Reversing decline in rider numbers tops the bill at BETA Conference

Rider participation is the theme of the 2015 BETA Conference, at Whittlebury Hall Hotel & Spa, near Towcester, Northamptonshire, on Monday 2 November.

Delegates will hear a series of thought-provoking presentations under the title “Participation – Is the future of the equestrian trade at risk?”. Industry speakers will include Anna Hall, the British Equestrian Federation’s head of participation, who brings a governing body’s view on how to increase rider numbers, and ex-marine commando Jay Hare, now operations manager of HorseBack UK, revealing how the charity works with horses to empower service personnel and veterans suffering from life-changing injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Equine coach Kay Scott-Jarvis, owner of Rockstar Equitation Centre, will base her presentation on years of teaching experience to bring a riding school’s perspective, while Unicorn Trails holiday provider Wendy Hofstee explores a different route to riding and Anna Franklin, the Thomas Irving Equestrian Superstore’s assistant manager, speaks candidly on how one of the UK’s largest independent retailers has done its bit to generate new riders.

BETA executive director Claire Williams, who will provide a statistical overview for delegates, said: “The 2015 National Equestrian Survey revealed a drop in rider numbers - a downward trend that has also been noted by Sport England, which has found a significant decline in new and regular riders.
“We experienced a similar situation in the late 1990s and BETA responded with the National Riding Festival, a countrywide initiative designed to encourage people to take up horse riding. To a certain extent, it succeeded, reining in the decline to see numbers increasing in the early 2000s.

“The livelihood of the equestrian trade is reliant upon riders and their support, so we really need to do something to put the brakes on these falling figures. The BETA Conference is a great place to start, as it will help us as an industry to focus on ways in which we can reverse the trend.”

The conference is open to BETA members at a cost of £45 plus VAT and non-members for £75 plus VAT, although the AGM, which is held earlier in the day, is exclusively for BETA members.
For further information about attending the conference and AGM, or to book your place, please contact Laura Clegg in the BETA office, download the booking form here,  telephone 01937 587062 or email

Contact: Deborah Hayward, BETA Press Officer
Telephone: 01937 582111/01765 635314