Riding schools in crisis and other things the horse world is talking about today

Horse & Hound’s daily debrief, brought to you every weekday morning

  • 1. Riding schools under real pressure again

    Riding schools have called for changes to the licensing system, warning that the industry is facing a “national crisis” if we do not act now to bring about change next year.

    Riding school owners are required to carry out huge amounts of paperwork and face “endless red tape” in order to run, meaning an enormous workload and less time to spend on the business itself. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 that bring about much of this workload are due to be reviewed in 2023, five years after they were introduced. This could be the opportunity for change.

    Sue Nevill-Parker, of Arrow Equestrian riding school, told H&H: “We need to act or it will all be swept under the carpet and in 20 years’ time, there will be no riding schools. We need to take licensing out of the hands of local authorities and put it with people who know what they’re doing.”

    Find out the extent of riding school owners’ concerns

    2. ‘It feels like nobody wants to work’

    On this week’s episode of The Horse & Hound Podcast, showjumper Jay Halim brings up the common complaint of not being able to get staff who are prepared to work hard.

    “Everybody is looking for grooms and it is hard work, but it’s a really rewarding job,” says Jay. “But nobody wants to work. It seems to be a struggle in all walks of life – I have friends in the hospitality industry and they’re struggling to get members of staff, so I don’t think it’s just the equestrian world.

    “People who come in to ride expect to have a string of horses handed to them. That never happened for me and it’s not real life,” he adds. “Serving an apprenticeship with the Fletchers has stood me in good stead because I learnt how to work and I continue to do so.”

    Read more of Jay’s opinion

    3. Nick Skelton up for auction

    Team gold medallist Nick Skelton celebrates before the medal ceremony at London 2012 Olympic Games.

    Team gold medallist Nick Skelton celebrates before the medal ceremony at London 2012 Olympic Games.

    Laura Kraut and Nick Skelton will be the headline items in a live auction at next month’s Just World Gala, an annual fundraiser for the official charity of the FEI, started by former grand prix rider, Jessica Newman.

    “I’ve done it before and people like my stories and what I’ve done over the years,” said Nick, who will attend the gala, which coincides with the Winter Equestrian Festival. “It’s good fun and it’s for a great cause.” Both Laura and Nick are ambassadors of the charity – Nick’s involvement started after his team gold medal win at the London Olympics.

    “He came over here on his bicycle and said I want to help you guys raise funds,” said Jessica, whose charity now helps 10,000 children worldwide.

    Find out more about this great cause

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