Riding School Closures- H&H Article

Posted on 1st December 2021

Following on from an article published in last week’s Horse and Hound Magazine, the ABRS+ are fully in support of all riding schools and riding establishments, who have faced challenging times recently not only due to Covid but also due to other industry-related issues such as rising costs, increased administration and increases in business rates.

Unfortunately, with the addition of closures due to the pandemic, 2020 and 2021 have seen a huge number of riding schools either close their doors permanently or change business direction or downsize in order to continue trading and this is a real loss often not only to their clients and staff, but as many have been around for generations this often means the loss of an integral part of their community.

Our Trustee and Director of Member Services George Baber was quoted in the H&H article stating “It is a loss for the owners, staff and clients, and can leave a local gap. The closure of large schools is even more of an issue because they often also serve as venues for training, competition and other events. Our members are seeing cost pressures, including the high cost of horses, and the increase in basics such as feed and hay.

“We are expecting business rates to be waived for next year, announced in the Budget, but the details of applicability are to be confirmed. While this is welcome, costs are likely to increase, creating real risks in a low-margin industry. We would encourage all schools to look at their operations and at additional ways to raise income, on and off horse.

“That said, we have also seen encouraging signs also. Our members have been incredibly busy following the lifting of Covid restrictions, and we have recently had new members join, as livery yards have converted to combined schools and livery yards. It is too early to determine whether this is a trend or not.”

In line with ongoing support of our members, The ABRS+ is planning a campaign next year focusing on the issues faced by riding schools in relation to differing licensing regulations and processes across the country and aims to address some of the inconsistencies and difficulties faced by the proprietors of riding establishments in this process.

Our chair Jane Williams says “We are very concerned about the burden of the regulatory licensing process, the current rating system and increasing costs on our members.  The ABRS + exists to work with members to ease their paths as much as possible. “

‘We are in dialogue with the government about rate relief and planning campaigns to lobby for improvements to the licensing and rating systems.  Watch for our Surveys in the New Year to gain vital information to take to government and send us your views’

If you’d like to share with us the experience of difficulties you have faced, or find out support being, or becoming, a member can offer you, please get in touch with the ABRS+ Office 

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