Industry sector: Leisure

Pony trekking: The trekking centre

Your trekking centre premises will need to include:

  • stabling. Stables should be well constructed, lit and ventilated. British Horse Society (BHS) standards specify a minimum size of 10ft x 10ft for ponies and 12ft x 12ft for horses
  • dry and secure storage for feed, hay and straw. Think about how you will keep rats and mice out of feed stores. You'll also need to make sure thieves don't steal hay and other feed - this has become more of a problem, particularly when there is a series of bad winters
  • rug, boot and hard hat storage room
  • a muck pile/storage area
  • a yard where horses can be washed down and groomed
  • toilet facilities for both staff and riders
  • grazing. The amount of land you will need will depend on whether it is to provide total grass keep or supplementary grazing. However, BHS guidelines specify between one and one and a half acres per horse for permanent grazing. It is important that field boundaries and gates are safe and secure. Good pasture management is essential
  • parking facilities

If you have enough space and resources you might consider providing a floodlight arena and/or an indoor school. This provides an opportunity for people to ride during the winter months when your income from trekking is likely to be low or non-existent.

You might also consider offering overnight accommodation - for example in a converted barn. If you have enough land you could consider offering camping facilities.

Think about becoming a BHS-approved trekking centre. You'll be regularly inspected by the BHS to make sure you meet high standards and then given an appropriate grading - Approved, Commended or Highly Commended. This reassures potential customers about the quality of the horse care you provide and the customer service you offer. You'll benefit from a listing on the BHS website and a link to your own site. The BHS is continuing to develop its approved centre scheme with the aim of securing UKAS accreditation by April 2018 so, when the new animal activities licensing regulations are introduced, BHS approval could mean you can get a lower risk score so you can be granted a longer licence at a lower annual cost.