Cheshire West and Chester recognises the value of the equine industry in Cheshire, and has an ultimate aim to make Cheshire a more competitive region nationally and internationally in respect of the equine industry.
In early 2011, Cheshire West and Chester (CWaC) and the University of Liverpool started a process of developing a framework for growth of the boroughs equine sector. The aim was to investigate the current strength of the equine sector in the county, gathering data regarding the scale of the activity and looking at the potential areas for growth; especially those highlighted in engagement with the equine community.
Horse sport within Cheshire is recognised as a strong and growing industry, being a significant contributor to the local and wider economy. The sector is diverse and includes everything from the ‘Happy Hacker’ to professional ‘Event Riders’ to a number of ‘riding schools’, ‘racing yards’ and ‘breeding venues’ as well as everything in between such as veterinary services, farriers and feed stores. Significant events such as the Bolesworth International annual show jumping event and the regular race meets at Chester Racecourse contributed to this with National and International spend in the area.
The framework confirms stakeholders are at the forefront of the success of the equine industry, primarily for communication and collaboration. So what initiatives can be highlighted to make Cheshire more of the following?:
- A more competitive region nationally and internationally;
- A more attractive proposition to equine tourists;
- To increase participation, overcoming many of the social and financial barriers to inclusion;
- Alert stakeholders to opportunities in cooperation, and raise awareness of the importance of communication
Four themes will be the main focus of activity to be taken forward over a 3 year period from 2015 to 2018, these highlight where the main opportunities lie:
- Training and Education
- Business and Economy
- Events and Marketing
Formed in 2013 with support from the British Horseracing Authority, the Cheshire Racing Hub is an innovative partnership bringing together education, local government and the Cheshire racing industry to support the growth of racing related businesses. Over a number of phases is has focused on raising awareness of racing as an exciting, but often unrecognised, career route for young people in Cheshire and surrounding areas.
Project highlights include:
- Production of career videos used at Skills North West,
- School taster days at racing stables and colleges shared on social media,
- Production of a film that positions Cheshire as a great place to invest in equine,
- Provision of bursaries for College and University Veterinary Students to gain industry placements,
The lead partner in the project is Cheshire West and Chester Council. Other partners are Chester Race Company, Reaseheath College and The University of Liverpool, supported by a network of people working within Cheshire racing and thoroughbred businesses. Nationally, the project is part of the BHA’s Racing Together initiative which supports the development of closer links between British Racing and its local communities. As with the Cheshire Racing Hub, a core objective of Racing Together is to connect young people with employment opportunities and pathways to support the continued health and future prosperity of British Racing.
Hoof Cheshire (PDF, 4.5MB)
Equine Sector Clustering (PDF, 2.1MB)
Overview of the sector and action plan summary (PDF)