Unicorn Saddlery expands and completes site renovation with £200,000 support from Lloyds Bank

A Somerset-based equestrian and riding wear business has completed the renovation of new larger premises and significantly increased its capacity, after securing a £200,000 funding package from Lloyds Bank.

Unicorn Saddlery, which bought the 1.5-acre site in Hatch Beauchamp, near Taunton in 2017 with support from Lloyds Bank, has now fully renovated the site after securing an additional six-figure loan.

Together with the remodelling of a 7,000 square foot retail shop, the renovation project has also included the build of a large storage area for feeds and bedding, the construction of an all-purpose riding arena and four stables, as well as parking facilities for 37 cars.

The investment has given the business a nearly three-fold uplift in retail space and has allowed it to significantly extend the range of saddles and other high-quality stable equipment, as well as yard and tack room accessories that it offers to customers. The firm has also launched a bespoke saddle fitting service on site, to provide the perfect fit for both horse and rider.

Established in 1993 by founder Philip Ireland, Unicorn Saddlery stocks some of the most prestigious names in saddlery including Fairfax, Bates, Albion and Ideal. The business currently employs eight people and expects to increase its headcount to support its recent expansion.

Philip Ireland, founder and director, Unicorn Saddlery, said: “The support we’ve received from Lloyds Bank has been truly transformative for our business. Its enabled us to expand and take on much needed additional retail space as well as widen our offering to customers to become a real ‘destination’ venue.

“We’ve already had some fantastic feedback on our new on-site saddle fitting service and have welcomed new customers from as far afield as Brighton and Pontypool. I’d previously have to go out to visit customers at their own yards, but they can now come to us, get fitted out and test the saddle in the arena. Not only does this make the whole experience much smoother and professional, but it’s also helped improve our efficiencies and profitability.”

Simon Davidson, relationship manager, Lloyds Bank, said: “More than 27milion people in Britain have an interest in the equestrian industry and there are 374,000 horse-owning households nationwide, so there’s considerable demand for specialist equine equipment firms like Unicorn Saddlery. It’s great to see that this latest round of investment and expansion is already having a hugely positive effect on the business and its future ambitions.

“We’re passionate about supporting businesses in the South West and will continue to champion independent firms like Unicorn Saddlery as part of our commitment to help Britain prosper.”