Equine Conservation Project

UPDATE : Initial results webinar. Thursday 7th September 2023, at 7pm. This will be online via zoom. If you are interested, please email [email protected] and we will send out an invite for the session. We really look forward to presenting this marketing versatility webinar as it showcases the versatility of native ponies and how as breeders, keepers and producers we can promote their attributes to the wider equestrian market. Please feel free to share this information with breed societies, non-members, horse owners and anyone who has a keen interest. 


RBST wishes to inform you about a three-year equine project we have recently gained funding for from Horserace Betting Levy Board and to ask for your help and support in delivering it.


The aim of the project is to significantly improve RBST’s ability to support both breed societies and individual breeders in the conservation status of our native equine breeds through a three-year, two-part programme.


There are two broad parts to the project. The first part is concerned with identifying overarching and breed specific issues and conducting an analysis of differing approaches to breeding and reproductive technologies.  In the light of this, best practice guidance for establishing breeding strategies will be created and promoted. The second part focuses on the uses of the breeds and the opportunities for extending those uses, so raising the profile of the breeds and increasing their numbers.


The first year of the project focuses on evidence gathering to better understand the challenges. A reproduction survey, a semen analysis, and a versatility study will be carried out. Detailed individual breed analyses will be undertaken. The year will conclude with a workshop event for breeders and other stakeholders.


Year Two will focus on what influences breeding decisions and the information used. Using that information, and building on the Year One activities, breeder guides and a Best Practice Tool Kit for breed societies and others will be produced.


Year Three of the project is concerned with the wider role of native equines in society and encouraging their use.


An overview of the project timetable is set out below. We would like your help and participation in gathering as much data as possible. The more people participate, the more credible the results will be.  We would therefore be immensely grateful if yourselves and as many of your members as possible could assist us.


A brief project summary is listed below.


Project Summary


Year 1

  • Reproduction survey
  • Reproduction report and guides
  • Semen testing
  • Breed analysis reports
  • Equine versatility study and promotion
  • Breeder workshop


Year 2

  • Breeding decisions survey
  • Endemic issues study
  • Production of Best Practice Tool Kit and breeder guides
  • Breeder workshop


Year 3

  • Targeted investigation of issues identified from previous surveys
  • Survey on perceptions of native breeds
  • Watchlist points scheme to encourage useage
  • Promotion of conservation grazing/ ecological impacts of equines.
  • End of project conference and summary of results


More details of our first stage of the project will follow shortly. We hope you will be able to join us in delivering it. In the meantime, if you have any queries please contact [email protected]