NEWC welcomes Rescue Ranch UK as new member

Rescue Ranch UK is a registered charity established in 2018 to save and rehome abandoned and emaciated animals off the streets of Leicestershire. Rescued equines are provided with a safe, loving home at the Ranch where they can naturally recover, both physically and mentally before being educated using natural horsemanship methods and given the chance to lead a fulfilled life.

If they show the ability and interest, they will be schooled to a standard where they can be ridden or driven before leaving the Ranch for a new home.

Some are trained and then used by Rescue Ranch's sister not-for-profit organisation, The Way of the Horse, to provide therapeutic support to children and adults with mental health conditions, learning difficulties and emotional or behavioural challenges, where traditional therapies have failed.

For more information about their work, visit rescueranchuk.co.uk.

Redwings has announced that the charity has taken on Anna Sewell House – the birthplace of the Black Beauty author - in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

The building is owned by a Redwings supporter and horse owner who approached Redwings about occupying the property. The biggest horse sanctuary in the UK was founded in the county and continues to have its headquarters in Hapton, south of Norwich.

Gemma Walpole, Executive Director for Income and Engagement at Redwings, said: “It’s so important to the owner that the property be used in a way that’s a fitting legacy to Anna and her work to improve horse welfare so it makes perfect sense for it to be a showcase for the work Redwings does today.

“Black Beauty is one of the most successful novels of all time with over 50 million copies sold worldwide and was one of the first to use an animal as a narrator. Anna didn’t write the novel for children. She said that her purpose was to ‘induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses’.

“Decades ago, the current owner’s mother, herself an advocate for animal welfare, convinced her husband to buy the house to protect it, when a fan of Anna Sewell had proposed to dismantle it and relocate it to the US. She preserved the Grade 2 listed building, which has become a place of pilgrimage for fans of Anna and her novel.

“We could not be more honoured to be able to look after this important building and use it to showcase Anna’s story and share how our work addresses the horse welfare challenges of today.”

Black Beauty was the only book that Anna Sewell published. She died shortly after the novel was released in 1877, and never witnessed its enormous success or the influence it had on changes to horse welfare in Victorian Britain.

Over 100 years later, in 1984, Redwings Horse Sanctuary was established and is currently responsible for over 2,000 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules across the UK, including 700 living out on permanent loan in Guardian homes.

Redwings will be holding an official opening on Friday 26th August and Anna Sewell House will be open to the public on days to be confirmed. It will be staffed by Redwings employees and volunteers. Keep checking our website for more information about volunteering and visiting at redwings.org.uk.

Helping drivers to connect with horse riders and cyclists through personal stories could lead to safer behaviours on the road, according to research by NEWC member Nottingham Trent University (NTU), which has informed a new safety campaign from The British Horse Society (BHS).

More than 340 drivers took part in a study which saw them complete a survey on their attitudes towards horse riders and cyclists and their passing behaviour – such as views on safe distance and speed. They then watched a video of the personal story of either a horse rider or a cyclist, or a control video featuring neither, before answering the questions again.

The videos were created by the BHS and Cycling UK and told an emotive story about a main protagonist. In three cases the story focused on their stressful job roles in organisations that are widely supported by public opinion, for example fire service or NHS, and how horse riding or cycling allowed them to de-stress. A fourth video focused on a father who was concerned about the safety of his children while cycling.

Those who saw the videos reported improved attitudes which were significantly greater than any changes that occurred in those who did not. This group also indicated a larger distance required to be safe when overtaking a horse or cyclist after watching the video and reported that they would overtake a horse or cyclist at a lower speed. The researchers also noted that the horse rider videos did not improve attitudes towards cyclists, nor vice versa, which suggests any changes were not due to a general improvement in attitude towards all vulnerable road users.

David Crundall, lead researcher and Professor of Psychology at NTU’s School of Social Sciences, said: “This one-shot intervention study has demonstrated that these videos can change explicit attitudes and intended passing behaviours in a group of drivers, at least in the short term. Compared to the control group, we can see that drivers who have greater awareness of a rider’s personal story have significantly improved how they would pass riders on the road, giving a greater passing distance and slowing down their speed.”

Image (left) shows Professor David Crundall

The research has informed the new BHS ‘Look Out for Laura’ campaign, funded by the Road Safety Trust, which is urging drivers to humanise horse riders after statistics showed that road incidents involving horses and vehicles continue to rise, with 2,943 incidents reported to the equine charity in 2021. Compared to 2020, this is an increase of over 2,000 cases. Of the 2,943 reported, 85% of them occurred due to vehicles passing by too closely.

And with more than 500 horses reported to be killed on the roads since 2010, the charity is urging more drivers to think about how they look at horse riders when they’re out on the road and encourage them to adhere to its Dead Slow campaign messages. Dead slow was launched to help better educate drivers on how to safely pass horses on the road. In line with the new Highway Code changes, the campaign consists of four key behavioural change messages to drivers:

If I see a horse on the road then I will …

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at The British Horse Society, said: “The number of incidents involving horses on Britain’s roads remains far too high. It is, therefore, vital that we continue to urge drivers to be more considerate when passing horses and aware of how to do this safely.

“Riding helps people from all backgrounds and walks of life, particularly when it comes to relieving stressful and difficult situations. We need to push awareness of this, and believe the ‘Look Out for Laura’ campaign offers a powerful message that will encourage drivers to think about the riders around them and help to reduce the significant number of horses being killed on Britain’s roads.”

Click here to download a pdf copy of Professor Crundall's study report.

As part of the campaign, the BHS has released two new videos to educate and encourage riders to safely pass horses on the road. Watch the Look Out for Laura and Julie’s Story videos, and read the full report online.

The BHS encourages all riders to report their incidents to the charity at horseincidents.org.uk or through its app Horse i. The more incidents that are reported, the more the BHS can do to protect the rights of horse riders on Britain’s roads

Using Motivational Interviewing to support animal owners with behaviour change. Delivered by trainers who are experienced in Mental Health, Education and Animal Welfare

Who is the course for?

The course is designed for anyone working in animal health, care or welfare with direct contact with owners, and others who need to make behaviour changes for the welfare of their animals. The course will help those who need to have difficult conversations with animal owners, and others, about issues such as weight, euthanasia, breeding, general care and health, numbers of animals, including animal hoarding and with re-homers or guardians and repeat welfare reporters. This course will be delivered online via Zoom and has been redesigned for this method of teaching and learning. The learning outcomes and experiences are the same as our face-to-face training.

Course overview

Motivational Interviewing is a well-researched, evidence-based method of working with people to support human behaviour change in the
most difficult areas such as addictions, but it has been found to be useful across a range of human behaviours. Only a handful of people have been using motivational interviewing to support behaviour change in animal owners. Bronwen Williams is one and is an experienced teacher of Motivational Interviewing to NHS and other staff, working with difficult-to-manage human behaviours, as well as several national animal charities. She also used Motivational Interviewing in her own voluntary equine welfare role, as well as in her clinical and teaching work. She has written about human mental health and animal ownership, including bereavement in animal owners and animal hoarding.

Autumn 2022 Course dates - Participants need to be able to attend all the dates below:

Wednesday 14th September – afternoon intro session
Thursday 15th September 9 – 4.30
Thursday 22nd September 9 – 4.30
Thursday 29th September 9 – 4.30
Thursday 6th October 9 – 4.30
Thursday 13th October 9 – 4.30

Course cost

The online course is delivered to 10 people, so places will be limited to allow for individual support and coaching from trainers for all participants.

For more information/bookings contact Bronwen Williams: bronwen.williams@yahoo.com or t: 07880 716 250

Bronwen will be joined in delivering the course by World Horse Welfare's Head of UK Support, Sam Chubbock, who is experienced in equine welfare and who uses MI in their work. The course is practical and interactive; attendees will be practising skills on each of the days and experimenting with Motivational Interviewing as an approach. To better understand behaviour change in others we will work with our own behaviours. This helps us to understand why others make, or don’t make, changes. Many participants find they too make changes during or after the course and you may finish the course having made some behaviour changes for yourself, or being ready to do so!


NEWC member, The British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association (BFBA), will be celebrating ‘Farriers Week’, which will take place this year from the 10th – 16th July.

Initiated 24 years ago by the American Farriers Journal as “a time for horse owners, trainers, veterinarians and other members of the equine community to acknowledge the contributions of farriers”, the celebratory week has evolved to include farriers acknowledging their mentors throughout their career.

“Our farriery members face new challenges on a daily basis. Like so many industries, so soon after the troubles of the coronavirus pandemic, we are now facing crippling increases on all of our basic costs including wages, fuel, steel, coke and gas,” said BFBA President, Ben Benson AWCF, “In the UK we have an incredible depth of skill, knowledge and talent amongst our farriers and we also know how hard our member’s work. We very much hope that horse owners and equine organisations will join with us and demonstrate their appreciation.”

During the week of 10th – 16th July, the BFBA will be publishing a series of posts on their social media channels to inform and support clients. Owners, equine professionals and organisations are encouraged to share the posts – and give a ‘shout out’ to your farrier!

Facebook – @BritishFarriers

Instagram - @bfbaforge

We are pleased to welcome another new member to NEWC - the Natural Animal Centre!

The Natural Animal Centre's mission is to 'positively influence the wellbeing of animals worldwide' and summarises their behaviour science-based approach to ethical animal behaviour modification and training.

The NAC offers animal behaviour courses from introductory courses for owners, to advanced diplomas for professional animal behaviourists.

Find out more here 🔗 naturalanimalcentre.org/

Sixteen ‘Best at Appleby’ welfare awards – organised by Redwings and supported by several National Equine Welfare Council members – were given out for equine health, happiness and horsemanship at this year’s Appleby Horse Fair.

The annual Gypsy, Roma and Traveller gathering officially began last Thursday (9th June) and ran until Monday (13th June) in the Cumbrian town of Appleby-in-Westmorland.

Blue Cross, Bransby Horses, British Horse Society, The Donkey Sanctuary, Oak Tree Animals, Redwings, the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare all worked in partnership at the event.

Two Best at Appleby 2022 Champions were announced on Sunday, chosen from the winners and runners-up selected by a team of six welfare vets and a Master Harness Maker and Saddlery Fitter in attendance at the Fair.

The criteria included being fit for the work they are doing, bright and relaxed, healthy hooves and microchipped and passported.

The People’s Choice Champion was decided by social media engagements during the event and went to five-year-old stallion Lucifer owned by Carl Blankley and family - with an amazing reach of over 50,000! Carl was spotted by welfare vet and British Veterinary Association Vice President, Malcolm Morley, on Saturday.

Malcolm said: “Carl has been coming to the Fair his whole life, though this was Lucifer’s first Appleby.

“Carl was sitting on him bareback on a corner, getting him used to the environment, when I first noticed him.

“He pulled a wagon a total of 75 miles to get to the Fair without a rub-mark on him and Carl said he is the pride and joy of the family.”

The Vet’s Choice Champion was chosen by the welfare vets at the event and went to skewbald Cob Lucy owned by Matt, Clare and daughter Lolly.

Nicola Berryman, one of Redwings’ Welfare Veterinary Surgeons, who attended, said: “Lucy was one of welfare vet Kaz’ selections and really impressed us all.

“Lucy was beautifully turned out, pulling a stunning dray of very personal significance to her family. Her owner Matt explained to Kaz how the harness might not be his finest but from buckle to breeching fits her perfectly. Daughter Lolly impressed with her level of horse care knowledge and absorbed every word Kaz said. It was clear she’d make a great vet of the future.”

The full list of winners and runners-up were:

Baloo ridden by Brodie and owned by the Coe family – Rising Star (under 16s) Winner

Harry Potter ridden by Amelia Thompson - Rising Star (under 16s) Winner

Tommy ridden by Kimberly McLeod – Rising Star (under 16s) Winner

Lucifer owned by Carl Blankley – Winner

Raven ridden by Cassie Rose – Rising Star (under 16s) Winner

Bugsy owned by Jade Dixon – Runner Up

Smartie owned by Shanny Clarence - Winner

Anfield the Boss owned by Ross Cordery – Runner Up

Cal owned by Dawn – Best Trotter Winner

Molly and Rosie owned by Tina Harris - Winner

Lucy owned by Matt, Clare and daughter Lolly - Winner

Mustang Sally owned by Joe Davidson - Winner

Blondie owned by John Reddin and family – Rising Star (under 16s) Winner

Ronnie and Reggie owned by Jon O’Neill – Best in Harness Winner

It was the 7th Best at Appleby awards – sponsored by the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association, which provided rosettes and membership for winners. The event took place online last year because of Covid. Since 2015 over 60 awards have now been given out.

Andie McPherson, Campaigns Manager for Redwings who has been coordinating Best at Appleby since its inception, said: 

“Best at Appleby provides a unique way of breaking down some of the barriers that sometimes exist between the horse owners at the Fair and vets and equine welfare officers. Vets get to know horse owners who wouldn’t ordinarily speak with them, and the awards provide the opportunity for some energising conversations about horse welfare at the Fair and beyond.

“As well as the vets, the awards have attracted the involvement of Master Harness Maker and Saddlery Fitter, Chris Taylor, and renowned Farriery Educator, Dean Bland AWCF, both issues which are so important to Fairgoers.

“It was fantastic to see how this year’s Best at Appleby awards were being celebrated online and across the Fair and to be able to raise awareness of the horse health, happiness, and good horsemanship criteria virtually and in person. Every one of these conversations puts good horse care in the hearts and minds of Fairgoers and gives winners more reason to take pride in their award. 

“This year we had more people approaching us to discuss how they could win and previous winners returning to the stand to show how their horse is doing and help us promote the awards and the important work of the welfare charities attending.”

Each winner and runner-up also received a gift from Horslyx and Ragwort Disk, as well as a weigh tape and body condition scoring chart from Redwings.

Find out more about Best at Appleby and help promote horse welfare at the Fair by liking and following on Facebook and Instagram.

We are delighted to welcome The Society of Master Saddlers as a new member this week!

Formed in 1966 to serve as a Trade Association for the craft retail saddler, the Society has since embraced all aspects of the Trade. Their aims are to ensure and achieve a high quality of workmanship through setting standards and overseeing the training of the membership's workforce to give their customers a professional and quantified service.

It continues its work to safeguard the quality of work, services, training and qualifications of all those who work in the saddlery trade through build, repair & fit, to work towards the complete comfort and safety of horse and rider.

Find out more about their work here 🔗 mastersaddlers.co.uk

World Horse Welfare has been announced as the headline sponsor of the research days at the upcoming International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Succeed with Science: Performance, Practice and Positive Partnerships Conference 2022, which will be held at Hartpury University from 10-12 August.

World Horse Welfare has been helping horses for almost 100 years, maintaining a vision for a world where every horse is treated with respect, compassion and understanding. The charity is well regarded for its pragmatic and compassionate work in supporting and improving the horse-human partnership in its many guises. The team consists of a wide range of experts from different backgrounds including horse health and welfare, international development, veterinary science, fundraising and finance, helping to run a hugely effective global charity.

Forming the bulk of a busy schedule, the research days will provide an opportunity for equestrian researchers from around the world to present their most recent findings on a range of equitation science topics to an international audience. ISES 2022 Succeed with Science: Performance, Practice and Positive Partnerships will run as a hybrid conference, allowing delegates to attend in-person or join virtually. Over 190 in-person and 300 online researchers, practitioners, students, veterinary professionals, equine organisations, and industry leaders are expected.

Lorna Cameron, MSc Equitation Science Programme Manager at Hartpury University, said: “We’re delighted to have World Horse Welfare on board as headline sponsor for our exciting research days at this year’s conference. World Horse Welfare is internationally recognised for the work they do to improve the lives of horses, strengthen the relationship between horses and humans, and most importantly educate humans on how better to understand horses. We feel this makes them the perfect fit for our research days and are proud to be partnered with an organisation that shares Hartpury’s values and compassion.”

Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, said: “World Horse Welfare strongly believes in using research to enhance horse welfare and improve the horse-human partnership, so we are proud to sponsor the research days of ISES’ upcoming annual conference. The relationship between horse and rider can only improve when we better understand the impact that we have on our horses and can, as far as possible, base our approaches on evidence.”

Jane Williams, Honorary President of ISES, said: “World Horse Welfare are long term supporters of ISES, and we’re very grateful for their support of our research days and look forward to building on this relationship in future. Both days promise a mix of novel and research and keynote speakers, all experts in their field. Both organisations are committed to ensuring horses enjoy a positive experience when being handled, trained, ridden, driven and in performance, and are dedicated to driving forward the research needed to promote a good life for horses.”

The research days focus on how science can support horse owners, riders and keepers to adopt evidence-informed management, handling and training practices which can enhance horse health, performance and welfare, and promote positive human-horse partnerships. There will also be a day showcasing the transfer of research findings into real life applications and best practices for the equestrian community, sure to ignite lively discussion sessions.

Learn more about:

Carolyn Madgwick, Director of Legislation and Enforcement at The Horse Trust, has been elected as the new Chair of NEWC.

Carolyn joined NEWC as a director in 2019 and has a wealth of expertise in animal health and welfare legislation - providing legislative training and advice to organisations such as the Emergency Services, Local Authorities, vets and other equine charities as well as engaging with Government departments on legislative changes and recommendations. Carolyn strongly believes that equine welfare can be improved through collaboration, practical, enforceable legislation and education. Taking on the role of NEWC Chair is testament to Carolyn’s commitment to promoting the voice of its members and increasing the reach of NEWC to secure its sustainability for the future.

New Vice-Chair, Ruth Court, is the Horse Welfare Manager at Blue Cross and manages the team responsible for supporting equines the charity has out on loan. Ruth joined NEWC as a director in 2017 and leads the successful Rehoming Group Network comprised of representatives from NEWC member charities that are involved in rehoming activities. Ruth is passionate about improving equine welfare and believes strongly in the value of NEWC’s role in the promotion of working in partnership with other charities; sharing resources, knowledge and experience to improve equine welfare with a united voice.

Carolyn replaces equine vet, Nic De Brauwere MRCVS, Head of Welfare and Behaviour at Redwings Horse Sanctuary, who joined NEWC as a director in 2004 before he was appointed Chair in 2009. Announcing the change in senior leadership at the 2022 AGM Nic thanked former Vice-Chair, Claire Gordon, for her outstanding contribution to NEWC and congratulated both Carolyn and Ruth on their new appointments.

NEWC President, Dr David Marlin, also acknowledged Nic and Claire’s “tremendous amount of hard work put into leading NEWC to the position it is in today”.

Carolyn further acknowledged Nic’s “huge experience and commitment to improving and pushing forward equine welfare which has been inspirational and I am grateful that he and Claire will remain active members on the Board and are able to support me in helping to deliver NEWC’s strategy going forward.  NEWC has grown in terms of its strength, reputation and membership during my time on the Board and we have a really strong Board of Directors going forward. Ruth and I will do our best to step up into our new roles”.

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