Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the general aim and purpose of the MBBA?
2. What sorts of events are held during the year?
3. How are you funded and how important is fund-raising?
4. How popular is horse-riding in the mid-Somerset area?
5. Who can join – do you have to be a horse-rider to be a member?
6. If people want to join who should they contact?

1. What is the general aim and purpose of the MBBA?
MBBA’s principal purpose is to increase the number of safe, off-road routes available to horse-riders, carriage-drivers and cyclists across Mendip. In addition to providing a range of membership services the MBBA’s constitution sets out its corporate objects as being:

a. To protect and preserve the character and status of Mendip’s green ways for the safe use and enjoyment of the widest number of supported users.

b. To advertise the existence of the tracks, droves and other ridden paths and to seek to develop them into linking and circular routes for horse-riders, cyclists and carriage-drivers.

c. To promote horse-riding, cycling and carriage-driving as safe and healthy leisure activities for all ages and backgrounds.

2. What sorts of events are held during the year?
The MBBA’s annual programme typically includes:

a. Three major organised rides open to all comers but with discounted fees for MBBA members. In 2011 the rides attracted entries from former Avon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire and Wiltshire in addition to Somerset and average numbers exceeded 160. By kind permission of Mr Michael Eavis CBE the successful September ride and carriage drive took place over the Glastonbury Festival site.

b. Two or three expert demonstrations of riding techniques (such as natural horsemanship, side-saddle, showing, jumping and dressage) and horse-care developments.

c. Two or three guided visits to places of equine interest, such as the Paul Nicholls racing yard at Ditcheat and Horseworld at Bristol. 

d. A specialist veterinary presentation on a topical problem such as Strangles or Equine Ulcers.

e. Fun events such as equine jumble sales, quiz nights, brains trusts and soup lunches.

3. How are you funded and how important is fund-raising?:

a. The MBBA is run by a committee of ten volunteers and there are no paid officers. Members contribute however and wherever they can; for example, in 2011 eleven MBBA members served as stewards during the Glastonbury Festival and donated their earnings to the MBBA.

b. Event entry fees provided the largest source of funding in 2011 (about 57% of total income) with member subscriptions as the second largest (25%).

c. The balance of MBBA’s funds is made up from advertising for the quarterly newsletter, raffles, map-marking and the sale of branded merchandise.

d. Because it is not a registered charity the MBBA has not yet applied for grant aid from county, national or European funding bodies, although this position is presently under review.

e. Fund-raising is vital to the MBBA because contractors need to be regularly employed to re-open and maintain some of Mendip’s ‘lost ways’ where the work is beyond a volunteer clearance party. MBBA has a strong working relationship with Mendip District Council on a number of projects and is very grateful for the collaboration, however, the Council does not have a maintenance liability for all of the old routes and so improvements are carried out wherever the MBBA budget will stretch. MBBA also pays the costs of supporting relevant public inquiries into the opening of some of Mendip’s ridden paths. This process alone can run into several thousands of pounds but tends to take place over a period of years.

4. How popular is horse-riding in the mid-Somerset area?
Horse-riding as a hobby and sport is increasing in popularity across the country in leaps and bounds. Because Somerset is blessed with plenty of pasture and wonderful countryside the numbers of horse-riders and horses are constantly increasing and the ‘horse industry’ is one of the fastest growing land-based activities in the country today. Healthy outdoor pursuits that develop a sense of care and responsibility while making friends and having fun must be at the top of anyone’s agenda. Working with and riding horses is recognised as being particularly therapeutic and forms an important part of helping the disabled, the disadvantaged and, increasingly, the disaffected. It is an activity that can include all the family. Keeping a horse requires commitment and so horse owners are usually hard working, good humoured and pragmatic!

5. Who can join – do you have to be a horse-rider to be a member?
MBBA welcomes anyone who supports its corporate objects. Because it caters for horse-riders, cyclists and carriage-drivers its membership broadly falls into these three categories, albeit with horse-riders easily dominating. The MBBA offers a family membership option whereby family members living at the same address can join for a reduced fee. As a consequence there are some members who may not be current riders but who are supporting active family members, enjoy our events and offer to help wherever needed. MBBA works positively towards maintaining a friendly and enjoyable association that cares about its members and values their support.

6. If people want to join who should they contact?
Membership application forms are made available at all MBBA events and can be downloaded from the MBBA website (http://www.mbba.org.uk). Most Mendip tack and feed shops also display membership forms together with the Programme of Events for the coming months. Hard copy can also be obtained direct from the MBBA committee by contacting:

a. Chairman Jo Rossiter.  (jrossiter@mbba.org.uk)

b. Secretary (gjones@mbba.org.uk).

d. MBBA, PO Box 3573, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 4XN.