Equestrian software platform raises tens of thousands to help riding schools during pandemic

  • A company that provides software for equestrian centres raised more than £38,000 to help struggling riding schools during the pandemic.

    EC Pro, which has 130,000 registered users and serves around 200 equestrian businesses, added a donate button to its platform during the height of the crisis.

    Many riding schools were left facing heartbreaking decisions about the future of their ponies when they had to fund their upkeep despite having no income.

    EC Pro said the money raised by people’s “enormous act of generosity” was able to keep some of the troubled businesses afloat.

    One of the benefactors, The Chestnut Stables in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, said the donations saved the riding school of 20 horses.

    Hayley Read, who is owner and head instructor at the stables she has run for 30 years, said: “I’ve never been so scared in all of my life. It makes me want to cry even now!

    “The donations are what we survived on and we wouldn’t be here now without it, we are so grateful.”

    Hayley had signed up to EC Pro, which acts as a lesson-booking platform as well as management software for staff and horses, just before the pandemic hit, so was able to benefit from the support.

    Francesca Baring of Northington Stables also benefited.

    “During the first lockdown, things were so bad that we did have to sell a couple of our riding school ponies to bring in much-needed funds. We worried that we might never be able to open the riding school again,” she said.

    When Government rules permitted the school to re-open, it was inundated with bookings.

    “When we reopened in March, our bookings went crazy. Our pony days were literally selling out in minutes,” she added.

    A spokesman for EC Pro said: “Unless you are fortunate enough to have access to a confidence-giving schoolmaster and an instructor, you will need to rely on the great British riding school. These establishments have been around for decades and are the gateway for many into grassroots horse riding.”

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