‘It is heartbreaking to think what would have happened had the welfare team at Appleby not spotted her plight’
The Best at Appleby awards, organised by Redwings and supported by other National Equine Welfare Council members, will be on offer at the annual gathering, the largest of its type in the UK, which runs from 9 to 13 June in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria.
The scheme, sponsored by the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association, is in its seventh year, last held online in 2020 owing to Covid.
Redwings vet Nicola Berryman, who will be at the fair, said: “We’re excited to be bringing Best at Appleby back to the fair, with the support of other members of the National Equine Welfare Council.
“Appleby Horse Fair has been in existence for at least 300 years, and probably longer, and is so important to the gypsy and traveller community who love horses.
“Best at Appleby is a unique way of breaking down some of those barriers that sometimes exist between the gypsy and traveller and vet communities, allowing vets to get to know horse owners who wouldn’t ordinarily speak with us, and giving owners the chance to ask advice that will benefit their horses.”
Ms Berryman added that organisers were “overwhelmed” by the number of entries to the 2020 online show, and that the awards have previously had a “great response”.
“Several previous winners have won multiple times for the excellent care and attention they give to ensure the happiness of their horses, and we’ve seen some promote horse welfare alongside the vets at the fair,” she said.
Three Redwings vets will be on site, as part of a six-strong veterinary team, who will “keep an eye out for the very healthiest of horses and best horsemanship”. Rosettes will be given to those who impress the team. There will be awards for junior handlers, and in categories including best stepping cob, best trotter and best hoof health.
On the final day, the vets will choose one champion, while social media engagement will determine the people’s champion.
All winners will be offered the chance to have their horse microchipped and passported for free, if they are not already.
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Credit: The Donkey Sanctuary
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