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Employment Standards in the Equestrian Industry

Along with being big fans of HR, we at Lilac HR are also massive advocates for improving employment standards within the equestrian industry. Our CEO, Shona, has had her own experience of working in the industry and understands the struggles of both our equestrian employers and their teams.

Recent studies by the British Grooms Association (BGA) have highlighted the massive number of employed people who are not getting the rights afforded to them by law. Rights such as employment contracts, rest breaks and holidays. And this just doesn't sit right with us.

As equestrians, we tend to go above and beyond to ensure our horses' needs are met. So why is it any different for the employees caring for and working with those horses?

"Before I discovered HR, I was a trainee instructor at a riding school. I had a no contract of employment. I was expected to poo pick the fields on my lunch break and through the winter, we had no access to running water or a functioning loo. At the time I didn't question it. But if I could go back, knowing what I know now about employment law, I definitely would!" Shona, Lilac HR CEO

Shona also says: "We know that most people who work with horses are doing it for the passion they have for the sport and the animals. But that doesn't mean we get to exploit them and bypass giving them what they are entitled to because it doesn't suit us as employers. We need to change people's thinking about employment and the value of their employees to really make a difference."

The first step in making real change in this area is supporting employers to understand their responsibilities when it comes to their staff which is where Lilac HR comes in.

We are members of both the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) and the Equestrian Employers Association (EEA) in order to ensure that we are fully aligned with the EEA's Good Employment Strategy.

Our first priority with all our clients is ensuring they are legally compliant in their contractual documents as well as their operational practices. Once we are compliant, we then work with our clients on an ongoing basis to support them in managing their staff appropriately and consistently. Our understanding of the equestrian industry and the people working within it puts us in a unique position to be able to fully support any equestrian business.

Recently, we supported an equestrian centre through a performance management procedure. The process highlighted that there were some operational gaps which led us to do a complete review of their procedures to improve efficiency and transparency so the staff can spend less time in the office and more time working with the horses. It was the first time we've written a standard operating procedure for checking lameness in horses, but we do hope it won't be the last!

So if you run an equestrian centre or a yard and you're thinking that HR is just for the posh office folk in town...think again! Think Lilac HR.

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