• Member News

    As a member dedicated association, the ABRS+ wants to promote our members and what they have to offer. Perhaps your yard, riding establishment or a staff member is celebrating an important milestone, you’ve won an award or achieved an accolade… or even just a ‘human interest’ story about the background of your yard or if you’re doing something out of the ordinary.

    You can submit a news story for consideration by email office@abrs-info.org (if with images), or via the Contact Form at the bottom of the page for text only. If necessary, we will contact you to request more details and photos. Keep your eyes peeled on the page and the ABRS+ Facebook page to see if your news gets on the page!


  • ABRS+ Coach of the Year 2024


    The ABRS+ would like to thank all those that nominated Coaches for the ABRS+ Coach of the Year 2024.  This Award is aligned with National Coaching Week with whom we are official partners.  The bottom line is that each an every Coach nominated has made a material and positive impact on so many others – going the extra mile, being a listening ear, encouraging and building confidence, giving of their knowledge and experience – and every one of them deserves recognition and our thanks.  We are pleased to announce that the ABRS+ Coach of the Year is Abi Shaw from High Legh Riding School. 

    We received many nominations for Abi that all talked of this incredible coach that bent over backwards to help and support her clients – to quote: ‘she’s just amazing at what she does and inspires everyone around her’.

    Many congratulations Abi from all of us at the ABRS+.

    You can see all of the nominees here – https://www.abrs-info.org/article/coach-of-the-year-nominees/



    The Children we cannot name or see!
    It’s a sad title isn’t it but unfortunately this is the reality for Looked after children. Their achievements can’t be displayed with a photo or their name, they must be pulled out of group photos, parents can’t video or photograph their own children in case there is a vulnerable or looked after child in the activity.
    As a foster Parent I do my best to include my foster child A in as many activities as possible but always must remind the host that A can’t have her picture taken or her name used so how do we celebrate her achievements?

    I ensure she has every available opportunity to take part in everything she wants and let her be recognised for her abilities.

    A has been attending Gartmore Riding School for just under a year now and I have watched her confidence grow not just with her riding but as a young leader around the stables.

    A has short term memory loss and special educational needs but with guidance can complete many of the tasks around the stables and has started to retain lots more information.
    A can untack horses, lead, and complete many stable management tasks.

    Its not only an enjoyable activity for A but a great way for her to make new friendships as she is a very quiet and solitary young lady, but many young leaders of different age and abilities attend the stables and volunteer their time and A appears very comfortable in their company.
    Gartmore Riding School offers so much to children and adults of all abilities and backgrounds and celebrates their success and achievements by the smiles on their faces not the persons name and photo!

    Congratulations to everyone at Gartmore Riding School who have been working hard on their Equestrian Care Awards (ECAs). Such a great achievement and a wonderful way to learn more about riding and caring for our equestrian friends.


    Pinetrees, Algarve – Success!


    For the second year ShebangPR, run by Carolyn McKoewn, has held the Algarve Business Awards and I am delighted to tell you of our success for Pinetrees Riding.

    Last year I scooped the Lifetime Achievement Award and our Julia Peralta won the Best Employee of the Year.

    This year the event was held at the prestigious Wyndham Grand in Quinta do Lago (very convenient for us as just down the road) on the 30th November. A night of Glamour and an opportunity to dress up, around 200 people gathered to party to the full and receive awards in 19 different categories, which had been judged by independent, unknown assessors.

    These awards are a great boost to the morale of many people who work so hard to maintain and give good quality in their businesses, many of whom are employers. They have survived Covid, the economic ups and downs, and the challenges they have faced.

    After a semi-finals listing, we were now finalists in three categories. The three finalists in each category were present at the Gala and one would get the winner award and the other two the runner up awards. Our friends and supporters filled 3 tables and had come to see what we might win.

    We are very pleased that our Daniel Andrade, my right-hand-man, was a runner up in the Best Employee, and we were runner up in the Contribution to Charitable Causes.

    However, having spent 50 years of my life in this profession and promoting the Algarve through the horse, I was particularly pleased to win the Tourism and Hospitality award. All the more rewarding because the runner ups were Quinta do Lago and Vale de Lobo, two Goliaths, and the horses beat the golf!

    I do believe that it is important that equestrianism can keep a high professional profile and compete on equal terms with other sports and businesses.

    My local hairdresser did a great job on the hair and nails, and Miss Paris Boutique supplied a beautiful gown for Cinderella to go to the ball, but, I tell you, next year no more high heels – I will have the joddy boots on underneath!


    A photograph from Pinetrees in the Algarve, celebrating the EEA’s  ‘Give Your Staff a Pizza Day’.

    The man second from the left, Daniel Andrade, was sent to Burghley in early September to develop his professional experience seeing a 5 * event, and was looked after by fellow ABRS+ member Paula Leverton. of Four Winds Equestrian, Spalding.

    He is also one of three finalists in the Algarve Business Awards 2023 for Best Employee of the year.  Last year Julia Peralta, the only lady in the picture, won the award. We are very proud of their achievements. On the 30th November Daniel and Bev will be at the Gala dinner for the awards ceremony.


    Horse Rangers Association (Harwich) proudly showing their Progressive Rider and Stable Management Certificates.  Well done to you all.


    Article from our member Eat, Sleep, Ride

    Charlotte and Bobby – 2 Years Together

    I first came to ESR in September 2020 having only ridden as a child. At first I was just looking for riding lessons, but after riding and volunteering with them for 6 months, my passion for horses was reignited and I bought Bobby in March 2021. As a brand new horse owner, I had a lot to learn very quickly and I couldn’t have done it without the support and guidance of the staff and volunteers at ESR. When they knew I was looking for a horse, they helped to put me through my BHS Horse Health and Riding Out Safely awards so that I had a basic understanding of how to care for a horse. They then spent many hours looking through adverts with me until I found something suitable in my budget.

    Through volunteering I learnt about grooming and horse care, handling horses of different temperaments, assisted with things like clipping and applying poultices and soaked up as much knowledge as I could. I also learned that there was a different way to connect with horses and that riding was only a small part of what they could offer – which came in very handy later.

    My budget wasn’t huge so I really had the choice to buy something young and green or something approaching retirement. My longing for a horse didn’t come from a longing to ride but from wanting a life long companion to learn and grow with so I bought Bobby at 4 years old. He was lightly backed to ride but green, which I thought I could handle easily having volunteered at the yard for 6 months and worked with a variety of different horses. I wasn’t quite prepared for how different things are when it’s your own horse.

    It was immediately obvious that Bobby was a gentle soul but he had ridden issues related to mounting and being in open spaces and non-ridden issues in that he didn’t know how to connect with humans. He had been taught to be compliant but not to work in partnership and was head shy and difficult to catch in the field. Under the guidance of the staff at ESR I spent the first couple of weeks grooming him, talking to him, taking him out for walks in hand and bringing him lots of different foods to try (he’d never even had a carrot before), learning how to care for his mallanders and introducing him to lots of new things and people.

    Meanwhile, I had put him on schooling livery so the staff worked with him on his ridden work while also giving him the care, attention and space he needed out of the saddle to be able to grow.

    As a novice rider, it quickly became obvious through a number of incidents that I was not going to be able to give him what he needed in the saddle by myself. The first half dozen times I came off him I got straight back on but it was slowly breaking me and after a particularly nasty accident I decided I didn’t want to ride a horse again and questioned whether I should even be responsible for one. I felt like Bobby was too much for me, I was failing him, I’d been too full of myself thinking I could look after a horse and he’d be better off with someone else. I told the staff how I was feeling and they were so sympathetic and supportive. They offered me Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) which I did with Bobby to work through my feelings of inadequacy, lessons in ground work so that I could give him a good foundation on the ground for ridden work, leant me materials on trick training and booked me into a Liberty Training clinic.

    I came to realise that my passion for horses didn’t lie in the saddle but in spending time with my best friend regardless of what we were doing together. He continued with his schooling livery, while I continued to work with him on the ground. The trust and bond we built through doing these things is indescribable and set us up so well for a lifetime together.

    I eventually got back in the saddle 12 weeks later and decided to go all the way back to basics to help with my confidence. I started with lessons in walk on a lead rein and slowly built things up until I was riding confidently on my own. Bobby’s confidence increased at the same time and after a year he was one of the most reliable horses on the yard.

    Bobby was given a huge range of opportunities, the diversity of which would be difficult to find anywhere else. He was taken to clinics, went on beach rides, took part in EFL sessions, gave beginners and nervous returners positive experiences in the saddle, went on hacks (and has now become a reliable and unflappable ride leader), went to cross country and many other things.

    When Bobby came to me shod, I had already begun to learn the benefit of barefoot hooves to horses through the standard practice of the yard so taking them off was my first order of business. I found the science behind it fascinating and decided to educate myself on how to create and maintain healthy hooves through diet, trimming and care. I joined a number of Facebook groups where I see people post photos of their horses’ hoof problems and read and absorb all of the answers and advice offered by professionals. This has allowed me to be able to recognise a healthy and unhealthy hoof and have a basic understanding of adjustments that need to be made.

    As an owner I had the opportunity to engage with professional saddle and bridle fitters to make sure he was comfortable, had access to a wide range of learning resources including going on an Equine Touch course, opportunities to attend clinics, and most importantly, experienced people around me to offer support and advice. As a new owner I asked 1000 “stupid” questions but you don’t know what you don’t know. Things like “My horse has a cut, is it bad enough to need a vet?”, “My horse is itching, how can I make it stop” and “I’m getting lots of adverts for things I must get for my horse, which are true and which are just advertising?”.

    In January of 2023, one of the staff noticed early signs of Chronic Progressive Lymphedema (CPL) appearing on Bobby’s legs. It was something we had a basic understanding of on the yard having cared for a Clydesdale with the condition. Once again I went into research mode and learned everything I could. It’s a condition which is much more common that people think but is not widely understood even by vets. By once again immersing myself in internet learning, I was able to find the experts in the condition and begin to follow their recommended protocols – not just for Bobby but share the information with the yard so that they could treat the other horses with it more effectively.

    What ESR has done for us is teach me just how small a part riding plays in owning a horse and how much more we can both get from our relationship if we look beyond the ridden work. After 2.5 years I’m now at the stage where I can have Bobby closer to home and take more responsibility for his care, but I’ll never forget and never be able to repay what ESR has given to us. It’s a very special place to a lot of people and will always hold a spot in our hearts.


    Royal Visit to Gul Outdoor Therapy’s Wiltshire Retreat

    On September 14th, against the backdrop of a picturesque and sunny day, Gul Outdoor Therapy had the distinct honour of hosting a Royal Visit at their Wiltshire site. Gul is renowned for offering Equine Assisted services dedicated to health and wellbeing, alongside a diverse array of outdoor activities, including equestrian sports. They hold a long membership with ABRS+, a testament to their enduring commitment.

    The esteemed guest for this memorable occasion was The Duchess of Edinburgh, who arrived by helicopter and spent an enchanting hour with the dedicated team at Wiltshire. Her Royal Highness had the opportunity to engage with various groups, including primary school children with educational needs in the tranquil woodland area, learning disabled adults in the vibrant garden, and teenagers navigating the complexities of behaviour and mental wellbeing through the riding programme.

    The highlight of the visit was the heartwarming reunion with two cherished ponies, His Majesty the King’s ponies. These ponies, on their well-deserved retirement from the Balmoral Estate, have found a loving home at Gul for over a decade. The Duchess, in particular, was delighted to reconnect with Balmoral Ulleam (William), and regaled those in attendance with the endearing tale of the moment “she and William parted company” during a horseback ride on the estate, when an unexpected duck flew up in their path when riding on the estate.

    The visit was a true delight, as The Duchess demonstrated her remarkable equestrian skills and an innate affinity for the Royal Highland Ponies as well as her knowledge about the benefits of Equine Assisted Services, a field in which Gul has been a pioneer for 15 years, left a lasting impression.

    This royal visit was not just a special day for Gul Outdoor Therapy, but a heartwarming celebration of their enduring commitment to equine-assisted well-being and the harmonious coexistence of man and horse in a serene Wiltshire landscape.

    Gul is an accredited provider of the new OCN London Level 3 Diploma in Equine Assisted Services and encourages all riding centres to consider this area of work to fill the quieter hours of the school day without causing equines to work hard physically. For information on the course please visit Gul’s website on www.guloutdoortherapy.org


    A Chat with Ryders Farm Equestrian Centre

    Can you tell us a bit about Ryders Farm EC?

    We are a family run business started in 1995 by my Mum, Sarah Fitton BHSI.  We then progressed to buy the small riding school centre of less than 20 horses and have since developed into a highly commended, large riding school with 35 horses and ponies and a brilliant team of staff.

    The business has also diversified into a small, busy livery yard with 26 horses and an on-site Farm Shop and Cafe.  We are also the base for Salford City College Equine Department, we work with several local schools and clubs to offer horse riding sessions including Manchester Metropolitan University Riding Club.

    We are primarily a grassroots riding centre and our vision has always been to give people access to our brilliant equestrian world and the magic of horses and riding.

    Why did you decide to join the ABRS+?

    We have always been strong advocates for the licensing and high standards of riding schools and equestrian establishments and believe it is our responsibility to educate the future generations of horse owners, riders and supporters into positive, professional and practical standards of horse care and welfare.

    We have a 5 Star Local Authority approval and are BHS Approved.  As we have other approvals, we just never really considered joining another approvals scheme as we assumed there was just a lot of crossover and were unsure what else it could bring to our Centre.

    We spotted a brilliant offer by the ABRS to join back in March and had seen some really positive and proactive conversations they were having online and their Rosette scheme was something we were really interested in and thought it was worth joining to see what it was all about!

    How has being a member helped you and your business?

    We really enjoyed the ABRS conference! It was brilliant to meet other people in the industry and hear different voices from riding schools around the UK. We learned lots from this day and came away full of ideas and inspiration.

    Obviously, the rosette awards have been a huge bonus for us also and we have really made them work at our Centre for our team and riders to enjoy. Cathie and George have been a brilliant support as well and it has been great to chat with them about our ideas here and working together. 

    You have already run a huge number of Rosette Awards since joining the ABRS+, what do you/your clients like about them? How do they fit in with your business? 

    After speaking with Cathie, I think we have used the rosette awards in a pretty unique way at RFEC! We had a lot of interest and feedback from our clients and team that meant we wanted to incorporate a clearer way to monitor and track progress and celebrate achievements of our riders – from the very beginning!

    Initially, we knew children especially wanted their achievements to be recognised and celebrated by all, lots of our riders wanted a physical award so they could show off in school and discuss their hobbies with their friends and family.  We then designed an initial beginner course to take riders through the foundations of riding and handling horses.  This course is aimed at new beginner riders who want to start riding and learning about horses.  We also feel this course will suit those riders who are returning to horses after a long break and want to ease themselves back in with confidence.

    This course is designed as the perfect foundation for riders to start a comprehensive understanding of horsemanship with riding and horse care/stable management.

    Following the course, opportunities for progression onto our regular lessons can then be discussed/facilitated.  We picked a set of eight ABRS Rosette awards starting with leading a pony to ones like, sitting trot, that encompass the basic skills we teach our riders at the start of their journey and riders can work towards achieving these awards throughout their course – we have to give a special shout out to our wonderful coach, Becky, who is absolutely amazing with our beginner riders and always makes her sessions so engaging and fun that our riders have a brilliant start to their riding journey!

    We have since realised, our teen and adult riders are just as enthusiastic about tracking their progress and achievement awards to celebrate their milestones. Horses should be fun, and we think it is brilliant that our riders are encouraged to understand a task and seek to learn and achieve this with their horses and within their lessons.

    The more we can educate new riders about horsemanship and correct methods of horsemanship, the bigger difference we can make in promoting a safe and positive equestrian sport.

    Do you have any exciting plans for this year? 

    Our riders will know, we always have something coming up! We have just got back from our Summer break, so all the team and horses have enjoyed a lovely week off. As a family business, we didn’t get any rest, this meant painting the whole yard, redesigning the tackroom and a long list of those ‘odd-jobs’ to tick off (finally!) It did give us a good opportunity to touch base and regroup for the next year ahead.

    We have just welcomed the new enrolment of students from Salford City College and are keen to promote our partnership into promoting and educating young students who are interested in progressing into the equine career pathway.

    We are also the first to admit, we went a bit quiet on the social media/online front  – something I don’t recommend at all, it is a brilliant place to keep the conversation going with your riders and keep everyone involved, so we are really excited to start sharing some new content online about all the exciting things happening at RFEC.

    We have also just welcomed some new ponies to our riding school team and we are looking forward to getting to know and work with them more and watch them flourish in riding school life.

    This year, we have had a brand new reception renovation which we were so excited about! It looks absolutely brilliant and is a much more practical use of space to welcome our riders. We are still in the process of decorating and adding lots of information and resources for our riders here.



01403 741188


Blenheim Business Centre, Smithers Hill, Shipley, West Sussex RH13 8PP

Opening Hours

W/C 17 June
Mon-Wed: 0900-1400, Thurs: 1000-1400, Fri: ansaphone only

W/C 24 June
Mon: ansaphone only, Tues-Wed: 1000-1400, Thurs: 1000-1400, Fri: ansaphone only

W/C 1 July
Mon: ansaphone only, Tues-Wed: 1000-1400, Thurs: 1000-1400, Fri: ansaphone only

W/C 15 July
Mon: ansaphone only, Tues-Wed: 1000-1400, Thurs: 1000-1400, Fri: ansaphone only

Send Us Your News!

If you’ve any news about your yard, perhaps you’ve hit a milestone, to recognize a certain member of staff, an award, achievement or other exciting news then feel free to send to us for consideration on this page. 

Please complete the contact form below, or alternatively send to the ABRS+ Office office@abrs-info.org (and feel free to attach any relevant images too!)

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