Top riders, equestrian businesses, the governing bodies of horse sport and a local tourism management organisation have joined forces to promote and expand the horse industry within Cheshire.

The initiative “Hoof Cheshire” aims to represent and grow the county’s equine businesses, and maximise future opportunities by facilitating networking opportunities.

Hoof Cheshire was launched at Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic and Country Fair (15-18 July) with the help of international event rider and local resident Oliver Townend (pictured).

The horse industry in Cheshire is estimated to generate about £200million, from the 40,000 horses that live in the county — one of the highest equine populations in the UK.

An annual calendar of equestrian events in the county from race meetings to leisure riding shows have been collated on Hoof Cheshire’s dedicated website.

The initiative is being co-ordinated through local tourism management organisation Visit Chester & Cheshire, and through business developers at the Enterprise Delivery Hub at Reaseneath College in Nantwich.

Hoof Cheshire equine coordinator Tracey Pearson said at the launch: “There is huge potential for future development” of the industry within the county.

Hoof Cheshire ambassador Oliver Townend added: “Cheshire has fantastic facilities and brilliant vets and farriers.

“Hoof Cheshire is helping to open everyone’s eyes about the potential within the county.”

Partners in the initiative include the British Equestrian Federation, British Showjumping, British Dressage, the RDA, Cheshire & Warrington Sports Parntership, Reaseheath College, Chester Racecourse, Bolesworth Show Jumping Classic and Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre.

• For more information visit www.hoofcheshire.com