The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and British Horse Society (BHS) are working together to increase the numbers of riders over 26 years old to secure funding from Sport England.

The new partnership follows a review by Sport England, which says national governing bodies must grow the numbers of people who take part in their sport to maintain grant funding.

This week Sport England announced it was withdrawing £2.8m of funding from 6 national governing bodies, all of which had seen the number of people who play their sport fall regularly.

Equestrianism had been identified as at risk of losing funding, but wasn’t included in the latest round of cuts.

During the review, Sport England praised the efforts of equestrian sport to motivate people back into riding through the Hoof project, and programmes such as Take Back the Reins, Accessibility Mark and the Hoof Business Networks.

Andrew Finding, chief executive of the BEF, said: “We are looking forward to working on a joint participation project with our colleagues at the British Horse Society to help us drive up the levels of participation of adult riders.

The BEF will be channelling a percentage of its investment to the BHS to develop plans to increase riding participation in the 26+ age group.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (10 April 2014)