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Increasing membership numbers

with The British Horse Society

British Horse Society

How we created a new website for The British Horse Society to deliver a seamless user experience.


For 70 years, The British Horse Society (BHS) has made a positive difference to the lives of horses and horse owners through a range of initiatives, from protecting equestrian rights of way to improving safety for horses and riders.

The BHS asked manifesto to help them increase membership numbers by 100,000 over the next five years by improving their digital strategy. They wanted us to redesign the website for a simple and seamless user experience (UX) on a platform that The BHS digital team could manage in house.

The new website had to meet the needs of current and future members by increasing the number and type of digitised customer service interactions and by becoming mobile responsive. It needed to comply with data protection legislation, protect internal systems from cyber attacks, and have a way to analyse the website’s data so that the team can make informed business decisions.


Working with The BHS, we identified core areas the new website needed to address through its new and improved UX — reaching more of the riding population, creating a more relevant brand, providing better exposure of partners (such as riding schools and livery yards) and improving the rider’s experience.

To craft a new digital strategy that met the website users’ needs, we used immersion sessions, surveys and user personas to map out, prototype and test user journeys.

Informed by this research, we then designed and built a new website for The BHS using Umbraco 8. Working closely with the charity’s tech team, we provided a full rebrand and restructure of the website’s content to better showcase information about the society, including profiling their riding centres and coaches. Through a series of design and UX sprints, this work included devising and delivering a new migration strategy, a content strategy, new artwork, a content governance framework and an SEO strategy.

We chose Umbraco because it provides a development structure without restricting what we create. This meant we could manage the website’s page templates, integrated tools and coding language, exercising full autonomy throughout the build. It also gave The BHS a custom editing experience which met their unique needs. manifesto is an Umbraco Gold Partner, meaning our team and its developers are experts at building bespoke Umbraco platforms.

The British Horse Society Directory Search Page
The British Horse Society Directory Search Page


By redesigning The BHS’s online presence and user journeys, we delivered a much smoother UX to reflect the organisation’s reputation with a professional look and feel. 

The previous website held 8,000 pages of content, which were difficult to navigate. On the new platform, users can find pages, search and explore more easily, thanks to the way in which we’ve organised the website’s content. Riders can also use the new geo location search pages to find resources locally, such as grooms and riding centres. 

The BHS digital team now has a fully customisable website which lets them build content and design components themselves. The BHS’s new Umbraco website also provides a foundation for the future and their five year roadmap to increase membership numbers.

Working with the team at manifesto meant exactly that. We were a team from day one — we navigated the project together and challenged each other to produce the best outcomes.

Wayne Walsh

Marketing and Business Digital Lead, The British Horse Society