The Welsh Equine Council (WEC) is gearing up to join the British Equestrian Federation (BEF).

The WEC’s newly appointed chairman, Ifor Lloyd, told H&H: “We want the horse industry to have a higher profile in Wales. It is time to galvanize and unify the 50 or so equine bodies in Wales.”

Mr Lloyd, from Cardiganshire, is a leading Welsh Cob breeder, show judge and former chairman of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society (WPCS).

The WEC is an umbrella organisation established three years on the request of the Welsh Assembly, which wanted to deal with one central equestrian body. It comprises such organisations as the Welsh Riding and Trekking Association, WPCS and Riding for the Disabled.

Past chairman Martyn Williams told H&H: “Before the WEC’s formation, the equestrian sector in Wales was fragmented and very complicated.”

With three years’ worth of accounts the organisation now fulfils the criteria for membership of the BEF, the equestrian governing body in the UK.

“Joining the BEF will have ramifications for our funding and political standing,” said Mr Williams, “and our bargaining strength and recognition with the Welsh Assembly will be much stronger.”

BEF chief executive Andrew Finding said he was unaware that the WEC was in the process of applying to join.
“We await to hear what they’re planning to do, but encourage the membership of the WEC to work together to seek to apply to join the BEF at a future date,” he said. “It’s important so we can work together with the Sports Council of Wales.”

Mr Lloyd added: “We plan to hold five meetings a year, so representatives from each of the bodies can exchange ideas. Every organisation is important and it’s up to them to submit ideas.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (31 May, ’07)