17 May 1996

New service targets those people who ride for fun

UK Riders is a new equestrian organisation set up to service what the operating company calls the "recreational rider".

By this it means those who ride or keep horses simply for the pleasure it gives them and who have no wish to make their mark in the equestrian world.

Discounts on goods and services and new opportunities for pleasure rides and competitions where the emphasis is on fun, is offered in return for the £20 subscription. This sum, says UK Riders managing director Sarah Sandland, is likely to be recouped at least two-and-a-half times over in the form of discounts for those who use the facilities or buy goods from enterprises listed in the UK Riders SourceBook. Associate enterprises already listed include leading feed manufacturers, tack and clothing suppliers, the Organisation of Horsebox & Trailer Owners, and 30 venues around the country. The International League for the Protection of Horses is also supporting UK Riders and will provide facilities for stable management courses. Vets, farriers, equestrian centres and cross-country courses are among the list of equestrian service suppliers eligible to become associates.

UK Rider membership is open to all but it is the urban-based rider who lacks safe places to ride who could benefit most. UK Riders target market is those who keep their horses in livery yards, have no affiliations with other equestrian organisations and are unlikely to subscribe to a horsey magazine, which is a large proportion of the 3.3m people who ride at least twice a month.

"We are not trying to complete with the British Horse Society," says Sarah who, like the other members of UK Riders staff, is a former BHS employee. The idea is to produce a user-friendly operation with opportunities for riders to have fun with their horses without the continual pressure to improve and without bureaucracy and regulations.

Ann Rogers

Robin Kelton, who is investing £0.5m in UK Riders, and managing director Sarah Sandland with riders at Mr Keltons home in Longparish, Wiltshire.