Riding schools warn of looming crisis in horse welfare

  • Watch Caron Bell's report

Riding school owners say the current ban on riding lessons could leave them unable to afford their horses.

Under lockdown regulations, all amateur riding lessons are banned, leaving schools without a key source of income.

Riding lessons in Scotland are allowed to continue and some English riding school teachers argue they too should be allowed to teach in a socially-distanced way, especially as horse-riding itself is allowed as a form of exercise.

At the Talland School of Equitation near Cirencester, they are looking after their horses with the help of local authority grants and an extended bank loan - but a third lockdown has compounded the financial pressures.

We managed to get around things in lockdown one and lockdown two. But lockdown three financially, as it is for many businesses up and down the country, is really gutting.

Pammy Hutton, owner of the Talland School of Equitation

Keeping horses is an expensive business. Costs per horse vary, but after factoring in feed and bedding, bills from the farrier and vet, stable and equipment maintenance, and insurance, a rough average cost is around £100 a week each.

The British Horse Society has set up a hardship fund, and says around a third of riding school owners are concerned that the lockdown could leave them unable to properly care for their horses, especially given the time of year.

There's a big difference with this lockdown, in comparison to the first one; we're in the winter. There's not much grass in the fields. So much more in the way of bills.

Sarah Dale, Business Development Manager, British Horse Society

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