So admittedly we might be a little bit biased here, but we truly believe that Britain is the number one country in the world to live in if you’re horse mad. Here are just a few reasons why…
1. We moan about the weather, but unlike really hot or really cold countries, we’re able to ride all year round. So what if it’s raining? Don those waterproof chaps and get out there!
2. We hold the best equestrian events on the planet. The most prestigious CCI4* events are in the UK – Badminton and Burghley – as well as the Hickstead Derby, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Grand National, Horse Of The Year Show, Olympia… People flock to these events from all round the world, and we’ve got them on our doorstep!
3. Get a horse, and you’ve got an instant network of friends. There may be one million horse-owners in the UK, but at times it seems like we all know each other. Conversations often go something like this: “You know Sarah in Derby with the coloured horse with the wall eye?” “Oh yes, Sarah Matthews and Gypsy, I once bought a pony off her second-cousin-twice-removed.” There’s always someone to call if you’re panicking about your horse looking a bit off, or you’ve thrown a shoe five miles from home and need a lift back to the yard. The British horsey community is brilliant like that.
4. Nowhere does hunting like we do, with all its history and traditions (despite the Hunting Act). Little can beat the buzz of galloping through the beautiful British countryside on a crisp, bright autumn morning. Even if you don’t hunt yourself, turning out for a snifter of brandy at the Boxing Day Hunt has always been a highlight in the rural calendar.
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5. We have an international reputation for being animal lovers, and naturally, this extends to our horsey companions. OK, so non-Brits may view us as loons who sleep with our dogs (well, it gets cold at night and everyone needs a foot-warmer, right?) but what’s not to love about a nation of people who’ll sit up all night with a colicing horse, spend more money on their horse’s wardrobe than their own, and think nothing about deploying emergency services – including divers – to rescue a foal from a ditch?
6. It’s a really inclusive community – from Riding For The Disabled to The Pony Club, the biggest youth equestrian organisation in the world, British riders welcome, help and support anyone who wants to have a go at the sport. We get a lot of stick for riding being an elitist sport, but this couldn’t be further from the truth!
7. You can’t beat our hacking. We’ve got miles and miles of bridleways, tracks and open spaces just waiting to be explored on horseback. The Brecon Beacons offer 600 miles of hacking, North Yorkshire Moors has nearly 500 miles, the New Forest and South Downs have plenty of well-trodden routes for riders – to name but a few. You can canter through ancient woodland, gallop over moors or blast along beaches (having checked first that they’re horse-friendly, of course).
8. We breed some of the best horses and ponies in the world. Obviously a Germany or Dutch Warmblood is a beautiful beast, but us Brits have a special place in our hearts for our own unique woolly native breeds, from Dartmoors to Welshies. And of course that’s before we mention the beautiful thoroughbred, and where would the racing and eventing worlds be without them?
9. The Queen is a horse-lover, still hopping on her Highland ponies for a hack even though she’s in her 90s. That’s the spirit that runs through the veins of all British equestrians – riders ‘til we die!
Last updated: 13 August 2018