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Double bridles in competitors, driving fines and different issues the horse world is speaking about

  • 1. Should double bridles and spurs be optional at top level?

    There is some resistance around proposals to make double bridles and spurs optional at grand prix level in international dressage.

    The International Dressage Riders Club (IDRC) and International Dressage Trainers Club (IDTC) published a joint letter to the FEI and the FEI’s independent Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission opposing the proposal – stating “neither the double bridle nor spurs represent a welfare risk to horses” and there are already “sufficient controls” to ensure against misuse.

    But as World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers points out: “Surely it is how the horse performs that is of most relevance, rather than the bitting or other accessories used? Double bridles can be a useful tool, but they are also a powerful tool, and it seems right to give riders the choice.”

    Read more about this debate

    2. Potential fines for horsebox drivers

    Horsebox owners are being reminded to “be prepared before they travel” as winter approaches. National Highways, formerly the Highways Agency, has called on all drivers to prepare for the change in seasons, while October is also tyre safety month.

    “In an emergency, roadworthy tyres could be the difference between driving away and the unthinkable,” said Stuart Lovatt, chairman of TyreSafety, which runs the campaign.

    It is also a timely reminder of the law change last year, meaning it is illegal for vehicles with a gross mass above 3.5 tonnes to use tyres over 10 years old on the front (steering) axle(s).

    “There are actually unlimited fines in England and Wales, and fines of up to £5,000 in Scotland, if you are found to be in breach of that rule,” Claire Barker of PRP Rescue Services told H&H.

    Everything you need to know about these crucial checks

    3. Vet bills and other cost concerns

    The cost of vet bills is the biggest concern for many owners of horses, according to a new survey conducted by Blue Cross.

    Unsurprisingly in the current economic climate, results showed 55% of the participants who own a horse are worried about the cost of vet bills, 52% are concerned about the rising costs of owning a horse, and 30% are worried about the cost of insurance. End of life care for horses was a concern of 38% of the surveyed participants, 50% are worried about scams, and 47% of owners are concerned about horse theft.

    What else is giving horse owners cause for concern?

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