Collaborative research deepens understanding of participation in equestrianism

The Increasing Participation in Equestrianism (IPiE) project, co-funded by the BEF and Alltech, was coordinated by Advancing Equine Scientific Excellence (AESE) – a committee of the federation’s Equine Development portfolio.

Taking a collaborative approach developed by AESE, data was gathered by 26 students across 13 universities and colleges, and followed a central brief to better understand the habits and motivations of participants in equestrianism. 

Research was carried out via an online survey and through in-depth interviews, and was the first time a multi-centred research project of its kind has taken place. The project focused on identifying factors leading to reduced or lapsed riding, and potential remedies to encourage more frequent participation.

Beth Maloney, Director of Participation at the BEF said: ‘We would like to thank the institutions and students involved in this research. It will form a valuable part of the evidence base used to support our ongoing work on participation in equestrianism, and feed into the progress of Hoof, the BEF participation initiative.’ 

Key findings from the research included: 

  • The largest proportion of respondents ride purely because of their enjoyment of horses;

  • Livery yards are the most significant location from which respondents ride;

  • Around half, or more, of all female respondents 26 years old and over and 36-55 year old were engaged in 31 or more hours of work a week;

  • A sizeable proportion of current riders do not participate in any other sport.  Those that do frequently undertake  walking, including hiking and dog walking, running, swimming and cycling; 

  • More places to ride nearby were identified as key to encouraging current riders to ride more frequently. 

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