The British Horse Industry Confederation is to join forces with DEFRA to commission detailed research into the horse world with the aim of developing a long-term strategy for the industry.

Rural affairs minister Alun Michael announced plans for the project at the recent National Equine Forum, saying: “We have appointed Graham Cory to head up a team which will work out where the horse industry wants to be in 10 years’ time and how the government can offer its support.”

He added that DEFRA had become aware that the equine world is made up of many small organisations and a priority would be to work out a way for these organisations to work in unity for the industry.

Principles of the research will be developing a coherent “map” of the industry, to assess the economic baseline and establish key aspects of the strategy. Michael also acknowledged the important role that the equestrian industry plays in the rural economy.

“The research project will quantify the economic importance of the horse industry, and we may find that we are able to apply some of the financial benefits enjoyed by other rural industries to equestrian enterprises,” explained Alun.

BEF chief executive Andrew Finding said: “The research should produce authoritative and quantifiable information on the economy of the industry asa whole, from racing to leisure riding, to ensure that we can take advantage of any benefits the government can offer us.”

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (10 April 2002), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.