Join us for the last Every Customer Counts Workshop of 2018

The Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) have been delivering the Every Customer Counts workshops at regional centres throughout England during 2018 to help increase customer satisfaction and develop your business.

Why not join us for the last date of 2018:

  • 2nd November 2018 - Moor Farm Stables, Coventry - 10.30am

In a hugely positive move forward, the ABRS will be delivering this programme nationwide on behalf of the BEF. Any equestrian establishment proprietors and their staff, plus any of their equine related suppliers can register and attend the workshop. The workshop gives you some practical suggestions which:

  • Attracting and retaining customers
  • Building an enjoyable customer experience
  • Developing and optimise your customer database  
  • Play an effective role in the community 

You don't have to be an ABRS member to attend. Cost: £10 ABRS member, £12.50 non-member. To book your place ring ABRS Head Office on 01403 790294 or email office@abrs-info.org.

Making Tax Digital - the story so far

The government is phasing in its landmark Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime, which will see taxpayers moving to a fully digital system over the coming years, beginning with MTD for VAT. 

Chartered Certified Accountants, The M Group, have put together a factsheet that will help explain the changes.


Set up a Young Equestrians Club at your riding school for free

Young equestrians is a Sport England funded scheme which provides free support to riding schools to enable them to set up Young Equestrian Clubs to keep young people over 13 engaged with equestrian sport.

The scheme, set up by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and managed by The Pony Club Office, is open to any riding centre approved by a BEF Member Body, meaning that all riding schools approved with the Association of British Riding Schools can set up a Young Equestrians Club.  

Young Equestrians Clubs are for young people over 13 who want to make friends, spend time with horses and try new activities. Industry feedback shows that many young people over 13 stop riding as regularly, or in some cases completely, due to other areas of their lives taking over such as school, work and their social life. Young Equestrians Clubs encourage young people to stay in the sport by creating an environment that allows them time to spend with their peers, explore more of the equestrian industry and take ownership over what they do within their Club.

Riding schools sign up for free and are provided with the materials needed to promote the Club including an arena banner, leaflets, posters, wristbands and activity ideas. Support is given to Club Leaders with launching the Club and keeping the Club going.

To sign up your riding school please contact Bronté Wadge-Dale at The Pony Club Office who will send you more information and an agreement form: 02476698322 bronte@pcuk.org

Sensible & simple biosecurity steps for horse owners and competitors attending equine events

Although the UK has seemingly seen more problems with equine herpes virus-1 (EHV-1) infection (including neurological disease in horses in Devon, Somerset, East Anglia and Gloucestershire), EHV-1 is, and always has been, an ever present threat among horses attending and mixing at equine events.

Read what the Animal Health Trust advises here. 

New venue for Every Customer Counts workshop!

We now have 3 venues booked for the popular Every Customer Counts workshop. Every Customer Counts is a business support workshop that has been developed by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) with the aim of providing essential training to help equestrian organisations retain and grow their customer base by delivering a quality customer service.

Benefits include: the customer experience, how to deal with difficult situations, ...ways to improve your customer retention & developing staff and clients to become your best advocates.

Tues 11th Sept - Ride High Equestrian Centre, Redland Drive, Childs Way, Loughton, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK5 8HD

Thurs 20th Sept - Four Winds Equestrian Centre, Leaveslake Drove, West Pinchbeck, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 3QJ

Mon 8th Oct - Overdale Equestrian Centre, Nether Westcote, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 6SD

You don’t have to be an ABRS member to attend. £10 ABRS members, £12.50 non-members

To book your place ring ABRS Head Office on 01403 790294 or email office@abrs-info.org 

New UKCC Level 2 Dates Announced

With a new provider in place, 1st 4 Sport, new dates have been released for the UKCC Level 2 course to be held at Cheshire Riding School, CW9 6BS starting Monday 10th September 2018.

The course will be run slightly differently and will have 4 compulsory training workshop days, but will include an  additional day which will be optional for those candidates that feel they would like more help before the final assessment day.

For dates and further information please click HERE or contact our UKCC Administrator, Paula Leverton at paula.leverton@abrs-info.org or call 01775 640533.

EEA Launch Staff Handbook Creator

The Equestrian Employers Association (EEA) is delighted to introduce the EEA Staff Handbook Creator, a quick and easy online legal document allowing you to detail your business policies, procedures and rules.

Professionally written by leading Equine Law specialists Clarke Wilmott LLP, this new online tool contains a wide selection of policies to comply with employment law, and policies which employers can tailor specifically to their own business needs.

Nicole Adams, Solicitor from Clarke Willmott LLP said, “Under the Employment Rights Act 1996 employers are required to provide details of their disciplinary and grievance procedures to their employees. However, issuing a full staff handbook with additional policies – such as equal opportunities, absence management and social media policies – has a number of benefits.

For example, it is one way that an employer can clearly set out the standard of conduct which is expected from its staff, it provides guidance to managers in terms of how to handle a particular situation, such as sickness absence, and ensures that all staff are treated in the same way. The staff handbook is something that all employers should issue to their staff and so we are delighted to have been able to assist the Equestrian Employers Association with the preparation of one that is specific to the equine industry.”

Sally Warwick from Long Lane Equestrian tested the EEA Staff Handbook Creator and said “I have just tried the handbook. It’s brilliant and very easy to use. It covers every eventuality so gives me some peace of mind.”

The EEA Staff Handbook Creator is part of the comprehensive employment toolkit provided to members of the EEA as an inclusive benefit of membership.

Create your Staff Handbooks today by visiting www.equestrianemployers.org.uk

Trustees Required - The Association of British Riding Schools needs YOU!

The Association of British Riding Schools is a registered charity at the heart of Riding and Equestrianism.  The founders knew, from their own hard-won experience, that to run a successful, profitable and safe riding school required not just an enthusiastic and hard-working proprietor, but  a proprietor with the knowledge and acumen to navigate the hurdles of managing an equine business.  The Association was established to pool knowledge and then make it accessible to members, while also providing other relevant services and support.  

Sixty-three years on, we feel the need for the Association remains.  Rules, regulations and legislation have become ever more complex, customers are more discerning and demanding, while the recreational market within which riding schools operate is more diverse.  

The ABRS does not have the funds to employ marketing, HR, fundraising or other specialists, it relies on its trustees to lead these areas. Therefore, attracting potential trustees with the motivation and time to take on operational responsibilities is critical to the charity's sustainability and future growth. We currently have three vacancies on the board of trustees and wish to fill these in order to secure the future of the ABRS.

We are looking for ‘hands-on’ doers who relish the opportunity to get involved in day to day challenges as well as the longer term, strategic view. Trustees will be expected to attend meetings, contribute to discussions and decision-making and individuals need to be self-motivated and want to work as part of a team.    

We would very much like to hear from you if you have good communication skills, are confident with a can do attitude, can show diplomacy and professional experience and can dedicate a minimum of 15-20 hours per month to supporting the ABRS.

Although this is a voluntary position trustees can claim reasonable expenses.  

If you think this is of interest please contact Hannah Mays to chat about the role. hannah.mays@abrs-info.org  or tel: 01371 830043

BGA launches 'Grooms Minds' project

In conjunction with World Mental Health Day the BGA are proud to announce a new key project, ‘Grooms Minds’.
Mental Health is a subject which many people are still not keen to talk about, but with an increasing number of grooms, riders and employers contacting the BGA for help and advice, it is clear that this is a real issue within the industry.  

Being happy and content in the workplace is vital to individuals wellbeing and efficient team working. The Grooms Minds project aims to identify the specific issues associated with mental health within the industry to allow the BGA to raise awareness of these issues and then focus on and develop within this area. This work will include employees, employers and those who are self employed.  

The inspiration from the project came from founder and Executive Director of the BGA Lucy Katan, who said, “My experience of being bullied whilst working at a high profile dressage yard was the catalyst for the formation of the BGA. It is something that I will never forget, and at the time there was no organisation for me, as a groom, to turn to. I am always concerned when we receive communications from grooms who are suffering from mental health issues in their workplace, and the BGA is determined, through the Grooms Minds project, to raise the awareness of such.”  

One former groom who has been badly affected by these issues, and who doesn’t wish to be named added, “Being a groom was my dream career I enjoyed every aspect of it. My anxiety snuck up on me, grooms are expected to conscientious and a bit OCD so again I was proud to have these qualities. I didn't feel I could talk to anyone about it because I was angry and disappointed with myself. I hope that the Grooms Minds project will help employers and grooms themselves be more alert to their mental wellbeing.”  

The first step in this important project is to discover how widespread the issues are and so the BGA is urging that all grooms take part in a quick survey, which is 100% anonymous.

In the first dedicated survey of its kind the BGA would like to discover what issues are affecting you and the reasons why. The survey is 100% anonymous and can be found here:  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/groomsmindssurvey.

The result of the survey will then allow phase two of the project and the development of resources available specifically for grooms. As part of the project the BGA has signed up to the Sport and Recreation Alliance Mental Health Charter.  

World Mental Health Awareness Day takes place on 10th October and for 2017 focuses on mental wellbeing in the work place. For more information visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/world-mental-health-day

Purchase the New ABRS Membership Plaque 

Why not promote your affiliation to the ABRS by purchasing one of the new and very smart ABRS plaques.

Sporting the red & blue horses head, which is synonymous with the ABRS, it will give confidence to clients who can be satisfied that you offer the highest standards of teaching, that their health and safety are a priority and that your horses and ponies are given the best possible care. 

Made from perspex and measuring 200x300mm, the plaques are able to withstand the harsh UK weather so can be mounted both indoors or out.  

To order your plaque please contact Head Office on office@abrs-info.org or phone 01403 790294. Plaques £20 each inc. P&P 


Good news for Employers and Proprietors!

The ABRS and British Grooms Association join forces.

On April 1st 2017, fully paid up members of the ABRS will have access to the BGA's Employers Zone addressing the questions that every employer needs to know, from recruiting to discipline and termination, employment facts, sickness and employee relations and many more... oh and not forgetting the all important templates that can be downloaded and used time and time again, PLUS access to a free Employer's Helpline if you ever need advice!

A wonderful resource that has been specifically tailored to meet the challenges of the equine industry. 

Pinetrees - Working with the community

Almancil was host to the British Ambassador Kirsty Hayes, who recently visited the Pinetrees Riding Centre to meet many of the people involved in Riding for Disabled in the Algarve. She was accompanied by Consul Simona Demuro, Vice Consul Clive Jewell, and Manuela Romano de Castro, Press Officer.

The President of Almancil´s Parish Council, Sr. Joaquim Pinto, was present to welcome them together with the Director of Almancil Schools, Dr. Rui Filipe, and also Adriana Pereira, Teacher of Special Needs Education and who has 6 autistic children benefitting from the AEDA´s sessions.

Many of the volunteers involved in helping with riding for disabled are from a variety of nationalities. Riding for the Disabled Barlavento group was represented by David Hibbert and João Moura from Loulé Riding Club and Existir, plus volunteers from the AEDA all enjoyed meeting Kirsty, who is herself a keen horse lover and rider.

Five youngsters from APPC (the Cerebral Palsy School in Faro) demonstrated their skills on their horses and were presented with some red, white and blue rosettes by the Ambassador.

Another rider, 15 year old Irina Rodrigues, showed her abilities by riding unaccompanied in walk and trot. Irina won the highest number of points in last year´s Special Olympics Championship in Lisbon in the walk trot test and is keen to better her score in the next championship.

A presentation of a framed photo was made  by the ambassador to Bill Glindon, a Brit who has served as a regular volunteer for more years than can be remembered, contributing, as many expats do, to enriching the lives of disabled through this valuable form of therapy.


We welcome a new Honorary Advisor

We Welcome Anne-Marie Taylor onboard as a new Honorary Advisor. Anne-Marie Taylor (FBHS) is offering her services as an Equestrian Expert Witness in litigation and insurance claims. Her equestrian background, experience and qualifications together with her legal training would equip her to be of significant help in disputes you might face as a Riding School. She has offered to hold an initial telephone conversation with our members free of charge. You can contact her on 01295 780779 or annemarietaylor@clara.co.uk

Our members have access to professional advisors covering such topics as data protection, legal matters, fire safety, rates and Health & Safety in riding schools, please contact the office for more details. 

Calling all Budding Inspectors

The ABRS is looking for current or retired proprietors or managers of ABRS schools who would like to get involved with helping us with our inspection programme.  It would entail visiting member schools and building a relationship with other proprietors.  For ex-members it is a great way to keep in touch and involved with the riding school world and your experience could be a real benefit to others  For further details please contact the office 01403 790294.

Medi-K offers Emergency First Aid

Medi-K offers emergency first aid and other training to horse riders workers in an effort to reduce the number of serious and fatal accidents every year.

The leading training provider has tailored its popular Emergency First Aid at Work course to the equestrian sector and added “rider specific” content, to reflect the risks riders/grooms face on a daily basis.Kay Patterson, Medi-K workplace training director, said: “The nature of their work means riders face high and severe risk levels; sadly, that’s reflected in the large volume of injuries reported every year.“These are people frequently riding and handling horses, often working in remote locations, so it’s vital to know what to do when accidents happen – particularly as injuries can be significant and life-threatening.“Our expert trainers will equip people with first aid skills to help them how to deal with a range of incidents in the countryside. This can mean the difference between a life lost and a life saved in an emergency.”Additional, specialised content on the new one-day course includes:

• Managing head & spinal injuries
• Treatment of rider wearing safety kit
• Crush injuries
• Casualties suffering from extremes of heat and cold.

The training aims to increase safeguards for workers in the equine industry – particularly where an employer’s risk assessment indicates that extra measures must be taken to manage potential severe injuries.We would be able to attend on a date to suit you for a 1-day course at the group booking cost of £450 (10% discount applied normally £495) for up to 12 riders.  

This cost includes; Full qualification, training, course resources, registration, a manual and a nationally recognised certificate/qualification.We offer regulated qualifications accredited by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) ensuring your yard is complaint with HSE first aid requirements.

Training is delivered on site at a business’s premises across the UK & Ireland.

For more information, visit the Medi-K website. www.Medi-K.co.uk         


Free Fire Risk Assessments for All ABRS Members

ABRS advisor, Harry Paviour, has offered all member schools a free fire risk assessment. For more information please contact the office on 01403 790294.

Organise your yard so you can concentrate on your business!

We have an exciting new Member Benefit company joining the ABRS scheme, one that should help organise your yard so you can concentrate on your business.

We welcome Stable Management Equestrian Software on-board.

Ian Phillips of Stable Management Equestrian Software says "The deal clincher is always saving time and making money so this is what we try and do for every yard we work with."

For over 10 years, Stable Management has been providing a booking and management computer system to riding centres that has allowed them to better understand their business and clients.

But it doesn't stop there. We work with each centre to use the system more effectively and then mould thoseideas into something tangible.

If you are interested in find out more about our software then please check out our website www.stable-management.co.uk There is lots of information and advice as well as a Free Demo for you to try.

Forgot to mention - FUNDING. Life gets easier when you can analyse your business and provide the fund partners with information about your yards activities and this is just a click of the button away with Stable Management. 

ABRS Achieves Charitable Status 

The Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) is pleased to announce that it has been successful in applying for charitable status.

The application made to the Charity Commission by the ABRS executive board follows their review of the structure of the Association and coincides with the appointment of the Association's first Chief Executive, David Pettifor in June last.

Many, including members, due to the nature of the Association's work, had assumed that the ABRS was as a charity already, but the new status now represents a major development for the organisation, enabling it to enhance its benefits of membership.

Two routes were available to the ABRS in making the application, the more straight- forward involving incorporating a new company or, alternatively by demonstrating how the ABRS had evolved into a charity over time while retaining its original ethos. It was the latter route that the ABRS chose.

ABRS Chairman, Julian Marczak said, “In our 60th year what better way for the ABRS to celebrate than acquiring charitable status.  Following a detailed consultation process, we decided that becoming a charity would bring about a number of clear advantages to the Association, including accessibility to otherwise unavailable funding to assist with our charitable work and this was clearly identified in the application process. In addition to the availability of Gift Aid our new charitable status will create accessibility to funding opportunities which would otherwise be unavailable and we welcome the change with great enthusiasm.  

There has been much more to celebrate in the ABRS 60th anniversary including gaining access to the Register of Training Organisations, taking on the first  ABRS Apprentices, continued success with the UKCC, a revival underway with the Association's own qualifications and tests, new IT systems, better communications with members and more efficient ways of integrating with Scottish members". 

The BEVA Leisure & Sports Horse Insurance Guide

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has introduced a new guide produced in partnership with leading equine insurance providers to help horse owners get a better understanding of equine insurance.
With up to 25% of insured horses having a claim in any one year, vet fees insurance is a sensible way to budget for unexpected healthcare costs.
The “BEVA leisure and sports horse insurance guide” provides valuable information for those about to purchase a new policy, or horse owners about to make a claim.
It covers FAQs relating to vets fees and death, including when and how to insure, the importance of pre-purchase vetting, types of policy available, exclusions, referrals and permanent loss of use.
BEVA has also introduced a companion guide for vets. The “Veterinary Surgeon’s guide to riding and sport horse insurance” provides general guidelines to help your vet understand the requirements and issues relating to equine insurance.
Andrew Harrison, junior vice president of BEVA, says: “Whether a vet or a horse owner, understanding equine insurance can be intimidating for the best of us. The new guide should make it much easier for owners to understand the finer points of policies, premiums and claim protocols.” 
The BEVA leisure and sports horse Insurance Guide can be downloaded by clicking here.

Be Prepared

World Horse Welfare are encouraging all horse owners to consider what to do when it's time to say goodbye to their beloved friend - not just owners of old horses as accidents can happen at any time.

Many people keep their horses at livery and even if owners have considered the euthanasia options available, they rarely communicate this to anyone else, including the yard owner.

In the event of a tragedy, if you cannot be contacted, have you let anyone else know the choices that you would make?

To help owners be prepared, World Horse Welfare has produced a pack called Just in Case, which clearly and sensitively explains the options available. The pack also includes two copies of an owner's plan which can be completed with the relevant choices, costs and contact details - one copy can be kept by the owner and the other by the livery yard manager.

The pack is available free of charge through www.worldhorsewelfare.org/just-in-case or tel: 01953 497232

Riding and Road Safety Test

The ABRS is promoting the updated Riding and Road Safety Test that can be found in the members section. This test takes a comprehensive look at a riders knowledge of the Highway and Countryside code, as is applicable to horse riders. It also tests a riders competence at riding a horse in some differing situations that can be encountered on today's roads. Candidates will also need to be familiar with the procedures in the event of an accident.

For more details please see the members section or phone Head Office on 01403 790294.


+44 (0)1403 790294