A money-saving scheme to help horse owners tackle increasing fuel costs has been launched by an equestrian breakdown company.

Equestrian Support Services (ESS), which provides emergency roadside assistance for horse owners, whether in cars, trailers or lorries, has issued a price-cutting fuel card that will save users 2p per litre on the national average fuel price.

ESS managing director Nicholas Hamilton told H&H: “When fuel went over £1 per litre it was utterly outrageous and I felt that I had to do something. Horse owners — particularly competitors — are being hit hard.

“At the very least, members should save the cost of their ESS membership fee [around £140] by using the card, but if their mileage is greater than the average member — approximately 15,000 miles in a car and 7,500 miles in a horsebox — they will save even more.”

Since the fuel card scheme started at the beginning of March, Mr Hamilton says the response has been “even greater than anticipated”.

The card is administered by Abbey Fuelcards, which provides reduced priced petrol for businesses. It works like a credit card. Customers pay nothing when they fill up, but receive a fortnightly invoice for fuel — at a price set weekly at 2p per litre below the national average. Up-to-date prices are published on the ESS website.

Sarah Mason from Abbey Fuelcards said nearly 200 ESS members have signed up.

“ESS is the only equestrian company we work with and has an exclusive two-year contract,” she said.

Petrol stations including Shell, Texaco and Morrisons accept the card, and a map showing participating stations is available on the website.

The fuel cards are free to ESS members, but non-horsey drivers can join the scheme too, for £25 per year.

Mr Hamilton added: “We wanted to broaden the scope to enable as many people as possible to save money on fuel.”

For more information visit www.equestriansupport.co.uk or tel: 01300 348997.