Easter Hall Park Equestrian Centre is situated in Petrockstow(e), Devon. The village commands stunning views from its hill top location across the countryside to the North coast of Devon.
This small historic village has firm farming roots and a history that dates back to the Doomsday Book. There is a huge debate on the correct spelling of the village name. There are four roads in and out of the village. Two sign posts say Petrockstowe and the other two read Petrockstow! That’s Devon for you.
The signs to Easter Hall Park are more clearly marked, you’ll be please to know.
UK Riding Holidays And Much, Much More
The 200 acre equestrian centre offers many different equine services. These include;
- Horse and pony livery
- Riding School
- Group and/or Private Riding lessons
- Pleasure riding (hacking)
- Carriage Driving
- Carriage driving lessons
- Breaking horses to drive
- Teaching (BHS), grooming (driving), and rider training for BHS and NVQ exams
- Holiday cottage accommodation
- Riding or Carriage driving holidays
- Horse or pony breaking (breaking to be ridden)
Additionally Easter Hall Park provides training for the bringing on or re-educating of horses and ponies for onward selling. They either take instruction from customers or clients can carry out the training for themselves.
Why Make The Move To Devon?
Nick and Gail Palmer, the owners of the business moved to Devon some 12 years ago in search of a better quality of life, not only for themselves but also for their horses. They now own over 200 acres of lush farmland and woodland. The move to Devon seemed an obvious one for them as it is extremely beautiful, has nice people and lots of great off road riding such as the Tarka Trail and the Ruby Ride.
The Palmers are certainly not new comers to horses. Before moving to Devon they owned a riding school and livery yard in Biggin Hill, Kent. Gail believes that horses get into your blood. She both had horses as children; it was always going to be Gail’s chosen career path.
Whilst living in Biggin Hill Gail took instruction from show jumper Graham Murrell and his yard manager Jane Stocker to obtain her British Horse Society AI (BHS) qualification at his private yard.
After some freelance teaching, lots of show jumping and a bit of eventing Gail decided to further her qualifications. She went on to train with June Eastwell who is based in Epsom.
Jane carried the old qualification of Institute of the Horse and with Jane’s preparation Gail managed to achieve her BHS stage 4 and her Intermediate Teaching giving her the qualification of BHSII Instructor. Gail was not a student with Jane but continued with her freelance teaching in the equine industry as being able to teach was her first passion.
During this period Gail taught many children at the Pony Club and was chief instructor for the Kent Border and trainer for C+ and B tests. She also did a lot of work for Mid Surrey Drag, again, B test training and preparing the competition team.
In the 1990 Gail became an NVQ assessor. This is a qualification Gail still uses regularly as she teaches and assesses a number of NVQ and diploma qualification students. You will often find students at Easter Hall Park preparing for such qualifications.
Carriage Driving In The West Country
Carriage driving plays a big part of everyday life at Easter Hall Park. Nick and Gail are both experienced carriage drivers. They both compete at National level with Open Single and Horse Pairs and are regular spectators at the international FEI World Equestrian Games.
Gail took up carriage driving in 1989 and was initially taught by Sara Howe of Bradbourne Carriage Driving Centre in Sevenoaks. Gail has often competed at the National Carriage Driving Championships as a Novice as well as in Open Singles and Horse Pairs. To date Gail holds the British Driving Society stage 1 and 2 qualification.
At Easter Hall Park they run regular taster days, training weekends and backstepper training, as well as hosting driving clinics, camps and shows for the Great Western Harness Club (GWHC) of which Gail is the Chairman. Nick has designed and built many driving courses in his time and has used his imagination and experience to create his own obstacles, cones and dressage courses on site.
This not only makes for a great venue for GWHC regional and inter-club competitions but also provides exceptional facilities for training of new drivers and grooms. The GWHC was set up in 1983 to promote competition and pleasure driving in the South West.
Gail is now calling on staff and family members to help streamline the business and take on more organisation so that she can concentrate on her carriage driving and dedicate more of her time as Chairman to the Great Western Harness Club.
Easter Hall Park – The Riding School
Customers who use the Riding school are largely local to Petrockstowe and the surrounding area; especially the towns of Hatherleigh and Torrington. All lessons are taught by qualified British Horse Society (BHS) trained instructors who provide individual or group lessons for all capabilities. An ideal customer would be one that gains knowledge from experienced fully qualified staff, buys a nice horse from them and keeps it on livery at the stables so that the staff can be on hand for any advice if needed.
Easter Hall Park – The Pony Club
Easter Hall Park is one of the 550 pony club centres based in the UK. The aim of the Pony Club centre is to bring education and fun to riders under the age of 25 in a safe environment. Easter Hall Park offers a range of activities from Pony Club rallies to mounted games and horse care. Once signed up to the membership, you can start your fun training and eligibility for Achievement badges.
Riding And Driving Holidays in Devon, UK
A 300 year old barn that has been sympathetically converted provides the self-catering holiday accommodation. It consists of two bedrooms, one double and one twin with open plan living, kitchen and dining space. It has all the features one would expect with a period barn conversion, slate flagstone floors, exposed oak beams and thick walls made of traditional cob. Heating is provided by a multi-fuel burner. The beauty of this equine holiday cottage is that is overlooks the indoor riding school so even if you are not taking part, you can still keep an eye on what’s going on.
Customers From All Over The West Country
Clients who come for driving events or training come from all over the South-West. Easter Hall Park has a long established reputation within the driving industry for training and for hosting events.
As one can imagine, Easter Hall Park attracts a large number of children attending pony days and Pony Club activities and on one such occasion Gail was explaining to a child that the hairs around a horse’s leg are called feathers. To which the child replied I didn’t know that horses could fly!
Easter Hall Park has a well-established website offering further information on all aspects of their business. They also have an active Facebook page where they regularly advertise horses/ponies for sale, events, and training days. If you are lucky you may even find a few images of their new arrivals – just like Easter.