A new club for riding school riders is being launched to provide members with accident and public liability insurance in the latest attempt to battle rising insurance premiums. But the move has brought mixed reactions from riding schools and their clients.
The Equine Club is the brainchild of South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB), together with the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS). From its launch in September, any rider at an ABRS-approved school can join the Equine Club for £20 and secure full insurance.
Insurance hikes are the main reason so many riding schools continue to close, ABRS chairman Julian Marczak told H&H.
Membership is voluntary, and aside from insurance, other benefits offered include a club website, a directory of riding schools, instructors, and equine events. A discount scheme on clothing and kit is also planned.
Colin Baker of SEIB said: I had the idea a while ago and just needed to team up with an organisation like the ABRS to get the benefits.
Before its public launch in September, SEIB and the ABRS are holding road shows to introduce the club to the 450 ABRS-accredited schools over the summer.
But riding schools are in two minds about the club.
Stuart Beckett, of Eden Meadows Riding Centre in Attleborough, Norfolk, said he couldnt see his clients rushing to join.
We are a Pony Club centre so the children who ride here are all PC members, but I cant see the adults paying for the scheme they expect me to have adequate insurance, he reasoned.
In Northumberland, Andrea Simpson of Townfoot Farm Stables, said the club was a good idea in theory.
But I think riding schools would have to insist people joined, she said. I dont think riders would do it off their own back.
Laura Biddle of Green Cottage Riding Centre in Dorset told H&H the Equine Club was a great idea.
Aside from the insurance aspect, the ABRS is hoping the Equine Club will provide a more concrete figure on how many people use riding schools in the UK.