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Winter 2014 - An interesting article on “Why would you want to feed your horses Turmeric?” click here


Please note the following correction to rule 6 of the 2014 National show rules.  The clause should read that Influenza vaccinations are recommended (not required). Please accept our apologies for this administrative error.  If you have any queries contact the Show Manager, thank you from the Directors.


PSSM Updates
For the latest updates on PSSM please refer to the University of Minnesota -

These details have come to us via the BHS - any questions please contact the British Horse Society directly.

You may have seen the recent news stories concerning an outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV 1) in Gloucestershire. Two horses have been shown to have the neurological form of the disease and one the respiratory form. It appears that others are also showing signs but have yet to be definitively diagnosed.

Although not a legally notifiable condition, EHV 1 is contagious and does have the potential to be quite a serious disease. Indeed, the neurological form can lead to paralysis. In most cases, EHV 1 is spread via respiratory transmission so wherever horses are brought together from different yards there is the possibility for the disease to spread if one of the horses present is affected. For this reason the Heythrop have very responsibly suspended hunting for a week.

It is important to be aware that the risk of your horse contracting EHV 1 is very small and there is certainly no need to panic. However, as with any disease, spotting it early is the best thing for your horse so the BHS felt it would be useful to provide a short refresher on EHV 1 and its signs. For most people this will just be precautionary information but the recommendation is that anyone who has hunted with the Heythrop since 24 January should put their horse into quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. The same should apply for all horses on the same yard, even if they have not been hunting.

Although aimed at a different disease (Strangles) our STEPS leaflet provides lots of useful information about quarantining and isolating horses.

Many of the clinical signs of EHV 1 can be confused with other diseases. A high temperature is a key indicator and it is essential to monitor the temperature of ‘at risk’ horses. Affected horses will tend to be disinterested and off their food, as well as showing typical respiratory disease signs such as coughing and a nasal discharge. If a horse is affected by the neurological form of the disease you may see some in-coordination or just general ‘wobbliness’.

Should you have any concerns at all that your horse may be affected please contact your vet immediately.

The BHS is part of the group that produces the HBLB Codes of Practice. There is much helpful information about EHV in the Codes which you can access here.

If anyone has any further concerns about EHV or would like more information, please contact our BHS Welfare Team on 02476 840517 or email

January 2013
A new initiative launched by The British Horse Society (BHS), will ensure that no horse owner has to face the loss of their equine companion alone. The charity has introduced the scheme, ‘Friends at the End’, in response to pleas from owners who felt isolated and unsupported during the time every horse lover dreads. Losing any animal is hard but with horses it is often doubly difficult as so few of them pass away naturally.  Owners frequently have to make the decision about when the time has come to end their companion’s life.  Even when this is unquestionably the right thing to do, it often leads to feeling of guilt.

The loss of a horse can have an enormous effect on someone’s entire life.  Going up to the yard twice a day fills a huge amount of time and can form the basis of many horse owners’ social lives. Losing all of this on top of losing your horse knocks many people for six and is made worse by non-horsy friends and family who just don’t understand – ‘buck up, it was only a horse.  It’s not like someone has died’. So it’s no wonder that so many people put off euthanasing their horse.  However, that doesn’t mean it is the best decision for the horse. Sadly, many of the welfare concerns that the BHS receives are about old and much loved horses who have been left to go on for too long and are now suffering.  It might be a cliché but the saying ‘better a week too soon than a day too late’ is true when it comes to horses.
Making the decision is even harder if the horse is not old.  Sometimes, when a horse has a chronic injury or behavioural issues, then it may be necessary to consider euthanasia.  There are scores of other reasons that have been brought into sharp focus by the recession.  More people simply cannot afford to keep field ornaments, yet the horse isn’t suitable to sell on. Many owners assume a charity will be able to take the horse on, but this is hardly ever the case.  Britain’s sanctuaries are struggling to cope with the number of welfare and neglect cases they need to take in and do not have room for any more horses. This is why the BHS has launched Friends at the End.
More than 100 volunteer welfare officers have attended training that will help them support horse owners through the difficult process of saying goodbye. BHS Friends at the End can talk to owners about the options available if they can no longer keep their horse for any reason. It doesn’t have to end in euthanasia and if there are other choices they will help find them. 
If a horse does need to be put the sleep (for whatever reason), BHS Friends will discuss the choices with owners, from the method of euthanasia to what to do afterwards. Many are willing to be there on the day to offer support, and some will even hold the horse if the owner doesn’t feel able. All BHS Friends are Welfare Officers who love horses and know what the owner is going through. It might help to know that if you don’t feel able to be there for your horse’s final moments, there is a horse lover willing to be with them.
Senior Executive (BHS Welfare) Lee Hackett said: “All of our Friends at the End have lost horses themselves and received training from bereavement counsellors so they really do understand the feelings of loss and grief that come when a horse dies. They aren’t there to take the place of a counsellor or vet, but they can offer an extra source of support. At the hardest time in a horse owner’s journey our Friends are available to make it as smooth and straightforward as possible.”

If you feel you might benefit from talking to someone through the Friends at the End scheme, contact BHS Welfare on 02476 840517 or and they’ll put you in touch with your nearest Friend. 

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