The Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) is broadening its membership to livery yards to reflect the changing market for riding schools.

The new livery yard approval scheme was launched on 1 April with livery yards offered a discounted membership of £150 if they join by 31 September (afterwards it is £227).

The first two livery yards are expected to be approved by the end of this month once the inspections have been completed.

“The riding school world has changed with some converting straight to livery yards and others changing their split of livery yard and riding school,” ABRS chairman, Julian Marczak told H&H.

The British Horse Society (BHS) has been running an approved livery yard scheme for over 50 years. The scheme has 290 stand alone livery yard members and 500 riding schools have approved livery yard status.

The yards in the BHS scheme are graded approved, commended and highly commended.

But unlike the BHS approved livery yard scheme the ABRS does not use a grading system.

“We have debated a grading system but steered away because we didn’t want to create a tier system,” said Mr Marczak.

The ABRS livery yard approval scheme will be run on similar lines to the charity’s riding school scheme.

“Our priorities with the livery yard scheme are safety, safe facilities, safe practices and horse welfare,” Mr Marczak added.

He said ABRS is looking for yards with “clean, presentable and workable facilities”.

He added that the new livery yard scheme will “give quality assurance” to the public when choosing livery yards as well as a riding school.

“It’s a clear indication that the yard concerned has been inspected and is working at a safe, professional and acceptable level,” said Mr Marczak.

Livery yard owners who join will be kept updated with ABRS news and information.

Founded in 1954, the ABRS currently has 320 members. The new livery members will be able to display the charity’s approval plaque on their premises. They will also be listed on the ABRS website and in any literature as one of the approved centres.