Britain’s riding centres facing supply and demand issuesWorking in tandem with the British Horse Society (BHS), the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS+), The Pony Club (PC) and Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), British Equestrian (BEF) can now release the headline findings of their ground-breaking research into the health status of the United Kingdom’s riding centres. The data has been extensively analysed to deliver action points, with the overall aim to help our centres thrive and grow as part of the wider strategic aims of British Equestrian.
Key headlines from the survey
- Currently, centres are operating on average at three-quarter capacity.
- Two thirds are struggling to accommodate enquiries and offer places to new clients.
- Capacity issues are being driven by the high number of enquiries, and workforce and horse availability and affordability, with 70% agreeing these issues have been further exacerbated by the pandemic.
- The greatest challenges to current business are reduced income and licensing demands, alongside capacity issues, staffing, increasing costs.
- On average, centres deliver to 122 participants per week, with 77% of respondents offering sessions to disabled participants.
- Centres offer equal provision across private, small and large group lessons, and 90% generate income outside of lessons, most commonly through livery and ‘pony parties’.
- Centres reported an average 62% reduction of income since the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Most commonly, centres are affiliated with local authorities (68%), BHS (riding schools 46% and livery yard 25%), ABRS+ (27%) and RDA (22% are home to an RDA group, while 13% hold an RDA accessibility mark).
- 61% of centres are positive about their prospects, with plans to grow their business in the future