Divoky Riding School based in Somerset was judged the winner in the Best Rural Sporting Business category, with Radway Riding School based in Warwickshire crowned runner-up.
Pat Bishop from Divoky Riding School was presented with the prestigious award at a glittering awards ceremony held at Denbies Wine Estate, Surrey that was compered by Jules Hudson of BBC Escape to the Country fame.
The only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses, the awards are now in their third year and are run in partnership with the Country Land and Business Association and Amazon.
Judges felt Divoky was an inspired business with ‘excellent social credentials’ which successfully combined teaching with grazing and conservation.
Divoky Riding School is a BHS Approved riding school on the Mendip Hills between Frome and Shepton Mallet, providing riding opportunities for all, including disabled riders. It offers BHS qualifications plus training to children who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training), or partially excluded from school, in equine studies or land management. The school also works with the National Trust as graziers on the Large Blue Butterfly site at Collards hill, using riding school ponies.
Pat Bishop from Divoky Riding School said:
“Since I started Divoky Riding School in 1999 we have steadily grown our team and our facilities to become a really successful business. With outstanding coaches, our students get the very best training and our location in the Somerset countryside is ideal.
“For our work to be highlighted at the Rural Business Awards is a wonderful achievement and I’m delighted to have picked up the award on behalf of our team.”
Radway Riding School were thrilled to be announced runner-up in the same category, with the judges commenting on their fantastic stability and financial growth, as well as making a massive contribution to engaging young people and providing opportunities to introduce them to the equestrian sector, both riding and working.
Maggie Boswell from Radway Riding School said:
“The competition for this year’s Best Rural Sporting Business was really tough and we’re really happy to be taking home the runner-up prize. It has been great being involved in this year’s Rural Business Awards programme and maybe next year we’ll be back and go one better to take home the top prize!”
Riding for the Disabled Association, in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation’s participation programme, launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with commercial riding centres with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.
Accessibility Mark status is awarded to a riding centre that has been approved by RDA following training and assessment. The close link with the RDA means that it can offer continuous support to the establishment to ensure it provides a first-class experience that aims to be hugely beneficial.
There are currently 38 Accessibility Mark approved centres across the country.
To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit www.rda.org.uk