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Overview of Equine facilities in Australia

Question:

Discuss about the Management Australian Riding School.

In the last few decades, the preference of people for enjoyment purpose has changed significantly. With the increased money at their disposal, they are engaging in the expensive activities that reflect their status and way of living. Due to this, the equine industry in Australia has gained popularity, irrespective of the nature of the business that is thoroughbred business, equine facilities, racing business or others (Buchmann, 2017).

The equine facilities allow people to engage in the horseback riding, grooming, therapeutic sessions based on equine to the people in need, and training the horses (García-Gómez et al., 2014). On the basis of their usage, the equine facilities are also referred as stables, riding halls, boarding stable or livery stable. However, managing the equine facilities is often very difficult and requires efforts of a team.

It requires proper planning, organizing, leading, and controlling on the part of the owners so that it can be run without any disruptions. As a part of the open system, the success of an equine facility is also affected by the environment in which it operates, whether it is internal environment or external environment. In this context, the following report aims at discussing the equine industry of Australia.

An example of an equine facility is taken to highlight its management and working along with the ways in which it is planned, organized, led and controlled. It also focuses on identifying the external environmental forces and contemporary management challenges that are faced by the horse riding schools while carrying out its operations.

XYZ Equestrian Centre will be located in the city of Brisbane and will offer the facility of horse riding lessons to the people of Australia. The school will focus on developing fun and entertaining riding lessons along with considering safety as its top priority. It will have a set of experienced coaches who will be qualified and well trained for teaching the horseback riding. The school will also consider relationship with the horses important and will ensure that the horses receive utmost love and care.

The riding school will offer its clients the horse riding lessons at over seven acres of land inside suburbia. The school is intended to extend its services in three categories, namely- private lessons for kids, for adults and group lessons which include both adults and kids. In addition to this, the school will also offer the facilities for jump club where it will teach horse jumping skills to clients of all age group. It is also planned that the school will even organize pony parties for the kids along with extending gift vouchers to encourage people to learn horse riding.

The management of a horse riding school is critical and requires team efforts. Before opening an equine facility, it is necessary that all the necessary approvals are taken so that the facility can be opened (Thompson, McGreevy & McManus, 2015). The entire management of the facility is divided into four steps which is discussed as under:

  • Planning- Planning is a function of management that is concerned with the establishment of objectives for an enterprise and development of plans that are necessary for the accomplishment of such objectives. There are two types of planning that are carried out while carrying out a business. The initial planning for this business was in the form of obtaining approvals, such as land and resources use approvals, the creation of stables as per the government requirements, and safety compliances.

XYZ Equestrian Centre

In addition to this, the planning also requires deciding the number of instructors, their hiring, horse safety procedures, and horse event management assistance. The second form of planning comes into existence when the riding school starts its operations. The principle of planning that individual and short-term decisions of a business should contribute to the success of long-term goals is implemented in this phase (Al-Tarawneh, 2012). The managers will prepare monthly budgets and take day to day decisions to ensure that the facility run smoothly.

  • Organizing- Organising may be defined as the process through which work is divided and assigned to the group of people. It aims at determining the activities that are to be performed, the formation of departments, job positions that are required to perform those activities and establishing the relationships between these job roles and other parts of an enterprise (Combe, 2014). In the context of the riding school, the organizing function will perform the same function. The manager will decide the job roles and the duties that are to be performed by the individuals. It will include the division of work and the chain of command that will be followed by the school.


The manager will ensure that there are qualified coaches hired for providing riding lessons to the clients and understand to whom they have to report. A working relationship will be established among all the coaches so that there is a proper communication among them and everyone is aware of the classes that are to be held and who is going to assist and guide in such classes. The principle of accountability will ensure that the coaches are responsible for their clients and are accountable if there is a flaw in the completion of their duties.

  • Leading- leadership is critical to the success of an organization and this principle proves to be true in the case of XYZ horse riding school also. This is due to the reason that leaders are responsible for providing guidance and motivation to the team members so that they can give their maximum efforts for the betterment of the organization. In regard to the horse riding school, the leaders and the managers of the school ensure that the coaches and other staff members have a shared vision and all the activities that are carried out are towards the success of the school. The leaders will also allow the coaches to use their intellect and skills for managing their sessions so that they have ample opportunities for growth and development.
  • Controlling- Controlling may be defined as the process of measuring the actual performance and comparing it with the expected performance to find out the deviations. It is a useful tool for the managers to monitor the progress of a business and ensure accomplishment of objectives. From the case of the horse riding school, it is evident in the form of school’s success that the goal setting theory is applicable in the school to a great extent. The coaches are supposed to set an individual and specific target for themselves which motivate them to do better. This, in turn, is reflected in the form of performance of overall riding school (Locke & Latham, 2013).

In addition to this, the goals set by the managers for the rising school are also clear and challenging which provides an opportunity to the school members to prove themselves. The riding school will have a policy of taking a regular feedback from its team members to find out the progress towards the accomplishment of its goals. This information will help in identifying the loopholes in the initial phase and will allow the managers to take corrective steps at the earliest. The performance of the school will be measured against the benchmarks set up at the planning stage and against the budgets which are allotted for different activities.

This framework presents a combined picture of various types of leadership, organisational culture, situational elements (markets and dynamics) and organizational competencies. Competing values framework helps in aligning the operations of the organizations with the objectives of the organization by encouraging innovation and by controlling all the strategic factors that helped the development of the company (Values Based Management, 2016).

Source: https://www.themarsagency.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/lisa-2.png

This framework presents a conflicting view as it includes 4 quadrants which are collaborate, create, control and compete. Controlling and creating does go in hand in hand, especially in those organisations where innovation is the key. In case of this horse riding school, innovation and stability is the most important factor.  These 4 quadrant represent 4 different cultures that are people oriented culture, result oriented, the dynamic culture and process oriented. In order to ensure the growth of this horse riding school, the management should align all the cultures in such a way that it reduces the probability of conflict and facilitates growth.    

Every organization works in an open system which signifies that it is affected by the forces that are present in the external environment. The external environment of XYZ Horse Riding School can be examined in the light of PESTEL analysis which takes into consideration the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal forces.

Management of the Horse Riding School

The equine industry is a significant contributor to the growth of the Australian economy. Some segments of the industry operate all year round; however, there is a low level of cohesion present in the different sectors of the industry. There is also a lack of proper national governance of the equine industry on a whole. As few sectors of the industry do not operate for the whole year, there is a mixed success of the sectors in influencing the government (Thompson & Matthews, 2015; Visser& Van Wijk-Jansen, 2012).

In regard to the technological forces, it is observed that even though the industry has embraced the use of technology to a certain extent, the horse riding schools or the equine facilities have not incorporated the use of technology in its working. There are only a few schools who are using technology based software for managing their operations. However, the technical skills in the coaches and trainers are the prime requirement for the industry and are widely available.

The literature indicates that the recreational horse riding activities have a negative impact on the environment which has soon become the growing concern for the policy makers. This has also caused a bad influence on the society. It indicates that the horse riding activities causes an adverse impact on the vegetation, on its height and cover, degrading the existing trail networks, leads to change in the composition of plant species, soil degradation, and the introduction of weeds. These adverse impact has served to be a growing challenge for not only the equine industry but also for the environmentalists (Zasada et al., 2013).

The equine industry is highly regulated in Australia and the riding schools operating in the country are supposed to comply with various regulations. A separate safe work guide and code of practice guide is has been put up by the government especially for the institutes who are beginning to train others in horse riding. Along with these guides, other regulations are to be followed which includes OHS Acts present in each state related to the employment, workplace, building codes, employment legislation, animal welfare legislation, helmet standards, fair trading acts and others (Horse Safety Australia, n.d.).

The management challenges are rising in the context of the external forces. The competing uses and the urban growth has created pressures on the horse riding schools. With the urbanization, the demand for the open space has increased, which has created a challenge for the managers to retain their open spaces for schools and other horse-related activities (Newsome, Smith & Moore, 2008). The adverse impact on the environment and the other biodiversity issues have also raised concerns about the management.

The managers have to look for the alternative ways in which the impact on the environment can be minimized (Newsome, Moore & Dowling, 2012). Additionally, the infrastructure facilities and the tenure arrangements are also to be taken into consideration. In general, most of the equine facilities are either hired or leased, which makes them dependent on these tenure arrangements. It is essential for the managers to bring in the technological factors and innovative practices to deal with the challenges and remain competitive in the market (Quinn et al., 2015).

Conclusion

On the basis of the above discussion, it has been concluded that the equine industry plays an important role in the Australian economy. Some of the sectors operate throughout the year while some are seasonal in nature. The industry is facing management challenges where it is required that the horse riding school come up with the innovative practices to deal with the competition, tenure arrangements, and impact on the environment. The riding school will give due emphasis on planning, controlling, organizing and leading activities for effectively managing the activities.

For XYZ Horse Riding School, the following are the recommendations provided:

  • It is recommended that it adopts software for managing its day to day operations and keeping an electronic record for all its clients. This would help in reducing the time and efforts of the team members.
  • The riding school should modify and develop a shared vision with its team members regarding the use of sustainability practices while giving horse riding lessons so that the impact on the environment can be reduced to a minimum.

References

Al-Tarawneh, H. A. (2012). The main factors beyond decision making. Journal of Management Research, 4(1), 1-12.

Buchmann, A. (2017). Insights into domestic horse tourism: The case study of Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia. Current Issues in Tourism, 20(3), 261-277.

Combe, C. (2014). Introduction to Management. Oxford: OUP Oxford.

García-Gómez, A., Risco, M. L., Rubio, J. C., Guerrero, E., &García-Peña, I. M. (2014). Effects of a program of adapted therapeutic horse-riding in a group of autism spectrum disorder children. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 12(1), 107-128.

Horse Safety Australia. (n.d.). Regulations. Retrieved May 24, 2017, from https://www.horsesafetyaustralia.com.au/regulations/

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2013). New developments in goal setting and task performance. London: Routledge.

Newsome, D., Moore, S. A., & Dowling, R. K. (2012). Natural area tourism: Ecology, impacts and management. Channel View Publications.

Newsome, D., Smith, A., & Moore, S. A. (2008). Horse Riding in Protected Areas: A Critical Review and Implications for Research and Management. Current Issues in Tourism, 11(2), 144-166.

Quinn, R. E., Bright, D., Faerman, S. R., Thompson, M. P., & McGrath, M. R. (2015). Becoming a Master Manager: A Competing Values Approach. Wiley.

Thompson, K., & Matthews, C. (2015). Inroads into equestrian safety: Rider-reported factors contributing to horse-related accidents and near misses on Australian roads. Animals, 5(3), 592-609.

Thompson, K., McGreevy, P., & McManus, P. (2015). A critical review of horse-related risk: A research agenda for safer mounts, riders and equestrian cultures. Animals, 5(3), 561-575.

Value Based Management. (2016). Summary of Competing Values Framework. Retrieved June 01, 2017, from https://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/methods_quinn_competing_values_framework.html

Visser, E. K., & Van Wijk-Jansen, E. E. (2012). Diversity in horse enthusiasts with respect to horse welfare: An explorative study. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 7(5), 295-304.

Zasada, I., Berges, R., Hilgendorf, J., &Piorr, A. (2013). Horsekeeping and the peri-urban development in the Berlin Metropolitan Region. Journal of Land Use Science, 8(2), 199-214.

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