Advancing Equine Scientific Excellence (AESE) is revolutionising the way the equine industry integrates with academic establishments. The initiative, which is a Committee of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), promotes excellence in industry-relevant equine research and facilitates effective industry–academic collaboration through the provision of specialist training for academics and students and the development of scientifically rigorous, multi-site national projects. Reaseheath College in Cheshire, which has a thriving equestrian department for both undergraduates and further education students, is a key player in AESE and regularly joins many other colleges, leading universities and veterinary institutions to collaborate on these high-quality, science-led, projects. One successful project has been Increasing Participation in Equestrianism, which aimed to promote the legacy of the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics by encouraging more people to engage with equestrianism. Run in collaboration with the BEF and Sport England, the project focused on identifying the factors contributing as barriers to participation in equine sports. Other collaborative projects that are still ongoing include Equine End of Life, exploring the contentious subject of the euthanasia of equines, with findings presented to the sponsors, World Horse Welfare and The Donkey Sanctuary, who have identified a multi-strand launch strategy for autumn 2017. Another project, sponsored by the BHS with support from Alltech, offers a national industry–academic collaborative study that will influence the development of riding establishments and the strategy of the BHS. Undergraduates investigated how the requirements of riding school clients may change over the next ten years with a view to improving business opportunities and increasing participation in equestrianism. The findings are planned to be presented at the BHS Proprietors’ Conferences in autumn 2016.


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