“It was such a relief for him to be given the all-clear; three times we thought we were going to
1. How can the issue of overweight show horses be resolved?
Showing judges are being encouraged to place overweight horses further down the line in an effort to tackle part of the equine obesity epidemic. At the Showing Council summer conference on 28 June, the Horse Trust’s Jan Rogers and researcher Tamzin Furtado gave a presentation on their “Weigh to Win” scheme. The scheme awards rosettes in showing classes to the horse or pony in the best body condition, and has been extended this season. But Dr Furtado said: “I’m really keen to hear what you think. Do we need to do more? Should there be rule changes? What do we do to take this to the next level? We’ve got the positive first step but it won’t change the world on its own.”
There are still some in the showing community who feel animals are not overweight, whereas vets strongly disagree. As long as overweight horses win classes, they will be heralded as great examples and their model emulated. Refusing to have overweight horses at the top of the line would make a difference, though it would doubtless cause upset in the process.
2. Best response to strangles outbreak
The owners of a yard dealing with a strangles outbreak have spoken out on the importance of biosecurity and being transparent with all involved. Stephen Cole and Michael Parsons, of Parsons-Cole Equestrian, own a number of yards, the biggest of which, Nortonbury Farm in Letchworth, Herts, is affected, and still in lockdown.
“Strangles can be a funny one; people think it’s like you’ve got leprosy or something,” Stephen said.
Michael added that he has spoken to many people who have said their yards have had to be shut down for months at a time with strangles outbreaks but “it doesn’t have to be like that”. “If you nip it in the bud, you can have things back to normal fairly quickly. Within 45 minutes of finding out [a pony] had it, our biosecurity plans were implemented.”
3. The next big horse trials to look forward to
With the running of Badminton Horse Trials this May marking a return to the complete eventing calendar we know and love, many are now turning their attentions to The Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing, which is back for 2022 having last run in 2019. The Gloucestershire-based event is under a month away, taking place in Gatcombe Park from 5-7 August.
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Credit: Lucy Merrell
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