincts, senses and body language.

The Learn to Ride programme will take place at Golden Oaks on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

Professional Coaching

Tess Williams is a well-known competitor in national and world arenas. In 2009, at just 19 years old, Tess was named Lady Rider at Horse of the Year and won the National New Zealand Grand Prix Championships. She also captained the New Zealand team to win gold in the Youth Olympics Festival in Australia.

Tess has continued to excel in her equestrian career, adding to a long list of achievements. Most recently, Tess was a member of the New Zealand Senior Show Jumping Team competing against Australia at Horse of the Year in 2018.

Tess is also trained in Equine Tactile Therapy, otherwise known as Equine Massage, and is keen to offer Woodford House students practical workshops in this area.  She is a Woodford House Old Girl and Dux of 2007.