Posted on 18th March 2022
A joint effort has been launched to try to safeguard the future of Britain’s riding centres, for which a “viable future has never been more uncertain”. British Equestrian, working with the British Horse Society, the Association of British Riding Schools, the Riding for the Disabled Association and the Pony Club, as well as riding centres across the country, has initiated the “groundbreaking” project.
Sadly, the Covid Pandemic, alongside increasing running costs, shortages of staffing and equines for the centres has seen a number of riding centres close their doors over the last two years. Many of these have also resulted in the loss of livery spaces either from working liveries or those riding centres running a livery business alongside, or have seen the riding centres switch to offering livery only and ceasing their licensed operations.
An online survey has been sent to some 1,700 centres, with questions covering capacity, staffing and activities, as well as challenges related to viability, profitability and marketing. “A viable future for our riding centres has never been more uncertain,” said British Equestrian head of participation Mandana Mehran Pour. “Riding centres and schools face a series of difficulties, not least those presented by the global pandemic in recent years. Costs are rising, the licensing process is more complex than ever, and a shortage of suitable staff and horses are just some of the early indications from proprietors of the issues they’re facing.”
“We aim to deliver accurate and meaningful data that gives a ‘health check’ on the nation’s riding centres, which can then be used to target areas for improvement and where help is most needed. It also will give us facts to present in our lobbying of Government on the issues, as well as present a realistic picture of the impact of Covid-19 on the sector.”
All responses will be confidential and anonymous, and participants will be entered into a draw to win feed worth over £1,200 from British Equestrian partners Dodson & Horrell.
The survey is open until midnight on 27 March. Riding schools that have not been sent a survey link by one of the above organisations but would like to take part are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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