AN industry wide survey carried out by the British Equestrian Trade Association into last year's FMD outbreak has thrown new light on the impact of the crisis.
The findings confirm that FMD affected some manufacturers and retailers more than others while an estimated total of £235 million turnover was lost to the equestrian industry.
The overall downturn in turnover across the whole trade averaged nearly 10 per cent but by the end of the year, both retail and suppliers showed a significant increase in turnover compared with the same time the previous year.
BETA Chief Executive and Secretary Claire Williams said: "Starting as it did at the beginning of a new sales season and just after the BETA International Trade Fair, FMD impacted not just on future turnover but resulted in the loss of investment made through marketing campaigns and new product launches.
"In general terms the overriding long term impact of FMD will be in the slowing down of growth due to the lack of investment able to be made both last year as well as for some in this year.
"It is also clear that the turnover that was lost was not able to be recovered. This led to the closure of, we estimate, over 90 retail businesses and up to 20 of their suppliers."
The BETA survey highlighted the effect that the delay on starting hunting also had on businesses.
The delay impacted on businesses by more than 60 per cent, with a decrease in sales of clothing, equipment and repairs as well as the indirect flow-on into other goods and services from horses not being brought back into work.
Ms Williams added:
"Despite this seemingly dark picture, the year ended on very much
a positive note, with both retail and the supply chain showing significant
increases in turnover compared with the year 2000.
"Many businesses were forced to seriously re-assess their activities and business practices. This has resulted in many diversifying into new market, products and marketing activities, and the industry may well in the long term have become stronger through this adversity."