Horse & Country TV has been shortlisted for “best specialist channel” at the Broadcast Digital Awards.

It is the second year running the channel has been shorlisted at the annual awards, run by Broadcast magazine to celebrate the best in digital television.

For the Best Specialist Channel category entrants are required to demonstrate innovation, creative programming and scheduling, as well as a clear appeal to the specialist audience.

The other channels shortlisted in the category are Food Network UK and the Horror Channel. The winner will be announced on 15 June.

Jonathan Rippon, Head of Programming at H&C TV said “Our mix of world-class sport, instructional “how to” formats, and behind the scenes lifestyle programming such as our “At Home with Carl Hester” series is resonating with Britain’s two million horse riders.

“It’s great to receive further recognition of this from our peers and to be in contention with channels run by one of the world’s largest media companies.”

In the same week as the shortlist announcement the Broadcasters Audience Research board released figures showing that during the first quarter of 2011 the channel secured more than one million viewers. This is 20.5% up from the last quarter of 2010.

And 257,000 viewers tuned in during Badminton Horse Trials (21-25 April).

“The BARB data and our nomination for Best Specialist Channel are great news for H&C and reflect the momentum we’re building as we develop a media property for a highly valuable audience that historically has been underserved by television,” said H&C TV chairman Heather Killen.