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The British Horse Society

The British Horse Society commissions research in the Blackdown Hills

The British Horse Society (BHS) has commissioned a research project aimed at identifying current levels of equine business activity in the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in order to explore its potential for economic growth. The Project is funded by the Blackdown Hills Leader+ Rural Development Programme and research is being undertaken by Masters Students from the University of Plymouth, based at the Seale Hayne Campus in Newton Abbott.

The BHS and the Blackdown Hills Rural Partnership is committed to improve and enhance sustainable tourism and recreational activity within the AONB, and horse related enterprises have been identified as a potential area for growth. There are funding opportunities available to support economic activity in the AONB, and having data to prove that there is a market demand will help to access these.
The overall outcomes of the research may be used to develop the Blackdown Hills AONB as a 'Centre of Excellence' for equestrian activity, possibly promoting the idea of Black Beauty Country. There is also the potential for an exciting European connection with Sweden, which is keen to develop joint ventures.

BHS chief executive, Kay Driver, said, "We are very excited about this research and look forward to seeing the results. Everyone who lives and works on the Blackdown Hills and is involved with the horse industry, including leisure riders, will be encouraged to complete a short questionnaire. Feedback and information is needed from grooms, vets, saddlers, instructors, livery yards, riding schools, trainers, breeders, feed merchants, farriers, horse 'B&B' providers, rug repairers, clipping service providers, facility providers and others in the area to make this survey comprehensive and fully inclusive.

Questionnaires are available now from local equestrian outlets, can be downloaded from the Blackdown Hills website or direct from the Blackdown Hills Rural Partnership Office in Hemyock (Tel: 01823 680681).


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