Equestrian twin sisters Zara and Megan Emblin, 20, joined forces to form Croft Farm Trekking Centre in Fylingthorpe last summer. A year later, their decision has paid off. The duo, who have been riding horses since they were two years old, turned their lifelong passion into a trekking business that offers beautiful tours along the Yorkshire beachfront, moors, local bridleways and woodlands.
The demand for UK-based holidays means the twins have been busier than ever. They currently run groups up to five treks a day, six days a week. Visits also allow visitors to learn about basic equine care and maintenance. On their days off from treks, Zara and Megan welcome students on work placements at their centre and farm, offering those students a learning experience that had prepared the sisters for setting up their business. The entrepreneurs are on the Equine course at Askham Bryan College in Middlesbrough with Zara just completing her studies and Megan soon to start her second year.
Zara said, “I originally took A-Levels in Biology, Drama and Chemistry, but if I was going to progress that study to university level, I would have had to sell my horse to fund my expenses. That was a deal-breaker. I kept my horse, enrolled in the equine course at Askham Bryan College and in December 2019, decided to set up the business using savings. By August 2020, the business was up and running.”
Megan was looking for a more fulfilling experience whilst in her first year at university since her subject area of theatre and professional arts was challenging to engage with on a remote-learning basis. Additionally, despite being on the university equine team, pandemic restrictions meant she could only ride once a week from previously riding every day. She left university after her first year and joined Zara.
Soon after they launched the business in 2020, the second lockdown hit.
Zara adds, “We took that time as an opportunity to develop our facilities and cater to our horses’ needs and behaviours. From what we have been taught and learned along the way with our experience working with horses, we made necessary adjustments and upgrades to everything from stable design, animal nutrition and business strategy. It was an investment that has paid off professionally and personally. We’ve learned a lot and it has built our confidence as individuals.”
In addition to expanding their business and facilities, Zara and Megan's plans include pursuing undergraduate Equine degrees at University Centre Askham Bryan in September 2022 so they can further develop their business planning skills and direction.
Catherine Fairburn, Lecturer in Equine at Askham Bryan College, says, “Zara and Megan are two very motivated students who have used the knowledge and skills from their Equine course to set up a successful trekking business and also create the environment that ensures maximum health and welfare of their horses. Their industry-standard training by British Horse Society accredited instructors has been put to good use training their horses and when taking their clients on rides. Their customer relations have been developed through taking on leadership roles of Course Representatives and organising charity equestrian events. I have been lucky enough to be taken on a beach ride by Zara and Megan near Robin Hood's Bay and it was a truly magical experience.”
For more information about Croft Farm Trekking or to book, go to facebook page 'Croft Farm Trekking Centre'.