A lifelong dream… what’s it really like running a Riding School?

Fiona horses

Lorraine worked in finance. She’d always had a passion for horses and riding with a dream to open her own riding school but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Through ViewVo she was able to spend a day job shadowing an experienced Equestrian centre owner, so was able to ask all those questions she had and find out what it would be really like. This is her story:

‘I spent a day at Kingsmead Equestrian centre as I wanted to find out more about how you would actually run a riding school. I’m a keen rider and it’s always been in the back of my head that I could maybe make a business in it so I just wanted to find out more. We covered a lot of material; staffing, welfare of the horses (who are gorgeously chilled and friendly!) policy, licensing, financials, barriers, technical things- a huge amount of stuff. And I managed to get a hack in as well which was brilliant!

As a rider rather than an establishment owner the bit that I knew nothing about at all was the paperwork side – the licensing, the permits, the assessments – so it was really useful to go through that. That side wasn’t the most fun but the most necessary. Fiona gave me a couple of ideas and some really good tips about how to go about finding the right establishment and some of the pitfalls to look out for when launching the business. If you have an idea of something you want to do but aren’t sure how to go about it it’s a day very well spent.

What ViewVo offers is a really cool way to get behind the scenes, to see the bits that you would never get to see as a customer or as an outsider. I had the opportunity to spend the day at the stables and ask all the questions I had but wasn’t sure who to ask. I’ve had a great day and it’s been really helpful – I would highly recommend job shadowing and being able to meet a mentor.’

Mentor View

Fiona was the mentor who met with Lorraine – this is her story:

‘I mentored Lorraine who’s interested in developing her own riding centre and to give a feel for what it’s really like – the highs and the lows and the challenges of working with horses. Being a mentor has been really interesting, it gives you an opportunity to look at your own business and think about what you’re doing. It’s a good time to evaluate what you are doing well and to see how things are working and how you’ve grown. It’s a good chance to reflect back. It also gives you an opportunity to work with someone and makes you think and you learn from them as well. <br>

I’d highly recommend being a mentor – it gives you the opportunity to look at your own business development, and I think sometimes you don’t get the opportunity to say to yourself ‘we’re doing quite well here’, and some of the struggles we’ve had and how we’ve overcome those. As well as talking through some of those challenges gives you some insight and is really useful. It’s been a wonderful experience.’

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