- Riding school private lessons mark the start of Stage 4 of our “covid policy” and by that point we will already have run two fairly detailed test stages with livery lessons to ensure our protocols are robust and keep everyone as safe as possible.
- We have additional PPE for First Aid provision – should our staff need to provide First Aid at any point to a visitor or rider, there are face shields and aprons as additional equipment for our staff if required – these are all available in the First Aid kits or beside them.
So, what does lie ahead for a riding school and small business during and after Corona Virus? Well in short…… who knows…….
Sally’s job is to try to steer the club through this crisis and change our work practices to future proof our club. So, what does she think about it all and what the future will bring? Seth asked her directly:
“There is no doubt that this has made us (as with all small businesses) look at our working practices and how to adapt them. Keeping horses is hard through a crisis like this as whilst other businesses can reduce costs, it is practically impossible to do in our line of work as the horses keep eating and pooping J My view has always been that we needed to deal with the immediate crisis by making decisions quickly and keeping our members engaged and informed. However, we also needed to be planning ahead and we did this by buying the remote training software we’ve been using during this and by writing a fairly comprehensive Covid policy. My thoughts were that we should always follow
government advice but that we should also have our own internal test and record system to ensure we were happy with our protocols and that they were robust before opening the riding school. We reached that stage on Sunday 24th May, so we are now ready to open on 1st June to riding school members.
Moving forwards, I would anticipate that we will offer private lessons only for the majority of June, then will look to go back to group lessons, possibly of a limited number of participants.
This brings up an interesting question – would riders prefer a limit on numbers in a group (say 5) and pay a higher fee for their lesson or do they prefer a cheaper lesson with more riders? Obviously, we have to achieve a certain amount of sales to remain financially viable, but we can be fairly flexible with lesson numbers as long as riders can be flexible with price. We will be doing quite a lot of research with our riding school members over the next few weeks and setting up a survey monkey site to gather opinions on that one.
The theory behind my detailed Covid plan and staged release from lock down at ARC is that I need to future proof the club for a “second wave”. We all hope this doesn’t occur, but there may be a couple of periods over the next 12 months where the government has to enforce slightly more restrictions again. Our hope is in that taking a bit longer to roll out detailed protocols, we will be robust against this and be able to provide riding throughout. We are hugely lucky in that the new build at ARC allows for easy social distancing and us coaches have no issue bellowing from one end of the shed to the other – talking slightly louder will become the new normal anyway as we get used to all standing 2 metres apart.
Running a riding school through this has undoubtedly been the hardest challenge of my career, but I like a challenge “