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New horse channel passes the Sky test

FORMER H&H Editor Arnold Garvey is to be editorial executive of Horse and Country TV (HCTV), a new digital channel dedicated to equestrianism and the countryside. HCTV will be launched on 2 July at the Royal Show, depending on football's World Cup schedule.

Sky TV has approved a business plan: offices will be rented at Stoneleigh and the first 400,000 has already been raised.

Backers include Newmarket Racecourses' chairman Rick Hambro, who will act as executive chairman, Alan Fosler of Conkwell Grange Stud and the BSJA. British Dressage and British Eventing are expected to help with the second-round funding of 2.5million.

Advisors and presenters signed up include Ginny Elliot, Nick Skelton, Richard Davison, Guy Williams and Robin Page.

HCTV has a slot in Sky's schedule for a channel number, which will not be announced until a few weeks before the launch. The aim is to provide 24hr coverage of competitions, news, training, veterinary and horse care, plus countryside and farming issues.

HCTV's founder Nick Ludlow, of Prime Television, had his interest sparked when watching his niece, Holly Broad, win a junior class at Hickstead. "I couldn't believe there were all these magazines devoted to horses, but very little on TV," said Ludlow.

Garvey said numerous people had tried to launch a horse channel but failed "because the economics did not stand up".

"We believe a judicious mix [of horses with countryside] will provide a base to make HCTV a success," he said. "We aim to provide a platform for serious debate."

Source:  Horse & Hound Magazine 26 January 2006

Further information from www.horseandcountry.tv


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