Rombalds Riding

Rombalds District Bridleways

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Horse Facts and Benefits

The Health Benefits of Riding and Keeping a Horse or Pony

Anyone who goes riding knows it’s got to be good for your health. The exercise, the fresh air and the beautiful countryside, just take your mind off everything else. People who own or loan a horse have to be committed to some quite serious regular exercise; whether it’s blowing a gale outside or there are snow drifts are 6 feet high.  

While the benefits may be generally accepted, these days it is important that they are quantified in order to that horses can be included in national and local policy making. For this reason the British Horse Society has commissioned this study into the The health benefits of riding in the UK for riders to use as a resource. The full version is available on their website.

Horse Riding – the Economic Argument  

The Average Annual Coast of Keeping a Horse

There have been 4 recent surveys estimating the total cost per annum of keeping a horse and the economic contribution it makes to the local economy. The figures vary from:

Equine World – £2,694 per annum

British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) – £3,312 per annum

British Horse Society (BHS) – £5,759 per annum

North Lancashire Bridleways Society (NLBS) – £8,288

These variations can be accounted for by the differences in the items included in the surveys (some include items such as the cost of transport and rider’s clothing while others do not). The NLBS Survey Report records all of the items and services provided by small local businesses that are required during the course of one year. It also gives a breakdown of the items included in each 4 of the surveys quoted above.

In order to try to count the number of horses belonging to responsible horse owners in the Airedale & Wharfeadle we contacted the 4 main equine veterinary practices. So far we have had replies from two of them, which has allowed us to estimate roughly how many horses may be kept here.

Aireworth Vets in Keighley came back to us with a figure of around 6,000 horses & the Dalehead Veterinary Group in Settle look after 1,400 horses. These figures from just 2 of the practices gives us an total of 7,400 horse and ponies in our area. Based on this number we estimate that the annual contribution that keeping  horses makes to our local economy varies between:

NLBS                             £8,288 X 7,400 = £61,331,200

BHS                              £5,759 X 7,400 = £42,616,600

BETA                            £3,312 X 7.400 = £24,508,800

EQUINE WORLD        £2,694 X 7,400 = £19,935,600 

Whatever the actual cost: and we think that the BHS estimate of £5,759 per annum which equates to £42,616,600 per annum is probably the most reliable; horse ownership is pumping millions of pounds into the local economy. It is providing employment opportunities for people with a variety of skills and supporting local businesses.

 Horse Riding and Gender

Again no totally accurate national statistics for this but from our personal experience alone we know that the majority of recreational riders are women and children, especially young girls.

The percentages from surveys shown below include competitive and professional riders, which comprise a much higher percentage of men than recreational riding. So the actual percentage of women taking part in recreational ridering is likely to be higher.

BETA 72%

NLBS 82%

The ‘Gender Duty’ which came into force in 2007 means that Council’s now have a duty to build equality into their policy delivery. This should mean that when new access is created ideally it should include everyone.

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