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British Showjumping (BS) and British Dressage (BD) have become shareholders in Horse & Country TV (H&C TV) Ltd, the operator of the HCTV channel, with a small minority stake.

Under the agreement, BD and BS will co-operate on broadcast coverage of their events.

The governing bodies of Britain’s three Olympic equestrian teams invested a total of £150,000 in the TV station when it was launched in 2006. British Eventing (BE) wrote off its £25,000 share the following year, while BS and BD stood to lose £100,000 and £25,000 respectively when H&C TV went into administration (news, 21 October).

BE was also consulted about becoming a shareholder in the reincarnated H&C TV, but is “keeping its options open”.

BE’s Mike Barnes said: “Broadcasting is really important, but as BE owns all the TV and footage rights, it’s vital we find the right partner to portray the sport in the most exciting way.”

H&C TV chairman Heather Killen would not confirm any new investment, but admitted “it’s fair to say the sums involved are symbolic”, implying that previous investment had been taken into account.

“BD now has the same percentage ownership that it had in the old company,” added BD’s Amanda Bond. “The new structure offered us a chance to come in as founding shareholders for a tiny nominal sum.”

Iain Graham of BS whose treasurer Tim Forrest is a director for H&C TV, said: “Broadcast media is critical in the promotion of our sport. There is clearly a demand.”

So how much sport will equestrian fans get to watch?

Ms Killen said H&C TV televises all World Cup dressage and showjumping and the Nations Cup. It also shows the British Masters, Burgham Horse Festival and BS/Scope Festival.

We want to cover as many events as possible,” said Ms Killen. “We also hope this relationship will enable us to bring more local UK events to TV. But our agenda will always be governed by commercial reality.”

H&C TV viewing figures have gone up 16% since January 2010.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (17 February, 2011)