Elite riders may be the main focus for many in the build up to the London 2012 Olympic Games yet equestrianism at large is also able to benefit from the HOOF Ride London Olympic Legacy project of the BEF.
Responding to requests from members of the London Horse Network, the latest HOOF-supported day enabled delegates to attend a complimentary 'Health and Safety and Employment Law' interactive workshop on 28th February, with experts able to specifically utilize their experience of equestrianism.
Martine Dawlings, of Trent Park Equestrian Centre, the largest training and examinations centre in London said, "I was really impressed by the fact that HOOF had listened to what our needs were and had pitched the presentations at exactly the right level", adding, "I was also impressed by the speakers who were not only of a high calibre, but also were hands-on, practical and approachable people", concluding, "I learnt a lot and went back to the yard feeling much more confident and educated."
The day began with Ray Hipkin, a Chartered Safety Practitioner delivering an unexpectedly fun and factual talk discussing the sense - and nonsense - of 'Health and Safety', to enable centres to prioritise their Health and Safety policies in order to avoid 'banana skins' and costly practices.
After a welcome lunch break at the Hilton Olympia hotel, delegates returned to hear from Lucy Katan, Chief Executive of the British Grooms' Association - a recent addition to the British Equestrian Federation.
Lucy explained the role of the British Grooms Association, highlighting how it can help both grooms as a collective, and their employers. Courtesy of a grant received from the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, the British Grooms Association, has produced an 'Equine Employers Handbook', in conjunction with Morrish LLP Solicitors and delegates were able to submit their own questions and hear answers to some of the frequently asked questions from Nicole Seaman, Assistant Solicitor from Warner Goodman LLP and a keen rider and former yard staff member herself.
The meeting then developed to an enlightening workshop that demonstrated the potential disparity of opinion between employers and their employees when discussing their specific role.
Linda Hinds, Equestrian Centre Manager at Vauxhall City Farm generously offered to be questioned regarding 'best practice', and indeed she was able to report from having done a similar study with her own staff, and her interview offered an example at to how she handles employing staff; from advertising vacancies to interviewing and selecting staff, to maintaining motivation with targets, assessments and opportunities and how to deal with a real life disciplinary procedure to avoid pitfalls.
Concluding the day with some final questions from the floor, Volunteer Chair of the London Horse Network, Jodie Maile wrapped up the meeting and invited delegates to take a complimentary copy of the Equine Employers Handbook home with them for reference purposes.
Jodie then reminded delegates to sign up for the 'Business Essentials Workshop' to be run by GB Sport at Newham Riding School on 28th March 2011, and again to be heavily subsidized by HOOF, by sending their cheque for £15.00 to David Gadsby at the BEF
photos Janos Schmidt