13 March 2023
Twelve months after completing a comprehensive survey to measure the ‘Health of Riding Establishments’, British Equestrian (BEF), working with the British Horse Society (BHS), the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS+), The Pony Club (PC), the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and horsescotland, has launched a follow up to further understand the challenges faced, build on the insights learned and discover trends. Aimed at anyone who owns or manages a riding school, equestrian training centre or livery yard, the survey focuses on learning more about the current operating environment and issues establishments face with the aim of how we can collectively best support viability in the sector across the federation.
The standout message from the 2022 survey was that riding centres were in the midst of a supply and demand predicament, which is both a positive and negative. While interest in riding remained buoyant, over two thirds of centres were currently struggling to keep up with enquiries and take on new clients, creating a barrier to increasing participation.
Workforce, both paid and volunteer, rising costs and horsepower were primary concerns last year with, on average, centres running at 75% capacity due to these issues.
Another challenge having an impact on some businesses was council licensing requirements and processes. The costs, complexity and time involved are considerable, and this is a source of frustration for some of the centre proprietors.
The research data helped us better understand the challenges faced by riding centres, which we have used to work towards a viable future for our riding centres with a number of initiatives introduced in the course of 2022.
A working group of BEF, BHS, ABRS+, PC and RDA has been established to focus on licensing that meets quarterly to co-ordinate our lobbying to government under a united approach as we campaign for an improved, consistent process. The BHS is leading and has made considerable progress towards ‘assured advice’ which outlines how councils should implement licensing guidance. In addition, The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 have been reviewed and feedback has gone to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for their consideration.
Your views are incredibly important to us and the answers you give really matter, so please be as honest as possible. Plus, there’s a chance to win a great prize for your centre for taking part.
Follow the link below to access the survey – it should take around 20 minutes to complete: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BR8JGCM
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