The role of the Franches-Montagnes on the Swiss horse market

Like many other local breeds of European origin, the Franches-Montagnes (FM) must fight against a fall in population and number of births, as well as a lack of profitability at the production level. As part of preparing a strategy report for preserving the FM breed, Agroscope Swiss National Stud Farm SNSF investigated the market compliance of the FM horse by conducting a survey of horse owners and interviewing experts in the sector. The results allow us to conclude that for a majority of owners taking part in the survey, the crucial characteristics when purchasing a horse overlap with the appreciation of the qualities of the FM and the general perception about this horse. The FM therefore possesses qualities that are in principle in demand on the leisure-horse market. The following qualities were noted: a good temperament, versatility, good health, hardiness and good feed utilization. By contrast, the FM brand image has fewer positive connotations with non-owners than with FM owners. The results of both the survey and the expert interviews demonstrate the need to improve FM marketing strategies and image in order to increase sales of FM horses and thus promote long-term growth in the number of births.

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