British Horses Breeders Network Established October 2014
Breeders of sport horses and ponies across Great Britain came together for an inaugural meeting in October 2014 to explore the possibilities for collaboration to move the breeding industry forward. Over fifty breeders and studbook representatives met at Moulton College to exchange opinions on the most productive and inclusive way to help the British breeding industry flourish.
An illustrative introduction by meeting chair Woodlander Stud’s Lynne Crowden served to set the scene, establish the meeting’s code of conduct, and dispel some the myths around the buoyancy of the breeding industry on the continent and the prices which are realistically being obtained for foals. With a healthy dose of realism and bold examples, Lynne painted a clear picture, leaving no doubt that if breeders wish to get a healthy return on their breeding investment, they need to offer a commitment to thoroughly research, invest in and be realistic in their expectations of their breeding programmes. That said, British breeding has a lot to celebrate and, armed with the facts, delegates were dispatched to break out rooms to debate a number of scenarios.
Following this series of active discussion sessions, generous feedback was collated on a series of topics, the bulk of the discussions revolving around industry features and challenges (and how to overcome them) and marketing. Considering the diversity of perspectives of those who took the trouble to attend (and dial in), the convergence of views on many subjects was very encouraging. This meant that there was a good deal or pre-existing agreement on the priorities.
Under Lynne Crowden’s cohesive chairmanship, the inclusive and self-governing British Breeders’ Network (BBN) was formed. The concept of a central discussion group, to be facilitated on an interim basis by Buckingham vet Jane Nixon and linking to a network of enthusiastic regional caretakers was actively supported by the meeting.
The next steps have been to coordinate a series of agreed and prioritised actions and form groups of people with expertise in specific areas (such as communications, marketing and legal) so that the agreed actions can be moved ahead. The actions were: create the regional network with a central hub, create a group identity and communications mechanism, create a horse brand identity encapsulating the quality of the horses bred and produced in this country and choose a look and feel for that brand. The horse brand is to be supported by a programme of sales and marketing activity once market information has given more precise direction as to what the target audiences want.
Moving ahead, the network will focus on building (or drawing together) a structure for a sustainable breeding, assessment, production, competition and sales environment. The network will take the first steps towards raising industry standards, growing international brand awareness and continuing to progress the breeding of top quality British bred horses which are desirable for riders and trainers in every discipline.
The first regional meetings have already taken place and the next national meeting is scheduled for Saturday 3 January 2015 in conjunction with the British Bred Sport Horse (BBSH) Stallion Event at Hartpury College. For more information about how you can get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org