British Horse Industry Confederation

For the first time the horse industry in Britain has formed a joint body to speak to government with one voice.

The British Horse Industry Confederation, launched today (March 3, 1999) brings together racing and the other horse sports and recreational activities. It will complement the direct discussions with Government and others in which organizations will continue to engage.

Lord Donoughue, Parliamentary Secretary (House of Lords) at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, has played a key role in encouraging and facilitating the creation of the Confederation.

Donoughue said, “I welcome the launch of the new British Horse Industry Confederation and congratulate the members who have worked so hard to create it. The new Confederation crucially provides a single voice for this major British industry, which is such an important part of our rural society and national economy.

“In the past it has been disadvantaged by the lack of such a single voice on the big issues of common concern to it. This new unity will be of great help to all concerned with the development of a prosperous horse industry, as well as to government when responding to it.”

Michael Clayton, who will chair the Confederation for the first year, said, “At last the horse industry has a powerful and representative group which can speak to government from a position of very considerable strength.

“All equine sectors have an immense amount in common, but we need better recognition of the real needs of the horse industry. Britain has a hugely valuable population of some 900,000 horses and ponies, yet the equine world does not have a government department responsible for the development of the horse industry.

“The dimensions of the horse industry in Britain have not always been properly appreciated in the past because we have approached governments in a fragmented fashion.

“Some 2.4 million people in Britain ride, the value of the industry has been estimated at £2.5 billion .

“We hope the Confederation will assist in securing tangible Government co-operation and support in a number of important areas and encourage government to establish responsibility for protecting, developing and promoting the horse industry.”

Among the issues which the Confederation will be discussing with government are as follows:

  • The financial and taxation status of the horse in Britain compared with international competitors, especially those European partners where favorable tax conditions for horse breeding exist.
  • Fragmentation of breeding effort in producing competition horses.
  • Boosting Britain's opportunities to win more medals in world class horse sports through improved training facilities for our riders - including grant income for the establishment of centers of excellence.
  • Greater government recognition of the vital role of British riding schools.
  • Welfare issues in all horse sports and recreational riding - including the use of medication under new Euro regulations.
  • Road Safety issues for horses, ponies, riders and drivers on Britain's increasingly busy roads.
  • Greater access to off-road riding facilities on bridleways and rights of way.
  • Standardization of good practice in the industry.
  • More encouragement for British equine exports - including the establishment of trade missions.

In addition to making representations to government, the Confederation will provide for government departments a recognized point of contact on matters affecting the horse industry.

Members of the Confederation, and their representatives for an initial term of three years, are as follows:

  • The British Equestrian Federation - Dawson Buck and Michael Clayton
  • The British Horseracing Board - Tristram Ricketts
  • The Thoroughbred Breeders' Association - Gavin Pritchard-Gordon
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