Spotlight on Shropshire’s horses welcomed
Shropshire equestrian consultant, Susie King, has welcomed a new focus on the importance of horses to the region’s economy.
The launch of the Country Land and Business Associations’ (CLA) policy on creating “a modern and thriving equine business sector” highlights the equine sector as second only to agriculture and worth £4 billion a year to the UK’s rural economy. When racing is included this rises to £7 billion – this makes the equine sector the largest sporting employer in the country with some 250,000 directly and indirectly employed.
Susie King, head of Balfours Equestrian, and a member of the CLA Equine Business Working Group says: “Shropshire is incredibly well blessed with outstanding riding country and a large mix of equestrian disciplines practiced throughout the county, with high value studs, competition riding and livery yards, as well as many riding purely for pleasure.
“At present there are one million horses in the UK utilising 500,000 hectares. Shropshire and surrounding areas are well placed in so many ways to nurture equestrianism. We have a whole host of strong selling points; with good connection to the motorway network, numerous bridleways and quiet country lanes and home to some of the top studs in the country.”
According to Susie the county is much sought after by equestrian professionals eager to move into the area. “Horses have had a tough time over the past 30 years, being squeezed by other land demands and a host of red tape.
“The CLA has taken a strong lead in focusing the spot light on a number of key issues the government must tackle if equestrianism is to develop and prosper, including planning regulations, bridleways, strict liability and insurance. For many people, and it is estimated that 11 million have an association with horses in the UK, horses are part of the fabric of the British countryside. “
Susie concludes: “The fact that they are also a major financial contributor to our rural economy I hope will strengthen resolve of farmers and landowners to embrace the opportunities horses present.”
Susie King, Head of Balfours Equestrian and member of the CLA Equine Business Working Group discusses the policy document with leading equestrian light Lucinda Green at the CLA London launch.