ABRS+ Meet with BE to Discuss Licensing Concerns

Posted on 5th March 2022

The ABRS+ (Jane Williams (Chair) and George Baber (Director of Operations)) met with British Equestrian (Jim Eyre (CEO) and Winnie Murphy (Head of Communications)) on Friday 4 Mar 22 to discuss the issues identified by Members on Council Licensing.

The ABRS made the following points:

There was a common view that little was likely to change ahead of the 5-year review of the Animal Welfare legislation in 2023, but that this review offers an opportunity to adjust the legislation to make it more ‘workable’. Clearly the Equestrian community needs to work with DEFRA with a unified voice and provide a single, workable view on what needs to change. The ABRS pressed BE to take the lead and coordinate between interested parties, including the ABRS+, BHS, Pony Club and RDA.

BE indicated that the Capacity Survey, which will be sent out shortly to all Riding Establishments, will provide value data on the health of grass roots riding provision. ABRS+ is supporting this Capacity Survey. BE have a routine call with DEFRA next week, during which the issue of Council Licensing will be raised. BE will aim to obtain a clearer timeline for the Legislation Review and then consider how best they can help.

ABRS+ intends to hold a series of Town Hall meetings on Zoom with Members over the coming weeks to review the Legislation and Guidance to identify what issues exists and how can these be addressed (more to follow on FB).

ABRS+ strongly believes the equestrian community needs to come together with one voice if we are to be heard and is looking for BE to co-ordinate and arbitrate the effort (given that each Member body will have their own interests). We need also to ensure that the knowledge and experience of Riding Establishment owners and staff feeds into the creation of this unified view. Additionally, this will be a ‘long-haul’ exercise, with nothing likely to change in the near term and no quick fixes – we should use the 2023 legislative review as the lever for change.

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