An equestrian centre in Cumbria is pioneering two new marketing schemes in order to attract customers nationwide.

Bigland Hall Equestrian Centre in Backbarrow, run by Sheelagh and Mike Myers, is the first equestrian centre in the country to have set up a Tesco Clubcard Deal promotion, as well as an Equestrian Gift Card.

The Myers have only been at Bigland Hall for a year but say “it has developed quickly”.

Mrs Myers told H&H: “We wanted to look at different options for marketing. It certainly puts us on the map. We now have riders coming here from London, Dorset — even as far as Cornwall.”

Money spent in Tesco collects Clubcard points, which can then be redeemed on lessons and rides.

“We contacted Tesco when they started stocking equestrian products. They were astounded by the response so agreed to work with us,” said Mrs Myers. “We have about three or four people riding a week in conjunction with the Clubcard Deal already.”

A spokesman from Tesco said: “Horse riding is a very popular pastime and we are happy to be able to include this as a new activity in our Deals programme.”

The Equestrian Gift Card was also launched in December. People can use the card to budget for horse riding, and it can be topped up with money to be redeemed in lessons or rides.

Mrs Myers said: “It’s like a pre-pay top-up card for mobile phones — but for riding.”

Deals such as buy 10 lessons, get one free have added to the card’s appeal.

“I thought of the idea when I saw gift cards for clothing stores,” said Mrs Myers. “ I approached the managing director of GTP Gift Cards in Lancaster and we had 500 cards produced.”

Both schemes have been popular and the Myers hope to implement more innovative marketing ideas in the future.

Added Mrs Myers: “We’ve had some really positive feedback from riders.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (28 February, ’08)