Posts Tagged ‘Welfare’

A fascinating chiropractic study has been undertaken in two French riding schools. A worrying 74% of horses were found to have severe back problems, with only 26% with mild problems, or unaffected. About 60% of horses had problems in more than one area.

Nineteen horses were examined and assessed at work and rest, and the resulting findings then compared to the way the individual horses had been ridden, and how the riders had been taught.

The problems found in the resting horses correlated directly with both the horses’ demeanour in work, and the manner in which the horses were ridden. Significant differences in teaching styles between the schools showed a markedly different impact on the rider and horse posture.

A very brief summary of the data suggests that one of the schools focussed on control of the horses more than riders’ posture and technique. This in turn produced riders with higher heel positions and shorter reins/higher hand postitions, causing the horses’ way of going to be hollow backed with a high head carriage. All the horses in this school were found to have back problems.
The second school concentrated on rider posture, and lower heel position and longer reins allowed the horses to work with a low head carriage and round neck, which caused much less negative impact on the vertebrae, with a proportion of horses without back problems. The study also touched on the behavioural problems associated with back pain, such as head shaking and aggression.

It’s good to see such a study undertaken, lets hope that the message is received and acted upon.

The full study is HERE


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Earlier this month we were told of a couple of horses in dept 82 in bad condition. The person who went out to the location reported that one horse had apparently vanished, and the other was indeed very skinny, tethered and being fed mouldy hay.

We immediately alerted the DDSV whilst the horse was kept horse under surveillance from a local volunteer. Thankfully the hay was soon swapped for better quality hay. Today we heard back from a DDSV inspector who had been out to visit the horse and spoken to the owners. His assesment was that the horse had access to water,  good hay and was tethered on a long line. Apparently the horse is extremely old, has no illness and does have a stable that they use to bring him in to.

At the moment all we can do is keep an eye on his condition, especially with winter approaching. Hopefully now the owners know that the authorities are aware of their horse they will start to be a bit more attentive

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Sometimes, getting welfare cases resolved can be a lengthy and frustrating process for all concerned, as we have have to work within the complicated realms of French law. The latest good news is that we have had confirmation from the DDSV (17) that the little shetland pony with overgrown feet blogged here has finally been attended to by a farrier.

Dealing with welfare cases is a vital part of our work, but they can also use up a lot of our resources with inspections, communications with the authorities, registered letters and legal assistance.

The latest welfare case to be reported to ERF was the plight of this old and extremely thin grey horse. This is now being dealt with the DDSV for that department who we will be corresponding with for updated information.


Please help us to continue being able to help these equines by considering donating, fundraising or becoming an ERF member – Thank you        

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At the end of January we were alerted to a horse in dept 24 which was severely malnourished looking. The relevant authorities were immediately alerted and worked very quickly in locating an owner. It appeared that the horse was very old (thirties)  and could not eat properly due to missing teeth and an abscess on the side of her face.

Yesterday, sadly the horse was spotted covered up under a tapestry rug in the field, and from the location we suspect he had finally been put to sleep.

All too often owners leave elderly horses to suffer in their final years when actually to have them euthanised once their quality of life has diminished to such an extent is a far kinder option.


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Last week ERF were alerted to a horse that had been found roaming around a field and  had been taken to the safety of an local family’s paddock whilst a owner was sought. ERF went out and took photos of the horse and treated some minor health problems that were apparent. We advised that the Gendarmes and Maire should be informed, the people had already enquired within the local community to no avail. After 3 weeks since first being found, a gentleman, who had been asked if the horse was his in the beginning, came forward after realising the person that he was paying to look after his horse hadn’t actually noticed it had gone missing all these weeks! Owner and horse were happily reunited and the horse has now found a lovely lady to look after him for the rest of his days.


ERF will always do their utmost to respond to any welfare call- to be able to continue to do this we desperately need to raise funds as we receive no government funding or sponsorship.  If you can help in any way please get in touch-Thank you

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Last September we had a report of a pony having extremely overgrown hooves. The pony’s condition apart from the hooves was very good. After contacting the local Maire of the commune, we found out who owned the pony and approached the owner to see if we could help. (more…)

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Last year we were alerted to the case of a Shetland in dept. 17 that had severely overgrown feet.


As the Maire had already been contacted we spoke to the SPA who contacted a more local organisation to take the case on. Unfortunately we now know no action was taken, and when the original person who reported it told us this we immediately started communications with the DDSV to get something done. Last week we were contacted by the DDSV for that department to inform us that they had been out, and that the owner has now been notified to take action to rectify the pony’s condition. We will of course be following this up shortly to find out what improvements have been made.

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