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Riding Safely

What are the major challenges facing the horse industry?

The research concludes that current trends, especially the growth in the leisure economy, suggest the potential for real growth for the industry. However, some small businesses

and riding schools have fallen behind other leisure sectors and may decline even further.

Industry suffers from "constipated fragmentation"

The research observes that the industry is diverse,

with communication between the various parts

not always very effective. It is essential that

disagreement within the industry is overcome

and that those with an interest in the industry

begin to view it as a partnership. The principal

requirement for growth over the next ten years

is to develop the necessary infrastructure to build

and implement a successful strategy.

The report suggests five specific issues as key to the industry's growth. These will need to be considered as the industry, with Defras help, seeks to develop the strategy. The issues are:

  • the wider promotion of the British horse industry both nationally and internationally, including developing a marketing and communications programme and identifying a central body to lead it;
  • the promotion of British thoroughbreds and the development and promotion of a British sport horse, including improving the sport horse breeding sectors organisation and overseas marketing;
  • the development of joined up thinking and best practice in the promotion of leisure riding and sporting excellence, including linking the grass roots and the top tier and promoting riding schools as community assets;
  • the promotion of UK-based horse tourism, including providing a national framework for equestrian tourism and promoting best practice; and
  • the continued improvement of off-road riding opportunities, including uniting and strengthening the industrys efforts behind a lead organisation to promote its needs, publicising them nationally and locally, and working with other groups such as cyclists.

But there are other possibilities including: promoting the sport to a wider audience; improving the economic performance of equine businesses; and improving skills, training and standards, leading to better animal welfare, health and safety improvement, better job prospects and better tourism growth. It will be for the industry to decide on the key priorities.


Defra and the British Horse Industry Confederation
 
Joint research on the horse industry in Great Britain
 
Crown copyright 2004

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