Horse sport enjoys £30m media boost

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro with their gold medal.
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro with their Olympic gold medal. © London 2012

The British Equestrian Federation has estimated the value of written equestrian media coverage during 2012 at more than £30 million.

Coverage appeared in all publications across a wide range of markets – from daily and regional newspapers to celebrity news and women’s fashion magazines – clearly demonstrating that equestrianism now has a strong profile in the public domain.

This was spurred by the iconic images beamed around the world from Greenwich Park over the summer – from Nick Skelton securing the country’s first Olympic Gold medal in showjumping since 1952, to dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin covering her mouth in disbelief at the end of her gold medal-winning freestyle test.

Media coverage of equestrian sports in the build-up, during and post the Olympic and Paralympic Games was extensive and far-reaching, and the federation said the venue had provided images from London 2012 that people will remember in the future.

Holding a memorable and successful event at Greenwich Park has brought the powerful legacy of a stronger place for equestrian sport both within the Olympic and Paralympic Games ‘family’ and in the minds of the general public. Capitalising on this with more substantial participation and general interest in equestrian sport is work under way and needs consistent development and exposure and is the next vital step.

It is now up to the BEF’s Legacy brand ‘Hoof’ to channel those who have been inspired to get on a horse or return to riding.

The BEF was one of the first National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of sport to launch its Legacy plan, and it has been empowering the equestrian industry to get behind the ‘Hoof’ brand, so that it can capitalise on the largest shop window the sport has ever seen.

Working with local riding schools across the country has been a priority. One of the most important initiatives the BEF has launched is its ‘Take Back the Reins’ (TBTR) programme, a stepping stone for lapsed or new riders to get in the saddle – no matter what age or experience. The programme is set up to allow like-minded people to start riding in a social and fun environment.

Andrew Finding, Chief Executive of the BEF, commented: “London 2012 was an extraordinary experience for us all. Our first legacy objective was achieved through the coverage of our athletes at our remarkable venue Greenwich Park, equestrian sport was given the highest possible profile.

“Before the Games we launched to help demystify our sport to the new community the Games inspired and to direct the interests of anyone who wanted to start or return to equestrianism. Our true legacy will be secured in continuing to profile our sport, in increasing the numbers involved, in the raising of standards and in continued successes in all areas. To achieve this we need everyone to help the positive upward drive.”

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