Eight of Britain’s top studs have been awarded British Breeding’s Breeders Quality Mark (BQM), as part of the organisation’s initiative to improve the quality of British-bred horses.

The BQM concept was unveiled earlier this year and the first awards were issued at New Priory Stud on 26 October 2004. The scheme has been put in place after a 30-month development period, in conjunction with 12 pilot studs.

The first studs to receive the new award are:

  • Cae Rhyd ar Wen in Carmarthenshire
  • Catherston Stud in Hampshire
  • Country Farm Stud in Lancashire
  • Meadow Stud in Gloucestershire
  • New Priory Stud in Wiltshire
  • Summerhill Stud in South Lanarkshire
  • Twemlows Hall Stud in Shropshire
  • West Kington Stud in Wiltshire

New Priory Stud Owner, Caroline O’Hara, says: “It has been a wonderful day for New Priory Stud and the others chosen to receive BQM certification. It’s an honour to be recognised by the assessors’ panel, who have worked hard to create a truly British award.”

The quality mark is designed to recognise the quality of the best British studs and encourage higher standards across the board. The voluntary scheme concentrates on the use of best practice methods and aims to give added confidence to those individuals using the stud’s services. The quality of breeding stock produced at the stud is not assessed under the scheme.

Studs applying for the award will complete a detailed self-assessment questionnaire, which will be returned to British Breeding. The stud will then be advised of any necessary changes that need to be made before an on-site assessment takes place. Once on-site, the assessor will randomly check records and facilities to ascertain whether the stud meets the required criteria.

Those studs achieving the required standards are then entitled to display the BEF Breeder’s Quality Mark on their stationery, in advertising material and as a wall plaque.

Graham Suggett, BEF consultant director of breeding says: “This launch of the BQM award is another milestone in the BEF strategy to improve the quality of British-bred horses. It ranks alongside the establishment of National Equine Database, development of stabilised evaluations for young horses and research into estimated breeding values.”

For more information on BEF initiatives to improve the quality of British-bred horses visit: www.bef.co.uk/britishbreeding.htm