Start of the end: school loss must spark major debate
Horse & Hound|November 25, 2021
A major riding school forced to close has highlighted concerns over future viability
ELEANOR JONES

THE owner of a major riding school forced to close after 40 years hopes the “difficult” decision will spark debate about the future viability of equestrian businesses.

Pennie Cornish had a waiting list at Greenacres Equestrian, Hertfordshire, which had taught generations, and been a Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) centre for decades.

But she told H&H the health and safety regulations, licensing requirements and “mountains” of paperwork, spiralling costs and recruitment issues have made the business unviable.

“I’ve had others saying, ‘You’re a big, well-respected school; what chance do we have?’” Pennie said. “Lots of people have been saying riding schools were their lives when they were kids, and we’ve always had the RDA; what happens to all those people now?”

Pennie cited one example of the bureaucracy schools face.

“We had 40 horses and ponies before Covid, and we’re supposed to get the weight tape on all of them weekly, record the measurements and send them to the council, to show we’re looking after them,” she said. “They want you to document every single thing; it’s time-consuming and pointless, most of it, because the people they should be looking at aren’t the ones being checked.”

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