By Wiola Grabowska
Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy is a small enterprise. I like this term more than a “small business” as it makes me think about running a project, a collaboration, something bold and mission focused. A term business makes me think of making money. So enterprise it is.
When Mairi (who you might have “met” via her recent posts) and I sat down on one glorious Pancake Day in 2017 to make a plan for the re-vival of this blog, one of the series I had in mind was such where I would blog a bit more about trials and tribulations of acquiring (and later developing) an equestrian property on which to base the Academy. Kelly and I are currently working with Emma Hobbs of Equestrian Property Search in order to locate the right place.
However, the more I thought about it, the more doubts I had whether it is such a good idea to share all the little steps. I know I would love to read about it somewhere and learn from mistakes someone else had made but perhaps there is a reason nobody is writing about it! 😉
For now, I think this series will focus on resources or initiatives we found interesting and educational as well as on sharing tried and tested ideas that might be useful for coaches/trainers and others self-employed in the industry.
Here are a few reflections after the Equestrian Business Education Forum we attended on Monday 20th March.
I think the biggest benefit of these kind of events for small horse businesses is that it, firstly, makes you direct your focus on work that needs to be done “on” those businesses. It’s very easy to just think about teaching and riding (as a self-employed coach and/or rider) or looking after horses (as a livery manager) but there are many little things in between that need attention if the enterprise is to be sustainable.
Secondly, meeting others involved in running their own yards and organisations helping with that is a great networking opportunity. As a member of London Horse Network which was created in the lead up to London Olympics in 2012, I found the regular meetings very helpful.
The #HorseHour event had good few interesting speakers and a nice informal feel which encouraged some thought provoking conversations with an audience. The business structure and tax planning chat with the accountants from Butler & Co made me want to research various options for livery yards contracts of which I would not have thought of previously.
The Horse Scout website presented by Lucienne Elms intrigued me so that is definitely one to check out further: https://www.horsescout.com
All in all a good evening that was well worth attending and I would definitely recommend seeking out these kind of events if you are your own boss in a horsey world 🙂