Increased business for equestrian industry following Olympics

  • London 2012 and the success of Team GBR at the Olympics is having a positive effect on horse sales, as well as fostering a competitive spirit.

    Horse dealers and agents say they are receiving more enquiries, while horse sport’s governing bodies report increased entries and riders keen to affiliate.

    Rachel Wakefield of sales agency Uptown Eventing found William Fox-Pitt and Mary King’s Olympic rides, Lionheart and Imperial Cavalier, and three other horses who went to Greenwich.

    Ms Wakefield told H&H she had received a “flurry of phone calls” after the Olympics.

    “We’ve had some of the top riders’ owners come forward wanting to buy potential Rio [2016 Olympics] horses and Olympic riders who are looking for their next horse,” she said. “But we are having the whole scale [of enquiries].

    “There are so many people who enjoyed the Olympics and the volume of calls we have had has increased significantly.

    “I had a call this morning from someone looking for a BE100 [eventing] horse.”

    Leicestershire dealer Vere Phillipps has made three trips to Ireland to buy horses since the Games.

    “The phone is ringing a lot,” he told H&H. “The horses I bought four weeks ago have already been turned round and sold.

    There is a lot of enthusiasm about the place.”

    Mr Phillipps, who is known for sourcing good event horses, is also receiving a range of enquiries – from top riders and their owners looking for their next Olympic horse, to juniors.

    But he is now seeing increased interest in showjumpers – inspired, he believes, by Team GBR’s historic gold.

    “It has definitely made a difference,” he said. “People are getting much more keen on showjumping again – interest had been dwindling. It has been a fantastic year, just the boost we needed, and it is benefiting everyone down the line.”

    H&H dressage columnist Pammy Hutton has also seen interest in horse ownership piqued by the Olympics.

    She has been asked to find “two potential top team material horses” for her children, Pippa and Charlie.

    “That came from my owner taking her non-horsey husband to the Olympics,” said Pammy. “He said that he so enjoyed his day and it was beautiful to watch the top horses in action.”

    Pammy hopes to find British-bred horses for her client, but will go to the sales in Holland and Germany if necessary.

    The “Olympic bounce” effect is not just being felt by those selling the most high-end animals.

    Natalia Thorpe sells hunters and riding club horses capable of affiliated competition from her yard at Stoke d’Abernon, Surrey.

    “We have found that a lot of our clients are talking about the Olympics,” she told H&H.

    “Quite a lot of people who would have just wanted to hack say they have been inspired to try a dressage test.”

    Ms Thorpe’s NT Equine business has also been given a boost by the fact that two horses she had sold in the past, Trinidad and Warrenstown Q, competed in the modern pentathlon at London 2012.

    “If you are seen as having sold good, honest horses like them, it is good for your reputation.”

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (4 October 2012)

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