Three well-known faces recently joined representatives from across the equestrian community to celebrate participation in equestrian sport.
Countryfile presenter Jules Hudson, sporting icon Lucinda Green and well known cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew (Aggers) were all present at British Equestrian Federation (BEF) headquarters in Warwickshire to endorse the launch of a new social networking campaign promoting horse riding as sport.
Over 100 people gathered as the speakers introduced the concept, extolling the positive impact horses have had on their lives and the opportunity offered by social media to unite a community.
Hundreds more joined in on social media channels, pledging to ‘tack up and be counted’ by describing how they do it, using the hashtag #mysport and encouraging others to do the same.
Sophie Wells MBE @sophiewells90
"I do it everyday because I love dancing with my horses" #mysport
Lee Pearson @MrLeePearsonCBE
"I did it to improve my life, I do it for the love of horses" #mysport
Nicola Wilson @NWEventing
#mysport #hoofride #tackupandbecounted I do it for the partnership, trust and love of horses #2IndividualsBecome1#Adrenaline #buzz #magical
Olivia Oakeley @OakeleyDressage
I do it everyday, all day long with my best friends because I love it. #mysport
"I do it for the challenge and rewards all day long with my partners in crime" #mysport
Izzy Taylor @1izzytaylor
I can't imagine my life without horses/competing/hunting @hoofride #mysport @BEventing @TeamGBR @TNLUK
"Ultimately we’re all here because we want to get more bums in saddles,” said Jules Hudson.
"A beautiful Irish mare, Honey, gave me a love of the countryside which is still with me today. The friendship and camaraderie that she gave me was wonderful, I learnt amazing life lessons and want other people to have the chance to do the same.
"Sport England funding distributed through the Hoof programme is helping to bring this to life but we all need to tack up and be counted!"
Lucinda Green commented: “Riding is a wonderful sport and we must remember to call it a sport. I’d love to see us develop the number of regular riders towards the two million mark.
"The more people who can stand up and be counted, the more support we stand to gain from government funding.
“The equine industry is worth £4 billion a year so by my estimate a lot more than the official figure of 377,000 people must be riding.
"We’ve got to talk about the sport of riding, create a buzz around it and get more people in. It’s a wonderful sport and I do it for just one thing; for FUN!”
Jonathan Agnew, followed by over 277,000 Twitter users on his @Aggerscricket
account, urged everyone to get involved: “There’s a whole opportunity out there to make social media work – do interesting things, take photographs, anything that brings people into your world and spread the word to make us more accessible.”
“We’re calling on our whole community to help us to fill Facebook with our passion for horses,” commented BEF Marketing Director, Nicki Kavanagh.
“However we ride, vault or carriage drive - whether competitively or just for fun - we are taking part in equestrian sport!
"If you happen to get a call asking about your sports participation, please don’t forget to mention horse riding.”
The BEF is calling on participants to update their Facebook and Twitter pages with the line “I do it for” and add in how often they take part using the hashtag #mysport. See Hoof's Facebook page
for more information.