questions & answers If you do not see your query answered here, please email or phone the office.
All courses must be paid for at the time of booking in order to secure your place.
You can also purchase a Gift Voucher using Paypal from the website and we will send you a voucher valid for one year for you to use.
New for 2022 you can now use the yellow buttons to pay by Paypal found on each course page next to the course dates. It will come straight through to us and we can respond with an email confirmation for the day.
Please do not purchase a course using the Paypal button BEFORE you have had contact from us with your date choice and we can book you on.
The Paypal button is just another way to pay, not a booking system.
We also accept a Bank transfer to our company Barclays bank account :
Please use these details:
Sort Code 20 - 03 - 84
Account number 63177564
Please reference payments with your name and course date and let us know once payment is made so we can check the account and send your confirmation email.
Once any form of payment has been made we will send you a confirmation email with all info on for your day and full directions. If you have not received this email please contact us and we will resend it. Please do read it through! Also check your spam folders.
We will only cancel a course in extreme circumstances.
If we can see that a few days leading up to your course date that the weather looks particularly bad therefore making a day unsafe to run we will contact you to discuss this and arrange to reschedule your course for another day to suit both parties. We will always try to give you as much notice as possible. Please also if you have concerns feel free to contact us. Its important we have a contact tel number for you or regularly check your emails leading up to your course especially in the winter months when weather may cause problems.
Please be aware if choosing dates from November-March the weather can be more unpredictable with ice, snow, strong winds and rain so please be aware if travelling long distances, booking flights and/or accommodation that you can cancel and exchange your plans as in the worst case scenario we would need to cancel the day and reschedule. We will always aim to give as much notice as possible usually at least 3-4 days beforehand.
We will always first and foremost run your course. If in the case of instructor illness we will arrange for another instructor to teach. If we cannot organise another instructor we may need to contact you to reschedule your course.
Please equally respect us and if you need to change your course date we request at least 7 working days notice so we can try to fill your place. This takes our time. Some courses require a minimum number to run and we have small group numbers on our courses to give maximum attention to the group.
People also travel nationally and internationally to visit us so require time to book in and make plans.
We do not offer reschedules for courses cancelled within 7 working days notice unless you are sick or injured and can provide a doctors note or photo of Lateral flow, PCR Covid test result.
Gift vouchers will be no longer valid if you cancel within 7 working days of your booked date.
Please see our Gift vouchers page for the T'S and C's.
We will reschedule your course date for another upcoming date to suit both parties or offer a gift voucher valid for one year to attend another date.
If you do not turn up on the day, for your booked course and you have not given 7 working days notice to the centre by email or by phone, or Facebook message then your day is forfeited.
CAN YOU STILL RUN COURSES WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES?
Yes we can.
We reopened on June 1st 2020 and still maintain our small group policy for courses in our outdoor arena and we are spraying with anti virus spray any shared equipment between riders.
We have hand washing stations and are cleaning areas often through the day.
This year we have put up 2 marquees in our walled garden area with patio heaters to give even more space and good air flow.
We are Covid conscious at all times and have trained staff accordingly.
We decided in 2017 after 9yrs of teaching at the centre and over 2500 students to not accept novice or inexperienced riders on our full day Horse Archery courses as Horse Archery requires a confident rider who can ride a horse with balance whilst being able to think about their archery techniques and be able shoot a bow safely. Its quite alot to think about.
We should also, for correct Horse Archery techniques, learn to stand in our stirrups as we shoot, we will have some fun learning this on the day. Please don't worry before hand.
We can accept a more novice rider on a half day but please check in with us when booking your riding experience levels suitability.
Very Novice and beginner riders for Horse Archery courses will be led by staff or guided down the track and kept at a walk.
No non riders accepted, we wouldn't progress much on a course if we are having to think about the riding and balance not the shooting, having some local lessons first is a great start to your Horseback Archery experience.
For our Rider Confidence course we accept new and novice riders as well as experienced riders, as long as you are riding horses you can come!
We cannot accept novice riders on our Stunt day courses due to whats involved on the day, cantering with weapons etc.
For Cossack Trick riding lessons we can take novice riders as we are working between the saddle and yourself, the horse will be kept on a lunge at the beginning stages.
The more gymnastic you are the better!
We take students for Horseback Archery from 14 yrs upwards for insurance purposes.
We are a centre with horses from 15hh to 16.2hh.
For the Horse archery we have a selection of Horse bows available of different draw weights from 20lbs upwards.
Horse Archery techniques take time to learn and can be tricky so very young students can get frustrated but so can the adults!
The Rider Confidence Course is aimed at adults with educational aspects of the brain, past experiences, stress and confidence.
We combine the day with classroom sessions and practical arena sessions.
Age 14 yrs and upwards. Please check suitability with us first if you have concerns.
Stunt day is 16 yrs and over.
Dzhigitovka weapons courses - Zero to Hero - 16 years and over.
This is due to handling live blades and throwing knives on the day.
For Trick riding lessons, 13 yrs and over.
We feel a certain amount of responsibility and maturity is required to understand the nature of what you are learning and not to go home and try this at home on your or your friends horses that are most likely untrained for the job and could cause an accident.
You will be required to wear a riding hat for insurance purposes and to stay safe when learning a completely new skill on horseback.
Trick Riding is essentially a form of Gymnastics on Horseback so a good fitness level, upper body and core strength are required to perform the tricks safely and correctly.
During the warm up some running, around 1o press up (not on knees) and sit ups are required.
We actually find it easier if a you have never shot a bow before or have little experience as we are teaching a different technique, the thumb draw technique.
We start all courses on the ground learning how to shoot a horsebow using the thumb and only when we can see you are safe enough do we progress onto the horses starting from a walk. Experienced archers are completely welcome too. We have a exciting new style to teach you also. Left handed people can also come and learn Horseback Archery, no problem.
Please note for Horseback Archery you need to understand that you need to learn a set technique of loading the arrow and shooting before getting on our horses.
If you have terrible coordination and don't like learning fiddly things, it might not be for you!
If we feel you are unsafe we have the right to not progress you onto our horses for safety reasons. You will not be refunded in this rare situation.
A safety briefing is conducted before every course.
If you have your own riding hat then please bring it along.
We do have some here of varying sizes if you forget or do not own one but we prefer you to bring your own that fits correctly.
Please do not wear trainers as you will not be allowed to mount our horses and your day will end, so a boot with a small heel is most suitable.
We do not lend footwear.
Your normal riding gear is fine, if you do not have any then loose jeans, long trousers you can move in with ease, no shorts or cropped trousers and long boots are good.
For Rider Confidence courses please wear comfy riding gear that you can move about in easily. Please be aware the lessons take place outdoors, so dress sensibility for the weather and bring a warm/waterproof coat.
We will provide all other equipment.
Any horse riding should be an active sport and we expect a suitable level of fitness.
We regret we cannot accept over 15 stone.
We do have a high mounting block.
Generally the half day and full day courses start at 10.30am.
Afternoon Horse Archery sessions begin at 2.30pm until 5.30pm.
The Centre opens from 10.15am for registration and tea/coffee.
Please do not come into the yard before this time as it will be closed to you as we have liveries to attend to and we are busy setting up for your course to provide you the best service possible.
If you arrive early its worth heading 5 mins down the hill to
The Red Lion pub which opens from 9am for breakfast and serves food all day.
If we are running afternoon course you may be joining us for a half day only starting at 2.30pm so please meet us in the reception room.
Visits to the yard are strictly by prior appointment as this is also our home, thank you.
Yes, we have worked long and hard to provide you with a facility which is as safe as possible.
We are fully licensed annually and insured.
The Centre of Horseback Combat Ltd carries £5,000,000 in public liability cover but you use the centre and equipment at your own risk. The centre accepts no liability for injuries or accidents to your person or damage to personal property. The Centre can arrange short term and yearly personal accident cover if you so wish with Sportsguard Direct.
We hold a Riding school license with Dacorum council which involves an annual check by vets to inspect our horses, tack, equipment, stables, fields, riding hats, horses worming and vaccinations, horses working day plans, our experience and qualifications, first aid box, equine first aid, fire points and insurance. As part of being licensed, the suitability of the health and welfare of the horses and experience of the tutors is assessed and approved - so in every way you know you are in safe hands and hooves!
We hold Public liability insurance for £5 million to teach Jousting, Horseback Archery, stunt riding, Trick Riding and Tent pegging/Skill at Arms.
Always check that any yard that teaches the public in exchange for money for this criterion.
Karl is also a qualified hypnotherapist and has years of experience in dealing with Rider Confidence issues.
You are welcome to bring a packed lunch and eat in our reception room or if its a nice day sit outside in our walled garden area.
We are also lucky to have a choice of 2 great pubs based around the estate.
The Red Lion is a lovely bar/restaurant gastropub which opens for breakfast from 8am and serves food all day! It is based just a 3 min drive away in Waters End.
The closest pub is The Crown and Sceptre, just a 2 min walk across the cricket pitch, you can see the door from our car park!
No alcohol to be consumed during your day. If we believe you have been drinking or smell of alcohol you will be asked to leave the course for reasons of safety.
Lunch is usually at 1.30pm until 2.30pm so on Bank Holidays and weekends you may want to book yourself a table in advance as the pubs can get busy.
We also have a Hillier garden centre with cafe just 10 mins away and local shops also around a 10 min drive away.
We can highly recommend a beautiful B and B just 10 mins away called Beechwood Home Farm with stunning ensuite rooms. Its just an 11 min drive away.
Check out their website for booking info.
They are now back open after lockdown and still maintaining good hygiene measures.
They are also a horsey family!
If you'd like a bit of hotel luxury please take a look at Shendish Manor Hotel and golf club just outside Hemel Hempstead.
We are also only 3.5 miles from Hemel Hempstead which also has a Premier Inn, Travel Lodge and a Holiday Inn.
We are also only 4.6 miles from Berkhamsted which is a lovely small historic town with some great B&B's and hotels plus lots of eating places on the high street.
The Kings Arms is a lovely old historic pub on the high street with rooms above https://www.kingsarmsberkhamsted.co.uk/
We recommend for a smaller budget The Penny Farthing Hotel on the High street. http://www.thepennyfarthingberkhamsted.co.uk/
For a 5 star hotel/spa we recommend Luton Hoo country hotel, just a 20 min drive away.
Yes, we welcome spectators on most courses for no extra charge, but we cannot allow spectators on the Rider Confidence due to the sensitive and personal nature of this course.
We want any nervous students to feel comfortable to try new skills without feeling watched by strangers.
Photography is allowed for your own personal use only on our days except the Rider Confidence Course.
Please contact us first for any commercial photography use.
Please be aware this is a centre with weapons and horses and is a shooting range, so it is not the most suitable environment for children under 8 years. Please discuss this with us at the time of booking if you have any concerns or would like to bring younger children along.
We do not accept unsupervised children at any time.
Gift Vouchers are valid one year from purchase. It will expire without notice from ourselves.
Please check in the case of Horse Archery courses as our season can end in mid Oct/November until March due to weather and ground conditions out of our control.
We do offer gift voucher 6 month extensions for £25 as long as your voucher is still valid.
To extend your voucher please call the office and pay over the phone using a card.
If you have not contacted us by email or phone to extend your voucher and it has expired then we cannot offer an extension.
If you are injured or sick and cannot use your voucher please contact us by phone or email whilst your voucher is still valid for further info and we may be able to help by offering an extension.
Gift Vouchers are non refundable after 7 days of purchase.
Gift Vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash.
Gift vouchers can be exchanged for other course vouchers of the same value or in the case of a higher value course a top up cost will be required by cash or card payment at the time of booking.
Gift vouchers can be sold or given away should you wish, please just let us know first.
See Gift Voucher page for more detailed info.
We will still run courses in the rain.
If leading up to your course day the weather looks very nasty such as high winds and heavy rain all day or snow we will notify you by email and phone in the week leading up to your course so its important we have your correct contact details, this is very rare though.
If in extreme cases whilst you are here and the weather turns very nasty making the activity unsafe we may at our discretion stop the course through reasons of safety and offer you another suitable date to finish your course.
This is a outdoor activity so please bring suitable outdoor warm clothing and a waterproof coat it can get windy up on our Horse Archery track!
In the summer months please bring sun cream, a sun hat and be protected as our sheltered walled garden can get quite warm in the height of summer.
We do suggest if booking in a day as a very special occasion and travelling a long distance maybe the summer months are better to aim for to ensure we can run your day, but this is the U.K after all!
We are based on the 2000 acre private and historic Gaddesden estate nr Hemel Hempstead.
On booking you will receive a email confirmation with full address and detailed directions on how to find us.
If you put the Centre of Horseback Combat into Google Maps it will bring you straight here.
We are based 3.5 miles north from Hemel Hempstead.
Our nearest train station would be Hemel Hempstead which is around 30 mins from central London. Berkhamsted station is also very close on the same line.
A taxi service from the station can bring you here, there are usually always taxis at the station waiting. It should cost around £13.
Rainbow taxis: 01442 252588
We are also close to Luton, just 9 miles, Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
We are in very easy reach of the M1 junctions 8 and 9 and the M25.
Sorry but we can no longer accept dogs here whilst we are teaching but we do have a large quiet parking area and walks on public footpaths around the estate.
We have 3 wolfdogs of our own here that we use for film and TV and they are not happy with other dogs on the yard.
We like to keep it personal and small.
For Horseback archery courses we can have 7 people max on a full day and 7 on a half day.
6 is average and we prefer 6.
Rider Confidence courses is 7 max. 6 is average.
Pro Stunt Days is 6 max.
Dzhigitovka courses max 10. We split you into 2 groups.
We feel this gives you the best attention on your day and a good deal of riding.
We use high quality stunt horses, mostly of Andalucian types.
We are based close to Whipsnade Zoo, Berkhampsted is also very nice historical town with a castle ruin, coffee shops and restaurants and St Albans is a great historical Roman town.
We also are lucky enough to have The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead with real snow offering skiing and snowboarding lessons. They also have a great bar/restaurant known as The Lodge.
Jarman Park in Hemel Hempstead offers a climbing wall, indoor skatepark and high ropes course and is open everyday.
It also has a Imax cinema and brand new restaurant strip with Frankie and Benny's, Coast to Coast, Chiquitos, Subway and a Hungry Horse.
For more bespoke type queries it is best to speak to us in person.
During the day we are often teaching and so may not get your call or email.
We do aim to reply within 2 days.
Please note the office is closed at weekends.
Office opens Mon - Fri 10am -4pm.
Tel: 01442 462715.