25 May 2018Last updated

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Horsing around in Dubai

From desert hacks to beginners’ polo lessons, we’ve rounded up the best equestrian activities to suit every rider

By Zoe Moore
20 Aug 2013 | 11:42 am
  • Horsing around in Dubai

    Source:Getty Images

EZ Ride

What does an EZ ride lesson entail? An EZ Ride at Hoofbeatz in Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club is in two parts. It begins with a warm-up session on an electronic bucking bronco, which helps the rider build up muscle memory and get ready 
for the real thing. It’s followed by a far less bronco-esque second part, astride a real horse. Without the use of reins or stirrups, EZ Ride is designed to develop confidence and stability on horseback and will help to improve muscle tone and coordination. Lessons are given in small groups, with individual feedback.

Ethos “The idea is to come away from Hoofbeatz having had a lot of fun, having treated your horse with respect and having become a better rider,” says spokesperson Melissa Frost.

Riding experience This is a great class for a reintroduction to riding after a break or loss of confidence after a fall.

What the regulars say Danielle Faerber, EZ Ride student, says, “The classes have really helped me build my riding confidence. I have learnt so much about how important balance is and how to correct my position in a controlled and safe environment, with no fear.”

Cost Buy a block of four lessons for Dh700 (for members) and Dh1,000 (for non-members). Fitness First members receive a 50 per cent discount.

Contact details Call 050 181 0401 or email


What does a desert ride entail? Riders will get the chance to see the stunning Dubai skyline and witness the odd desert fox or gazelle at this centre just off the Dubai-Al Ain Road. For those who are experienced, this fast-paced desert ride is perfect. Due to the terrain at Al Sahra you get to have a superb gallop across a large plain of desert, followed by a winding canter through the rolling dunes.

Ethos “This is a place that feels like a home away from home,” says Lisa Matthews, general manager. “Riders are not intimidated and you don’t feel like a number.”

Riding experience Even if you have never ridden before you can go for 
a leisurely ride amongst the dunes.

What the regulars say “I really like riding out in the desert,” says Rob Stephens. “The wildlife is amazing. 
In the past year I’ve seen desert hares, gazelles and owls.”

Cost Dh300 for a 90-minute ride. This includes tea and coffee.

Contact details Call 04 427 4055 or email


What does the introduction to polo lesson entail? On arrival you will be greeted by one of the academy’s instructors, who will introduce you to your pony. Once you have mastered basic riding skills you will be taught how to swing your mallet and be given an introduction to the rules of the game. By the end of the session you will be hitting the ball from the horse.

Ethos Professional polo player, coach and managing director of Dubai Polo Academy Steve Thompson says, “Even though style can differ, you cannot alter the physics of the perfect shot. We can teach you that here. But remember, it doesn’t matter if you miss. Most importantly you just need to look fantastic!

Riding experience All the academy ponies are responsive and obedient, allowing even complete novices to progress quickly.

What the regulars say “The introduction to polo class was brilliant,” says marketing manager Hattie Clarke. “I’d often watched the chukkas, but never really considered taking part. It was tough, but I laughed a lot.”

Introduction to Polo 750 AED 90 minutes
Group Lesson 600 AED 45 minutes
Private Lesson 850 AED 45 minutes
.Stick and Ball Practice 450 AED 40 minutes (on instructors approval)
Instructional Chukkas 650 AED 20 minutes (on instructors approval)
Contact details Call 050 887 98 47, Email:


What does a Children’s Riding class entail? Desert Palm runs classes for children of varying abilities from the age of five (though younger ones can also be booked in for supervised 10-minute sessions). There is a maximum of six children per class, from beginner lessons with someone on foot beside the pony to keep your little one upright, all the way through to dressage and jumping classes. 
All sessions are conducted in one 
of the seven outdoor arenas.

Ethos “Our mandate is to offer a safe and professional environment with the best horses to promote horse riding and horsemanship skills to young children,” says Vicky Duke, general manager. “We are community driven and set in one of the prettiest and most elegant resorts in Dubai.”

What the regulars say “There’s a great atmosphere at Desert Palm,” says mum-of-two Charlotte Norris. “It’s a stunning yard and there are always loads of kids about cuddling the ponies when they’ve finished their classes. I grew up riding in England and I’m really glad that my two children can also get their horse fix from such a young age.”

Cost From Dh180 per hour.

Contact details Call 050 451 7773 
or email

By Zoe Moore

By Zoe Moore