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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Keep Your Horse Healthy - Free Disease Prevention Pack from World Horse Welfare

Last year, the UK horse industry was given a reminder of the increasing threat from infectious disease when Equine Infectious Anaemia was diagnosed in three locations in England for the first time since 1976.  The first case occurred in Wiltshire in January, followed by cases in Northumberland and Devon in September. 

It has never been so important to minimise the risk of serious and contagious diseases from entering or spreading across the country. An outbreak of disease could be catastrophic for the equestrian industry as well as threatening the welfare of horses in general.

Some worrying findings from our 2009 Livery Yard Survey suggest that many people are not aware of the risks or what preventative action should be taken:

• 61% of stables were not cleaned out between occupants
• 48% said there were no isolation facilities
• 38% said there were no procedures to exclude horses with disease

To help UK horse owners protect their horses against the ever-present and increasing threat from a number of infectious diseases, we launched a free disease prevention information pack last summer.  Keep Your Horse Healthy aims to highlight the need for every horse owner to be aware of diseases such as EIA, Strangles and Flu, and offers simple steps to help protect against their entry and spread.

So far, more than 2,000 copies of the pack have been requested and we've had some fantastic feedback from experts in the field.  To request your copy, please click here to complete our online request form or call the Campaigns Team on 01953 497232.

Our Chief Executive, Roly Owers, comments: “The pack has been created to give horse owners and keepers practical advice as to how they can minimise the incursion and spread of disease. Simple, everyday actions such as good hygiene, avoiding mixing with unfamiliar horses, and maintaining good routine health care are essential in the fight against disease.

“Our research has shown that we as an industry are not addressing the current risk of disease. With the growing popularity of horse riding, climate change and the ever-increasing movement of horses, both within the UK and overseas, the threat of disease is on the increase. We're extremely concerned that if we as a horse owning nation do not act now we will have an epidemic situation on our hands. Education is vital to protect our horses. Every horse owner has an obligation not only to their own horse, but to the horses in their yard and across the country.”

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Horses being abandoned in the UK

392 cases of abandoned horses have been reported to Redwings, the largest horse sanctuary in the UK so far this year, they estimate that the total for 2011 will be in the region of 460 as compared to 160 in 2009.
Abandonment is not the answer, warns Redwings, nor are charities an easy solution.
“Abandoning your horse does not necessarily mean it will have a happy ending at a charity or sanctuary because we simply cannot accommodate them all,” comments Senior Welfare Officer Rachel Angell. “We are using all of our limited resources to ‘fire fight’ the number of welfare cases that involve advanced suffering, these have to remain a priority. A charity is unfortunately not the instant answer, as many are already stretched to the limit.”
 “Sadly while many abandonments are the result of dealers and breeders leaving their unwanted stock on a public road or on council or privately owned land we also suspect that some of the abandoned animals are the result of inexperienced people ridding themselves of an expensive problem,” explains Rachel.
Redwings wishes to send out two strong messages: that breeders should think carefully before producing foals and that people stop and think carefully before taking on the cost and responsibility of an equine.
“Abandoning a horse or pony is not only illegal but is extremely cruel”, concludes Rachel. “It is not in any way caring as it puts the animal through a stressful ordeal with very little chance of a good outcome.”
Anyone struggling to care for their horse is welcome to call Redwings Horse Sanctuary for free advice on 01508 481008 or read information about abandonment, including what to do if a horse has been abandoned on your land, see

Sunday, 6 November 2011

How to work out your horses 's body condition score

What's your horse's body condition score?
Is he / she too fat or too thin?
How do you tell?
Here is a very helpful video that explains how to access your horse's body condition score:

Friday, 4 November 2011

Just a quick reminder about fireworks and equines

As we all know  animals are terrified of fireworks and this includes most horses so extra care needs to be taken at times when people are more likely to be having firework displays such as Guy Fawkes and New Year.
Forewarned is forearmed, so keep an eye out in the local press etc for advertisements for firework displays in your area. If you know your horse is very scared of fireworks you might consider sedation, your vet will be able to supply Sedalin which will help to keep your horse calm. Also if you know there is to be a firework display near you you can arrange to stay with the horse while it is going on.
Generally we wouldn't advise that you change your horses routine as this will only cause additional stress. If your horse is stabled an extra thick bed well banked around the sides will help prevent injury or casting, remember to check carefully for anything that the horse could injure itself on. If your horse is out at grass make especially sure that fences and gates are in good repair.
It's always worth talking to the organizers of firework displays or parties to warn them that there are horses in the area and to ask them to enusre that the fireworks are set off in the opposite direction to the horses.
Make sure that you have a fire procedure in place and the telephone numbers of the fire brigade and your vet to hand. Also check you have  third party liability insurance, if your horse does get out and causes damage you will be held liable for compensation.

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