A Riding School's real-life journey of starting with EC Pro

25 JAN 2024

In 2024, start something that your future self with thank you for.

A real-life journey of starting with EC Pro.

Kate Kirkpatrick, Proprietor of Stoke Lane Stables


When/where did you first find out about EC Pro?

I was attending the London International Horse Show in December 2021 with an entourage of my riders and we were searching Facebook for the shops that were in the shopping village when I first came across EC Pro .... I saw they had a competition going as part of the promo for the show. I shared the link to all my riders/parents. We attended the show and came across the stall - I did think it may be a good idea at this stage to get some information. But it wasn't until a week later that I discovered a parent had won the competition and consequently, my riding school had won £1,000 worth of prizes including an amazing two-bar rug drier and three amazing swish rugs. I got to meet some of the team and by this point I had already contacted Jamie for a demo.


What were your views on your initial demo?

The demo was informative from the onset, and I felt very at ease as Jamie made me feel very welcome. One of my concerns was I am a very new, small riding school in relation to others locally and to some of the larger equestrian centres that I know EC Pro are associated with. Jamie immediately said EC Pro catered for all sizes of establishment. He navigated through the system and gave me the opportunity to ask questions along the way. The session was also recorded, and I did use this facility when I went back to it later that evening when discussing the options with my husband. I felt like the system catered not only to the needs of my customers but also massively for the welfare of the horses (records etc) which is essential for my licensing again, saving on massive amounts of paperwork. Jamie also mentioned about transferring my previous website onto the EC Pro site for no additional fee, saving me even more costs a month. I have subsequently done this, and Julianna has been amazing! She has made a new logo for me that adds to the professional look as well as showing me how to navigate my new website which has helped hugely.


How was the set-up process?

This time I dealt with Ross who also navigated the system well. These sessions were a lot shorter and the third one was a bit overwhelming, especially when dealing with the money/payment side of things which was the one thing I was worrying about. However, this was an incredibly simple process which is why it didn't need such a long time spent on it!


Once live, how did your customers react to the change in the way they now booked?

Overwhelmingly, the feeling of professionalism prevailed. I/They really like the poster that I sent out about registering. The whole look and feel of the system were new so naturally there was some resistance. However, the general user-friendliness of the system won them over. They like the fact that they don't have to contact me directly and can also book far in advance if they would like to. The use of notes when booking also helps me if there are any issues. I had resistance from some customers that don't pay for whatever reason, but this was sorted within one email where I was guided as to how to set up discount profiles. No one minds the additional booking fee as they feel the convenience of booking whenever they want is worth it. Also, adding extras such as hat hire which I never used to do, all adds up. 


Did you have any teething problems you needed to overcome?

Clients have had difficulty in understanding they need to check out their basket and as such there have been a few three-quarter transactions. I have overcome these from the support team who have guided me on what to do in certain scenarios. The ability to 'become a user' has revolutionised customer-related issues as I can see what they see! I also had a few issues setting up my calendar as I do not use conventional lesson timings at my school (we have stable management and riding lessons in two-hour sessions) but all it took was a phone call to the support team where they literally changed a whole years' worth of template in a click! 


What was the first main benefit you noticed with the system?

Getting bookings and money in fast! This has meant organisation has been so much easier. The assigning of horses has been a welcome weight off my mind but there is also the assurance that I can override it if necessary. The emailed tack reports have been amazing to use on my phone at the yard and write up on my whiteboard who is riding who and at what time... the app is so useful to my instructors in finding their rides' details, who they have and when, and the ability to record incidents during their sessions. There has even been one moment when a parent has already received notice and acknowledged a fall when they come to pick up their child. This saves so much paperwork. Being able to assign how much work the horses are doing has been useful to know.


How has the cancellation policy and only refunding in system credit affected your revenue?

This was something I never really thought about prior to getting the system but was highlighted to me in the demo. This has saved me an enormous amount of money. 


How has your experience with customer service been?

The support has been outstanding, with some replies to emails immediately, even on a Sunday or late evening. Also, the phone is answered until quite late into the evening. The guys there get into my system immediately and can find and solve the problem whilst talking to you! The website integration and new logo as added extras at no cost has been invaluable. 


Do you have a review of the system so far you would like to share?

This is a dynamic and fully supportive system that has revolutionised the organisation of my small riding school.  Overall, the system gives an air of professionalism both aesthetically and integrally which has humbled me as a proprietor and someone that is new to all of this.


Interested in our Equestrian Centre management and booking system,
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