It is however impossible to find a system that suits everyone, so we would like to make the following points about it.
* Whilst online or electronic booking systems may seem the easy option, they are not. Currently over 80% of people who call to book private lessons when the diary opens need further information from Ali and this isn’t possible on an online system. An online system also can’t make adjustments at the speed Ali can 😊. Timing of private lessons and who can book them are dependent on loads of different factors – arena availability, coach availability, coach standard, rider requirement, horse work hours and whether a rider wants to do flat or jumping. A good example is if a member books a private lesson for Stage 3 ride training, it can only be done by Sally or Martin and can only be done on specific days with specific horses in the large arena. Once someone has booked that type of session, then that immediately means the back-to-back private lesson in the small arena becomes a beginner/novice lesson (as it’s the small arena). This ability to adjust and manage bookings allows the bookings to be rider led – on an electronic system we wouldn’t be able to make those adjustments immediately. Being able to adjust quickly means we can utilise all the spaces we have by adjusting lesson criteria at point of booking rather than leaving an empty slot.
*ARC primarily delivers group lessons – private lessons are and always have been designed to be supplementary so where possible we encourage riders to join group lessons. This means that private lessons are then available for those who need them as a “top up” for a specific activity, or for an assessment or if that rider needs a private lesson due to additional support requirements.
We have increased private lesson availability by having Liam do an additional Sunday afternoon each month and Kirsty Finnie doing a weekend session too. Whilst we understand members points that “if there is more demand, we should supply more” it’s not that simple with horses as they have a limited workload as do our staff so it isn’t like other business models where we can just provide more of the product.
Can we just remind members to let us know if they are going to be away on holiday as we are currently dealing with quite a lot of “no shows” for group lessons. Our cancellation policy is that if you cancel within 24 hours you will lose the lesson payment (or have one signed off your block booking card). We do use discretion on the cancellation fee and have kept it quite relaxed after lockdowns till everyone got settled into their routine, but we will be implementing them again from July. We know that nobody likes cancellation fees, but when we are working hard to get spaces for riders it is frustrating when we have ponies in and tacked up, staff ready and then a few no shows. Our Covid policy still applies in that if you have tested positive or have been told to self-isolate, if you let us know the cancellation fee won’t apply as we want to promote everyone being Covid responsible.
Just a reminder that we will be closed for lessons from Mon 12th. – Fri 16th July inclusive as we are replacing the indoor surface on those dates and need all arenas free for the machinery.