07 May 2020

Coronavirus impact survey reveals alarming affect on riding schools

The British Grooms Association (BGA) and Equestrian Employers Association (EEA) conducted the Impact Survey in April 2020, to discover how the coronavirus has affected the people that work in the equestrian industry, with a focus on those who care for horses and those who run equestrian businesses that employ staff. The survey results are concerning for the industry, revealing that 89% of businesses have seen a financial impact, with 5% of all equestrian businesses worried that they will face closure. When it is broken down into specific businesses, the riding school sector are the worst affected, with 100% of respondents reporting that they have been negatively financially impacted by the pandemic. Alarmingly, 85% of riding schools report they have no income at all. 1 in 10 state that it is likely they will need to close.

In addition, 80% of freelance grooms reported working fewer hours than they had been prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Over half of employed grooms have seen their hours reduced, been furloughed, or been made redundant.

61% of respondents felt the current situation is impacting their mental health.

At this time, it is essential that the industry as a whole prioritises those that run businesses and earn a living and livelihood from horses. Without them, others will be unable to enjoy the hobby and sport.

The findings demonstrate that the entire industry is facing a time of unprecedented challenge. Coronavirus presents an array of difficulties which vary depending on business type and grooms’ way of working, but it is clear: this is a problem that impacts everyone.

Key from the report is the recommendation that additional provisions are needed in many areas. Further support for businesses and for the well-being of grooms and business owners is essential to ensure survival coming out of the pandemic. A total of 1,373 responses were received and the data analysis was conducted with the support of British Equestrian. The BGA and EEA exist to support grooms and employers offering business support, guidance, and mental well-being assistance. Anyone in need of support should visit britishgrooms.org.uk/coronavirus or equestrianemployers.org.uk/coronavirus.