British and Irish equestrian bodies unite on environmental sustainability

Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) and British Equestrian (BEF) have teamed up on a new project which will lessen the environmental impact at organisational and industry level for equestrian sports.

In a pioneering collaboration with leading sustainability agency White Griffin, the two organisations will focus attentions on the responsibility to the environment through actions and leadership practices and have made this a priority for 2023.

The anticipated five-month project will take place over three phases including research, mapping exercise, analysis, recommendations and a stakeholder engagement plan.

The resulting recommendations and road map will benefit both organisations at an operational level, provide a framework for their stakeholder bodies and inspire the overall equestrian community to achieve effective change long term to safeguard our environment.

Horse Sport Ireland and British Equestrian have teamed up on a project to lessen environmental sustainability

The announcement comes following an invitation to tender on a new project, ‘Setting the Environmental Sustainability Baseline for British Equestrian’ which aims to help understand compliance levels and requirements for environmental sustainability.

This will, in turn, provide recommendations to embed into an overarching strategy and provide knowledge and support to member bodies to do the same.

In parallel, HSI was outlining a similar project and the organisations agreed to work jointly on the venture. The European Equestrian Federation (EEF) will also be a project stakeholder.

White Griffin, who work within the sports sector as well as with major names and events in the entertainment sector, recently facilitated a report for the British Horseracing Authority with similar objectives which will help with the wider equestrian industry project.

Horse Sport Ireland and British Equestrian have teamed up on a project to lessen environmental sustainability

HSI and The BEF would like to recognise the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Sport England in this ground-breaking research project.

Denis Duggan, chief executive of HSI, said: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with the British Equestrian Federation and White Griffin on behalf of the Irish equestrian industry, together with industry support from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, European Equestrian Federation and Sport England.

“This ground-breaking project aims to act as the current position piece for our equestrian community. Breeders and producers are the bedrock of our industry and have an intricate understanding of the environment and its interplay with the equine eco-system.

“Environmental Sustainability is key to the future of the equestrian industry nationally, internationally and has an impact on our daily lives. This research will provide a roadmap to understand the opportunities for our sector to embrace policy changes and provide direction for ongoing symbiosis with our natural world.”

BEF chief executive Jim Eyre added: “We all collectively have a responsibility for our environment, to ensure a sustainable future and we’re delighted to be working with Horse Sport Ireland and White Griffin on this essential project for the equestrian industry.

"As a sector so integrated and reliant on nature and the countryside, we must make better informed decisions to reduce our environmental impact wherever we can and act as guardians of the landscape. I look forward to working on the project with the aim to help our industry, here in the United Kingdom, in Ireland and beyond in Europe, to become as sustainably responsible as possible.”

White Griffin project lead Ruth Dancer said: “We are delighted to be working with the BEF and HSI on this project, because as a company we are passionate about working with equestrian businesses, charities and organisations across the whole network.

“The climate crisis impacts everything that this sector does and in turn, the sector impacts upon it. Through this work we hope to demonstrate ways in which the industry can positively impact the environment whilst crucially safeguarding the future of equestrianism and equestrian sports.”