NEWC welcomes Racing to Relate as new member

NEWC is delighted to welcome Racing to Relate as a new member this week! Founded in 2019, Racing To Relate (R2R) is a racing charity established to focus on post-racing careers for Thoroughbreds in Equine Assisted Services (EAS) for the benefit of people with mental and physical disabilities.

R2R hope to create a global standard for off-track Thoroughbreds within the Equine Assisted Services and focuses specifically on researching, facilitating and disseminating international industry-level support for Thoroughbreds within EAS.  Their methodologies include the study of animal behaviour and welfare research, specially commissioned international pilot schemes, as well as analysis and strong evidence-based storytelling about the use of off-track Thoroughbreds within the wider EAS context.

R2R's strategic aims include:

One of R2R's priorities is to gain a better understanding of the diverse ways in which horses are already incorporated into programmes to assist people, and how former racehorses might fit more into this picture in the future so that evidence-based guidelines can be developed on selection and retraining for EAS in collaboration with the Racing, Retraining and EAS sector.  

To find out more about their work, visit: racingtorelate.org

RAMP is a voluntary register of professionals who have signed up to take responsibility to attain and maintain gold standards of practice in animal musculoskeletal treatment. Professionals trained in Chiropractic, Osteopathic and Physiotherapy techniques are regarded here as one occupation - i.e. animal musculoskeletal practitioners.

The Register is designed to help veterinary surgeons and animal owners choose competent professionals providing Chiropractic, Osteopathic and Physiotherapy techniques for the treatment of their animals.

RAMP is led by senior practitioners from the Physiotherapy, Osteopathy and Chiropractic fraternity, plus two Veterinary Surgeons and one layperson. All have experience in working at national committee level and are highly committed to RAMP and its vision for the highest quality of care for animals around the UK.

All work voluntarily for the benefit of animal owners, animal welfare and the professions. Find out more about the register here 🔗 rampregister.org

Be heard and have your say by taking the British Horse Council's Survey now.

Defra’s consultation gives owners a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make our voices heard regarding how we manage our equines’ information in the future. However, it is quite long and technical and for the 750,000 busy equine owners in the UK the British Horse Council have made it even easier to share your views.

Take the British Horse Council's short survey here (6-10 minutes) and your responses will be used to help them complete the full consultation.

If you have time, please complete the full Defra consultation here (30+ minutes).

DEFRA consultation seeks the public’s views on the UK Government's proposals for improving equine identification and traceability in England.

DEFRA’s consultation was launched on 5th April 2022, to seek the public’s views on the UK Government’s proposals for improving equine identification and traceability in England.

DEFRA acknowledges in the consultation that the data on the current Central Equine Database – which should contain up-to-date details of all equines resident in the UK – is inaccurate and incomplete, for a number of reasons, including the fact that horse identification documents (passports) are paper-based.

Among the proposals that DEFRA is consulting on is allowing equine owners and keepers to update their horses’ passport details online or via a smartphone app, free of charge.

Roly Owers, World Horse Welfare Chief Executive commented:

“Ever since the 2013 horsemeat scandal we have highlighted the pivotal importance of a shake-up in equine ID. The current system is simply not working and having a simple, effective digital system is vital to underpin many aspects of the enforcement of animal health and welfare regulations, not least being able to trace a horse suffering from poor welfare back to the person responsible for it.

“DEFRA now has a fantastic window of opportunity to get it right and we encourage anyone connected to horses to take part in the consultation. By so doing, you will have your voice heard and be contributing to a change for the better for horse welfare.”

Anyone in England can respond to the consultation, which launched on April 5th, but World Horse Welfare caution the consultation questions may not be easily accessible due to the technical language used. However, anyone wanting their say will have the ability to share their views through a simpler survey World Horse Welfare helped to develop and being launched by the British Horse Council very shortly. The aim of the survey is to collect the views of all those involved with horses and feed them back into the DEFRA consultation.

The consultation is only for England at this point in time, and World Horse Welfare is working with the equine sector to encourage governmental counterparts in Scotland and Wales to follow suit and develop an integrated, workable and efficient system with linkages between GB and the EU that will drive enforcement on non-compliant equine keepers and movements through an intelligence-led approach, whilst making it far easier for compliant keepers to keep the system up-to-date.

The consultation can be found HERE and details of the British Horse Council/World Horse Welfare survey will be released imminently.  

Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) is holding an event for horse owners to promote Strangles Awareness Week (SAW), and to make owners aware of the dangers of Strangles.

The event is virtual, and will be held from 3 – 4 pm on Thursday 21 April, ahead of SAW on 2- 8 May. 

NEWC Chair and Redwings' Head of Welfare and Behaviour, Nic de Brauwere, has over 30 years of experience treating horses with the disease and will explain how owners can be better prepared to protect their yard 🩺

This talk is a perfect opportunity to check your strangles knowledge is up-to-date and get ready for this year's Strangles Awareness Week. Nic will explain how strangles can inspire us to be better horse keepers and how measures to prevent and reduce the impact of outbreaks can keep us a step ahead of other health issues.

Find out more about the event and register here.

The initial launch of the Human Equine Interaction Register (HEIR) took place on Friday 11th March at The Saddlers Hall, London. HEIR has been launched to HETI members for testing until 30th March and on 31st March it will be opened to the UK sector of practitioners. It is a voluntary register to bring together everyone involved in the field of human equine interaction, ensuring high-quality service provision and creating greater awareness of this field of work. NEWC is currently working with representatives from the HEIR working group on a Code of Practice to protect the welfare of equines involved in Equine Assisted Activities which will be incorporated into the NEWC accreditation process and the HEIR.

Currently, several NEWC members offer Human-Equine Interaction programmes. Throughout the UK the availability of such programmes has increased significantly over the past decade and the scope, size and professional backgrounds of these services vary greatly, with little co-ordination as to standards of practice for service users, practitioners, or equines. The Register seeks to provide trust and confidence in the sector to:

·         Protect and promote providers

·         Protect the participants of the service

·         Protect the equines

It is hoped the HEIR will provide a forum for organisations to work together to have a louder voice across the industry – for example, in government where there is a need to be able to influence. There is no way of knowing how many practitioners there are in the UK, which is one of the reasons that a Register that pulls together all practitioners, whether they are already regulated through a professional body or working in an unregulated sector is needed.

The Register will provide a place where clients, service commissioners and funders can get information and reassurance that the organisation offering human equine interaction services is credible and works to minimum standards. This will not only help protect the services users and welfare of therapy equines but also reassure anyone using these invaluable services that they are working ethically and with the horses’ best interests at heart.

Individual practitioners and organisations on the Register will have submitted documents and evidence to confirm that they align to and meet five criteria:

 More information about the Register can be found here

Equine sector unites to launch emergency appeal to help Ukrainian horses, their owners and carers.

Leading organisations and individuals across Britain’s equestrian community have united to form ‘British Equestrians for Ukraine’ which aims to help horses and their owners caught up in the crisis created by the Russian invasion. The Ukrainian Equestrian Federation has put out an urgent call for supplies on the ground including feed, forage and shavings and with a groundswell of support from the equine industry, there was a clear need to help co-ordinate the offers of assistance from leading brands as well as raise money to fund aid directly where it’s needed most.

Spearheaded by British Equestrian (BEF), The British Horse Society (BHS), the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), British Equine Vet Association (BEVA) and World Horse Welfare with the support of member bodies across the industry, British Equestrians for Ukraine has been set up to help facilitate a supply chain to meet the immediate need for goods on the ground as well as raising money to help purchase supplies and cover the costs associated with transport.

Jim Eyre, British Equestrian Chief Executive commented:

“This is a dire situation, and, alongside the immediate humanitarian crisis, we must do everything we can to prevent the unnecessary suffering of all equines and help those who care for them. We’re fortunate that our equestrian community is blessed with so many willing to help those in need. However, it’s apparent that careful co-ordination is required to make sure urgent goods get to those in need through the correct channels. We hope that we can help facilitate that while urgently raising funds for the emergency requirements and beyond. I’d like to thank all those involved in getting the fund and export effort launched, particularly Alec Lochore, Alice Fox-Pitt, Roly Owers, James Hick and Claire Williams.”

The group’s first action was to facilitate a trusted method for financial contributions, with World Horse Welfare setting up the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund on their website where direct donations can be made by individuals or organisations. Donations, no matter how small, will help the group to work with trusted, local partners, including the Ukraine and Polish Federations and recognised charities to provide emergency support. UK taxpayers can sign up for Gift Aid on their donations which means the fund will receive an extra 25p in every £1 you give, at no extra cost.

Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare said:

“The tragedy unfolding in Ukraine is utterly heart-breaking but there has been such a desire from across Britain to help Ukraine’s horses and those who own or care for them. This fund aims to do just that and, along with the British Horse Society, we have donated to the appeal, and would encourage others to do the same.

“Without doubt there will be huge challenges to effectively target funds where they are most needed, so we will strive to work through a network of trusted local partners in what is clearly such an unsettled and rapidly evolving situation.”

The group is also working with leading equestrian brands and BETA members to coordinate offers of the urgently required goods and then match them with planned haulage trips to the Polish logistics hub established by the Ukrainian and Polish Equestrian Federations. This way the group can ensure lorries are leaving British shores full, with the right supplies and correct exportation documentation to expedite the goods getting into Poland and on to Ukraine.

Executive Director of BETA, Claire Williams, praised the efforts so far:

“What has been achieved in such a short time shows what we are able to do by working together. Shipments of hay and bedding are already on their way, but the logistics due to Brexit are challenging. Feed companies with distributors and stock on the Continent are stepping up to assist while others who are experienced exporters are committing supplies to be sent over either through shared loads or direct with their usual hauliers. Other companies who are not in a position to send product have also pledged cash donations to the new fund.”

How the equine community can help via British Equestrians for Ukraine

Any product supplied will need to be accompanied by export documentation and should not require export health certificates.

The group does not recommend that private individuals collect donations of goods or equipment and/or attempt to transport them to Europe themselves unless they have extensive experience of exporting goods. There are significant logistical barriers and the required exportation documentation for mixed loads is extensive plus the inherent costs associated with the trip could become prohibitive.

James Hicks, BHS Chief Executive, added:

“We have been shocked by the events unfolding in Ukraine and as a charity that is here for all horses and people who care for them, we wanted to help, and we know many of our members and supporters also want to help during this incredibly difficult time. By collectively coming together we have launched a dedicated fund and The British Horse Society will be making a donation, we would encourage anyone who feels that they can afford to donate to do so. These are unprecedented times and just these small actions we’re taking will make a difference.”

You can donate to the emergency appeal here.

Horse owners are being urged to take part in this year’s Strangles Awareness Week (SAW) – which aims to educate people about the dangers of the highly contagious equine disease strangles and help to prevent an outbreak.

Leading equine welfare charities, vets, researchers and higher education institutions from around the world* have come together to organise the week which is now in its third year and taking place between 2nd – 8th May.

This year, owners are being asked to take the ‘Temperature Check Challenge’ by taking their horse’s resting temperature each day and inputting the reading into a free online checker which will help them get to know their horse’s normal range - something that fluctuates by a fraction of a degree through the day according to a range of factors.

People taking the challenge will also be entered into a free prize draw and contribute to a database of temperatures that will help to understand what a normal healthy range is in horses.

A high temperature is an early warning sign that your horse may have been infected with strangles – and will become infectious to other horses - so getting to know what your horse’s ‘normal’* temperature is could prevent an outbreak.

Strangles is the most commonly diagnosed equine disease worldwide with around 600 cases reported in the UK every year and it’s hoped that it will be recognised as an equine disease of international risk by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) this year. Symptoms of the contagious respiratory illness range from laboured breathing, difficulty eating and depression, to a high fever, thick nasal discharge and painful abscesses. In severe cases strangles can pose a risk to the horse’s life.

Andie McPherson, Chairperson of SAW and Campaigns Manager at Redwings Horse Sanctuary, said: “The Temperature Check Challenge aims to build awareness of the importance of this vital sign of horse health as well as give horse owners confidence in taking their horse’s temperature – which is done using a digital thermometer placed in the rectum.

“This is something that requires a bit of preparation on the part of horse owners if it isn’t yet part of your usual routine – and we know that for most horse owners it isn’t. To help with the process, we’ve produced a SAW thermometer that people can purchase for just £5 and guidance on how to take your horse’s temperature safely for the first time.

“During SAW, people can upload their horse’s resting temperature into our free online temperature checker and it will calculate the average based on the number of entries uploaded for each horse.  As well as challenging themselves to get used to taking temperature from their horse, the Temperature Check Challenge will help owners know what is normal for their horse. If a high temperature is added the checker will notify the owner to look for other signs of ill health, check again later and consider speaking to a vet for advice.

“A high temperature is often the earliest sign that a horse is unwell. It can mean the presence of infection and inflammation for a range of reasons, but in the case of strangles, spotting fever can mean the difference between one horse infected or many.”

A strangles outbreak can be financially and emotionally devastating for owners and equestrian businesses with horses often remaining infectious for several weeks, resulting in costly and lengthy quarantine procedures with the potential for a temporary closure of livery yards and the cancellation of events. Meanwhile, the cost of a thermometer and building in a regular routine of checking for fever on moving yards or return from events is comparatively inexpensive and, as it could indicate inflammation and explain poor performance issues, has benefits far beyond the identification of strangles.

Dave Rendle, British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Junior Vice President and Chair of the BEVA Health and Medicines Committee, said: “BEVA are very pleased to support another Strangles Awareness Week and to see new initiatives being developed to prevent the spread of strangles and other infectious diseases. BEVA would urge every horse owner and yard owner to discuss infectious disease control with their vet and to have plans and protocols in place. It is essential that horse owners are familiar with practical measures such as temperature checking so that they can identify infectious diseases such as strangles before they can spread. The Temperature Check Challenge is a great way to become more familiar with temperature checking.”

If you’re a horse owner, yard manager, vet or equine professional and would like to join a list of ambassadors to help promote the SAW through social media, please sign up here or email campaigns@redwings.co.uk

To find out more about Strangles Awareness Week, the Temperature Check Challenge and other ways to get involved, please follow the SAW Facebook page or go to www.redwings.org.uk/strangles/strangles-awareness-week

* Normal range varies, and we hope the Temperature Check Challenge will contribute to greater consistency in the message about healthy normal range.

We are delighted to welcome the British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association (BFBA) as new members of NEWC.

The BFBA exists to represent, and be the voice of, the professional farrier whilst supporting and enabling farriery and blacksmithing members throughout their careers.

Their aims are -

The BFBA encourages every UK registered farrier, farriery apprentice, blacksmith and blacksmithing student to join their Association.

Find out more about the BFBA here - forgeandfarrier.co.uk

Donkeys across the world could experience better welfare, thanks to a new innovative free online learning platform from The Donkey Sanctuary.

Developed and run by donkey experts, The Donkey Academy has the potential to reach tens of thousands of people across the globe, providing comprehensive, up-to-date knowledge on donkey welfare.

Courses range from foundation to more advanced levels, providing a huge range of educational courses for donkey and mule owners, universities, veterinary colleges, carers and professionals alike.

Subjects for the courses cover a wide range of areas, from donkey behaviour and respiratory disease to donkey dentistry and hoof care.

A collaboration between The Donkey Sanctuary and Equitarian Initiative developed the first-ever online curriculum for universities focused on welfare and preventive medicine for working equids.

Joao Rodrigues, Lead for Welfare Assessment at The Donkey Sanctuary, adds: “Having the opportunity to provide training, knowledge and skills to these students, who live in a region heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, was an incredible experience.

“The students were training to be general veterinarians, but their curriculum contained almost no courses on equid medicine, despite a large number of working equids in the region.

“We hope that with this online course, these vets will now have the tools to help these animals and support the communities that rely on them.”

Fiona Cooke, The Donkey Sanctuary Head of Research, says: “All of our courses are built and developed by our experts in donkey care and welfare.

“They are developed based on the most up-to-date scientific knowledge and the expertise of people who have been working with donkeys and mules in many different contexts for many years.

“We understand the different needs of our audiences, so we are making sure that everyone can access the information that is relevant to them and the donkeys that they care for, work with or wish to know more about.”

For more information and to register for access to the courses, visit The Donkey Academy

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