Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

This Sunday, September 12th, is officially classified as Journée du Cheval in France – Day of the Horse.

More than 1,000 clubs open their doors to horse enthusiasts and amateurs to discover or rediscover the world of the horse.  This year the main emphasis  will be the on  ‘quality of life and good knowledge of the behaviour of horses’.

Why not check out your local Centre Equestre, Club or racetrack to  see whats on this Sunday.


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Princess Haya, in her position as President of the FEI, has spoken out in favour of compulsory microchipping and passporting. Speaking to top European Veterinary officials attending the third European Veterinary Week (EVW) in Brussels today, the FEI President highlighted the need to create a clear distinction between the sport horse as an equine athlete and livestock that is part of the food chain.
“As an industry and as an organisation, we completely support the EU requirement for the now compulsory passports of all equines within the community and the introduction of mandatory microchipping”

The whole FEI article can be read HERE.

At last this issue is being addressed by a wider section of the horse population. To date, those concerned with traceability and identification of equines have been mostly welfare groups and government organisations concerned about the health aspects within the food chain.

With the export of unwanted/unsound British horses to European abattoirs, and the import of well bred but unsound European horses from the abattoirs queues to be sold on as competition horses in the UK, this is a welcome and overdue raising of the topic.

We also support the suggestions for changes to the TPA in this INAGS ARTICLE.

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Within the space of a few weeks I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum of horse welfare from the extreme neglect of the unwanted souls at markets, to the minutest attention to detail paid to the horses behind the scenes at the Saumur 3* 3DE.

After recent outings to several Foires des Chevaux, it was wonderful to be going to a horse event simply for fun, with no intent other than to catch up with old friends and enjoy the competition ……. it’s been a while!

Watching the care received by event horses was just sheer pleasure. Riders not only pay great attention to their charges well-being in general, but also when on the cross country. At Saumur there were concerns about the ground, not only about the turf areas being firm, but also about the pull on the horses’ legs from the sand tracks. UK horses had left fairly chilly weather, so the French heat was an added factor to be considered.

The preparations for each horse before the riders get on takes about an hour. The horse is plaited, groomed, studded, booted, saddled then bridled, with last minute aesthetic touches of quartermarkers and hoof oil completing the picture.

As riders leave the stables, their faces show the focus for the task ahead, the horses march out purposely underneath them, supremely fit and gleaming, full of anticipation for the task ahead.

Grooms and helpers go to the main arena, with the kit for attending to the horses as soon as they finish. After warming up around the showground, the riders arrive at the start, last minute tack adjustments are made and the horses’ legs greased. The tension builds as the starter counts them down, then they’re off and connections wait anxiously, straining to listen for news of the rider on course.

After ten minutes of seeming eternity, suddenly the horse appears over the last fence and into the arena, and all hell is let loose…. tack off, the event vet takes the horse’s temperature, countless buckets of water to wash and scrape again and again, the horse is walked, given a drink, the XC boots come off and the cool boots go on and the horse is kept walking.
5-10 mins after the finish, when the horses temperature will be at it’s highest, yet another vet check to guage pulse rate, respiratory rate and temperature, then more washing, more scraping, more walking, studs out and finally the horse is taken up to the hoses in the calm of the stables to stand under cool running water.

Ice is then put under the boots or bandages to cool the limbs, the horse is throughly checked for any nicks or marks, and then left in the stable to rest with some food.
Any potential problems are treated or avoided with cooling products such as leg ice, various magnetic and pulse therapies and the employment of back and massage specialists. The horses are continually monitored until the stables are shut for the night.

Before the Trot-up

The vet check in the morning is a trot-up on a firm surface to ensure the horses are fit and sound enough to do the show jumping phase on the third day. Only one horse was spun, the riders’ worries having proved unfounded with most horses showing no ill-effects from the previous day.

The CCI3* was won by Germany’s Frank Ostholt on Mr Medicott, and the CIC2* won by France’s Nicolas Touzaint on Neptune de Sartene.

You can see the full results on the SAUMUR site.

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Image taken from Bucks Free Press

The appeal against the sentencing of James Gray and his family was rejected on Wednesday the 12th of May at Aylesbury Crown Court. All sentencing was upheld, with Gray receiving a a lifetime ban from keeping horses, a 26 week prison sentence (sadly the maximum allowed for such an offence) and instructed to pay £400,000 costs. The other four family members had minimum disqualification periods from keeping equines increased from five years to seven.

The sentencing Judge, Judge Tyrer said: What the court has been listening to is a horrendous case of animal cruelty. It is the worst case ever experienced by the RSPCA. In our judgment, this was animal cruelty on a scale that beggars belief.

The trial transcripts of the extent of the cruelty are in this DOCUMENT, and make grim reading.

There is however a twist in the tale, as James Gray has elected not to face his punishment, and has disappeared, with the police now forced to issue a warrant for his arrest as the defending lawyer admitted to having no idea where his client was.
If you see him phone Thames Valley Police urgently on 08458 505 505 or call Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.

We will continue to fight for the animals left to suffer at the hands of people like James Gray. The EU welfare laws are not strong enough to protect equines at the bottom end of the market.
Please support us in our work to monitor and change the situation at markets where dealers like James Gray ply their trade in misery and degradation.

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After wreaking havoc in the north of France, the often fatal condition, atypical myopathy , has now claimed the lives of yet another five horses within a few days in the area of Ham (Somme). Two cases were reported in Saint-Gobain and a third suspected case is near-Frières Faillouël.

Affected animals exhibit symptoms such as weakness, stiffness, difficulty or refusal to move, stand up, sweating localized or generalized, abnormally dark urine, difficult breathing, temperature below 37 ° C. Foals and young horses are most susceptible.

Dr Catherine Neve explained  “I think the disease will still develop. We are in the red zone. All equine professionals are alerted. It is very cold at night and very hot during day, this may be a vector for the disease. “
In the night from Sunday through to Monday, Anne Tardieu from Monchy-Lagache, was forced to have her three horses put to sleep because of this condition. If you notice abnormal behaviour in your horse like the above, or as mentioned in our earlier blog post on Atypical Myopathy and you are in any doubt, call your vet.

French news article

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One horse has tested positive, and 28 horses were Coggins tested on the 8th March for EIA in MONTCARET, DORDOGNE. The horses have been under surveillance since the 25th of February 2010.

This is a very serious notifiable disease with any positive horses facing compulsory slaughter. The symptoms are listed HERE, the second disease on the list.

There is no current indication where the disease may have originated from, or the nature of the premises involved.

Click the link for the WAHID Report

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On 16th February 2010,  a helpless donkey will be dragged onto the streets of Villanueva, Spain to make him participate in a ritual that makes him suffer, where he is ill treated and he endures an unnatural and cruel treatment.

Law 5/2002 from the Animal Protection Act of Extremadura forbids these practices that, regretfully, are still carried out with the Council’s complicity and the silence of the Extremaduran Government and the regional press, that hides from the public eye the true nature of this ritual.

Spanish donkey Sanctuary El Refugio del Burrito, along with other welfare groups worldwide want this Law to be enforced.

The law is supposed to prohibit the use of animals in shows, fights, popular celebrations and any other activities which may imply cruelty or ill treatment or make them the objective of unnatural treatment.  All of these cases happen during the Corrida de Elecciones ritual and it is an obligation of the Council’s to enforce this prohibition.

Please sign this online petition to protect the Peropalo Donkey, which will be handed in the Government headquarters in a demonstration that will take place in Merida at the beginning of February.

More information can be found here:

El Refugio del Burrito

Pero Palo


Telegraph article

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