The UK Human-Equine Interaction Register

You may be aware that a register of practitioners offering Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning is being created, with a proposed launch date at the end of 2021 - the Human Equine Interaction Register UK (HEIR). The aim is to provide governance and credibility across the industry and it is currently at the consultation stage.

As part of this process, there is a short survey ➡️ surveyhero.com/c/HEIRUK ⬅️ where stakeholders can indicate what form they think this should take - views are welcome from across the sector.

The survey is open until 31/10 & takes 10 minutes to complete - if you haven't already done so, please make your views known to ensure that the register is a valuable resource.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has launched a nationwide survey to find out more about people’s experiences of taking on their first-ever horse or pony.

Taking on the care of a horse for the first time is a memorable milestone and the charity is keen to discover why, when and how individuals made the exciting move from riding lessons or helping out with friends’ horses, to shouldering the responsibility for one of their own.

Past and present horse owners now have until 18th November to fill in the questionnaire, entitled the ‘My First Horse’ survey, which Redwings hopes will act as a nostalgic trip down memory lane for many.

To find out more and to take the survey, visit – survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90383102/46ed7eff18cf

The project is being supported by equestrian brands Equilibrium and Spillers, who have both donated items for a prize draw that all those who complete the survey can choose to enter, with a grand prize bundle including an Equilibrium Massage Mitt Hotspot and a Spillers branded saddlecloth, voucher and other goodies.

The launch of the new survey coincides with World Mental Health Day, taking place this Sunday 10th October, reflecting the significant contribution horses can make to a person’s physical and mental health.

Andie McPherson, Redwings’ Campaigns Manager, said: “We have a lot to learn about the thought processes and preparations involved when someone takes on their first horse.

“We know that horses can have a hugely positive impact in people’s lives but there’s a concern that not getting the right horse for you, or not having support as a new owner, could increase risks to the wellbeing of both horse and human.

“We’re keen to find out more so we can help support people at this exciting, but sometimes daunting, stage of their equestrian journey.”

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has launched a brand-new podcast to share stories of their rescued horses and donkeys, and conversations with their expert rescuers and carers.

This #InternationalPodcastDay on 30th September, the charity is celebrating by announcing its podcast series, called Sounds of the Sanctuary.

The weekly podcast takes listeners on a journey through the Sanctuary, with a spotlight each week on a rescued resident and their care, plus conversations with the vets, nurses, carers and support teams who make it possible.

Listeners can expect to go behind the scenes and discover more about Redwings’ facilities normally closed to the public, such as its specialist Reception Centre for new arrivals, Horse Hospital, Behaviour Centre and Rehoming Centres.

The charity has also produced a sister podcast, called Field Notes, involving sit down chats with Redwings’ experienced team, delving deeper into the equine care and welfare issues they frequently encounter and sharing their top tips along the way, from worming to land management, basic training to creating the perfect paddock.

The first three episodes of Sounds of the Sanctuary and Field Notes are already available to download from all major streaming platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The most recent episode features an update on Phoenix, the foal who was left with life-threatening burns after an arson attack, as his vet shares the latest news on his progress.

New episodes of Sounds of the Sanctuary will be released on Mondays, and Field Notes on Wednesdays. Listeners can also subscribe to the series to ensure they never miss an episode.

Redwings Communications Manager, Stephanie Callen, said: “We’re so excited to share this project with everyone. The Redwings podcast presents a chance to hear directly from our hard-working equine welfare teams and meet our rescued residents – so it’s straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak!

“From the vets and nurses who help our rescued horses back onto their hooves, to the carers and maintenance teams who tend to their daily care, and the rehoming teams who find them loving new homes - this podcast brings a unique insight into life at the Sanctuary which we hope will be enjoyable to Redwings fans, new supporters and horse owners alike!”

To find out more about Redwings’ new podcast and the Sanctuary’s work, please visit redwings.org.uk.

The University of Edinburgh and the Equine Grass Sickness Fund are launching a continuing professional development (CPD) online course on 1st November 2021.

The course explores all aspects of the often-fatal disease, Equine Grass Sickness (EGS). An understanding of the aetiology, epidemiology and difficulties with veterinary diagnosis gives horse owners an understanding of disease development. 

The nursing of chronic cases also has its challenges and the course gives information on nursing horses in the equine hospital environment and tips for nursing and ongoing rehabilitation of a horse at home. 

There are some risk factors for the disease that have been identified, which may help reduce the risk of the disease occurring, until the elusive cause is found.

The course costs £120 for 3 months access and 35 CPD hours. It can be undertaken at your own pace and includes lectures with audio recording, videos, a reading list containing peer reviewed open access journal articles and voluntary self-test quizzes. Information on how you can get involved with future research is also included.

Find out more and enrol via: edin.ac/vet-egs-cpd

Together we will seek the cause and reduce the risk of EGS!

We are very happy to welcome Equine Market Watch Sanctuaries (UK) as a new member of NEWC!

EMW-UK is a registered Charity based in Herefordshire which provides a gentle, safe place for equines in need of sanctuary. The Charity aims to re-home equines where possible and maintains a maximum numbers policy that allows a high standard of care. They have developed a network of foster carers and loan homes where equines can be placed if they can continue to do a useful job of work.

EMW-UK are active in campaigning for improvements in equine welfare across the UK and are supported by an excellent team of volunteers and equine specialists who give their time and expertise to the Charity.

Visit equinemarketwatch.org.uk to find out more about their work.

Applications for WELFARE grants from the Petplan Charitable Trust (PPCT) are now OPEN. The deadline for applications is Friday 10th December 2021.

If you are a registered charity, you’re invited to register with the PPCT as part of the grant application process (please fill in the form here). Once you’ve created an account you can access a link to the online grant application form.

Grant applications must demonstrate:

o A direct benefit to one or more of the species supported by Petplan Ltd (i.e. dogs, cats, horses and rabbits). Grants to human charities will be considered when it can be clearly demonstrated that the grant will enhance/give support to the animals’ best interests.

o Education is seen as an important role for the welfare arm of the Charitable Trust and requests for funding for education in animal welfare will be considered.

o Animal ‘assisted therapy’ charities will be considered, however, there is a requirement to detail the current and future (long term) welfare needs of the animals. Staff abilities and training will be important factors.

o Applications are given preference when the animal welfare benefit is clearly demonstrated.

The Trust’s full terms and conditions can be viewed here - please ensure that you read, understand and comply with these before applying.

Strangles Awareness Week will return in 2022 after this year’s campaign reached more than two million people across the world.

Over 180 Ambassadors, including equestrians, livery yards, riding centres, vet practices and equine professionals, signed up to share messages through social media during the Week, which ran from 3rd to 9th May 2021, with the aim of raising awareness amongst horse owners of the world’s most commonly diagnosed infectious equine disease.

For the first time, international equine and veterinary organisations, including Sweden’s National Veterinary Institute and its 20 member organisations, the Royal GD and MSD Animal Health in the Netherlands, and the University of Melbourne and the Equine Veterinarian membership body in Australia also supported the Week.

In all, more than 310,000 people were reached online, while a further 2.5 million readers received the Week’s messages through articles in worldwide equine and veterinary publications.

Organisers are now encouraging even more people from across the equine community to show their interest in becoming Ambassadors ready for next year’s campaign, which will take place from 2nd to 8th May 2022.

Ambassadors will join a mailing list to receive exclusive Strangles Awareness Week content for their social media channels, as well as guidance on how to share their own experiences of the disease and encourage others to speak up too.

Strangles Awareness Week began in 2020 and is a unique collaborative effort between The British Horse Society, Intervacc, Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Scotland’s Rural College’s Premium Assured Strangles Scheme (PASS), Surveillance of Equine Strangles (SES) and World Horse Welfare, who have brought together their decades’ worth of expertise of either caring for horses with Strangles, supporting those coping with outbreaks or research into the disease.

Andie McPherson, Redwings’ Campaigns Manager, said: “This year we saw almost three times as many Ambassadors taking part in Strangles Awareness Week – from livery yard managers to vets, from farriers to professional equestrians. It shows that Strangles affects all corners of the equine community and how we can all lend our voices to help raise better awareness. 

“One in three Ambassadors from this year’s campaign also commented that they had never or rarely posted about Strangles on their social media pages prior to the Week so it gave them a platform to proactively raise the topic with their followers and clients and start constructive conversations around the disease’s prevention and management.”

It is hoped that next year’s Strangles Awareness Week, if Covid-19 restrictions continue to be lifted, will provide an opportunity for livery yards, equine education facilities and vet practices to host events, such as client evenings, talks and demonstrations, as well as raise awareness online. Ambassadors will be supported with activity suggestions, editable presentations and promotional materials to help them advertise their events, with more details to be released nearer the time.

Anyone wishing to sign-up as an Ambassador for Strangles Awareness Week 2022 and be kept up-to-date with the latest news from the campaign can email campaigns@redwings.co.uk.

A rescued foal who suffered horrific burns as the result of an apparent arson attack is continuing to fight for his life at Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

The seven-week-old colt, named Phoenix, arrived at the charity’s Horse Hospital in Norfolk this week having spent over a fortnight receiving emergency care at Lingfield Equine Vets, who are nearby to where he was discovered.

Phoenix was found near Sevenoaks in Kent on the evening of 3rd August and taken to the vets for immediate treatment. The whereabouts of his mother is unknown.

Poor Phoenix had burns across one whole side of his body resulting in him losing most of his foal hair and his mane, and leaving him with incredibly painful sores.

Having worked closely with agencies, such as the RSPCA, veterinary practices and other welfare organisations, in the area for many years, Lingfield contacted Redwings soon after his arrival to see if the Sanctuary could offer the little foal a home if he pulled through.

Nic de Brauwere, Redwings’ Head of Welfare & Behaviour and NEWC Chairman, said: “It’s heart-breaking that anyone would target any animal, but particularly such an innocent foal with such a barbaric act of cruelty. Luckily, he ended up at Lingfield who have given him every chance to survive. Phoenix’s condition was very touch and go for a few days, but he started to respond to treatment - his progress no doubt helped by his strong little character and the affection and skill of his carers at Lingfield.

Even if he pulled through his initial treatment, it was clear he would need to be somewhere that could provide long-term intensive care, as well as a new permanent home, so we were only too happy to help. We decided to fund his treatment at Lingfield, and only once he was strong enough to cope well with the journey, was he carefully transported to the Redwings Horse Hospital by our team.”

Phoenix is currently receiving around-the-clock care in the ICU stables at Redwings, and a mare named Mildred, who is a permanent resident at the Sanctuary, has been housed in the neighbouring stable to provide him with company and act as his surrogate mother in time.

Senior Veterinary Surgeon Nicky Jarvis, Redwings’ Head of Veterinary Services, said: “His skin will take an extensive amount of time to heal and we expect him to be left with a lot of scarring. His burns cover the whole left side of his body, including his legs, and they’re obviously very painful as he struggles to lie down in his stable. Our focus now is making sure his wounds are cleaned and dressed frequently and to help ease his discomfort with pain relief, which is happening around-the-clock thanks to the dedication of our wonderful vets and nurses here at Redwings.

Phoenix still has a long way to go – while his condition is stable, he is certainly not out of the woods yet – but happily he is eating and drinking well, he appears alert and is super-friendly despite his ordeal. We’re keeping all our fingers crossed for him.”

Redwings and its skilled vet team are funded entirely by donations from the public. 

To support little Phoenix in his recovery, please text RESCUE 20 to 70085 to donate £20 (texts cost the donation amount plus one standard rate message), call 01508 481000 or visit www.redwings.org.uk/donate.

Farrier, Dean Bland, of Well Equine is inviting participants from the equine sector to contribute to a research project supporting welfare assessment of hoof distortion associated with equine inactivity and neglect of farriery provision.

Despite the prevalence of foot health compromises in welfare descriptions, there is currently no visual grading scale for the hoof distortion observed in equine populations in the UK. This study proposes to develop a visual grading scale and measure its impact on the repeatability and reproducibility of data collection for welfare assessment.

Participation will help explore the opportunities a visual grading scale for hoof distortion can offer the welfare assessment process, contributing to improved understanding and description of suboptimal welfare, and the welfare of horses.  

Interested parties will be invited to participate in a short online workshop that includes the assessment of case studies and training in the use of a visual grading scale for hoof distortion.   

Please follow the links below to find out more about getting involved:

Well Equine Research
Participant Guide and Consent Form

Or contact Dean Bland directly at: dean@wellequine.co.uk

Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust is trying to contain the outbreak within its 450-hectare site

Visitors of Dartmoor are being urged to stay away from its native ponies to help stop the spread of a vicious new strain of strangles.

Ponies have already been known to suffer from the highly contagious infection, and now the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust is putting a firewall around the 450-hectare site it leases from Forestry England at Bellever to try and protect its herd of 27 ponies which they hope will prevent the infection from spreading further to other herds on the moors.

The site is very popular with visitors but with ponies at Haytor and Widecombe already infected it is urging the public to stay away from its ponies and horse riders to stay out of Bellever.

The charity’s CEO Dru Butterfield said: “The neighbouring newtake to the land we lease has contracted strangles, this strain is particularly nasty.

"We are devastated that our herd, which we go to such extreme measures to care for are now almost certain to contract this terrible infection.

“We urge the public to avoid any contact with our ponies and to please enjoy them from a distance.

"If you are a horse owner we would ask you to avoid Bellever until we provide an all-clear notice.”

The DPHT is working closely with leading veterinary experts and the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society in the hope it can prevent more ponies from suffering.

If you see a pony with a snotty nose, coughing or with abscesses please keep away but report the incident to Karla McKechnie Dartmoor Livestock Protection Officer on 07873587561.

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