BHS Scotland held a well-attended proprietors conference in October, which was opened by our chairman Dr Derek Knottenbelt making a plea for our industry to foster an innate respect for the horse and to do for our horses what we would do for ourselves.
The value of horses in every sense was examined as were the causes of the current glut of horses in the south.
“It is the job of organisations like the BHS to prevent suffering by education, and our Approved yards and our instructors are the best way we can do this,” said Dr Knottenbelt.
BHS Head of Participation Sarah Phillips re-emphasised the importance of high standards in BHS Approved yards running through the grading for excellence, robust assessment of riding lessons and a review of the where to train inspection.
Sarah went on to show how the BHS promotes riding as a sport and how the new BHS strategy puts a high emphasis on marketing its centres.
“The BHS will in turn support you every way we can - currently we are doing so on employment law, access to the countryside and in planning matters,” said Sarah
“A BHS centre is a supported centre.”
In the spirit of supporting our centres, the afternoon was dedicated to fund raising options, qualifications and how to keep your biggest asset - your riding school horse - happy.
Gillian McKnight from SRUC took our her crystal ball to look at the forthcoming SRDP, urging centres to register as holdings and prepare business plans in order to be ready to take forward any plans proprietors might be seeking funding for.
She also showed how SRUC and BHS Scotland have been working together to compile supportive Scottish based evidence for equestrian plans in drawing up the jointly funded Scoping study on the Scale and Impact of the Equine Industry in Scotland.
Jo Winfield FBHS finished proceedings off with a run through the BHS exams system, describing how these internationally-recognised, quality-assured and externally-verified industry qualifications, complimented by the UKCC, created the true professional that our risk sport requires.
Jo also gave an uplifting presentation on keeping the riding school horse - the mainstay of our industry – happy.
Overall this was a well-attended and inspiring event. Our thanks to all who attended and contributed.