• Christine Keate

HRH The Princess Royal visits BHS Healthcare Clinic

Vice-Patron of The British Horse Society (BHS), The Princess Royal visited a BHS Healthcare and Education Clinic on 30 September, which was part of an ongoing campaign to help and advise owners whose horses may be vulnerable or, at risk of indiscriminate breeding.

The BHS regularly run clinics in collaboration with British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) along with support from several other equine charities and Zoetis, who supplied worming products.

The aim of The BHS is to improve welfare through education and to reduce numbers of horses that need be rescued. Equine rescue centres are at full capacity, so the BHS Healthcare Clinics are an important measure to help break the cycle of neglect and, to improve the welfare of horses. The clinics provide an opportunity to offer education, advice and, support on a huge range of issues, while allowing BHS experts to engage with and build lasting relationships with people in the local communities, many of whom may not have communicated previously with authorities or equine charities.

Britain’s equine overpopulation crisis is the root cause of many equine welfare problems. The BHS aims to decrease the number of foals born due to indiscriminate breeding where the foal’s future welfare is potentially at risk. With the support of BEVA Trust volunteer vets and, an extensive list of supportive organisations, the Healthcare Clinics offer horse owners general health checks, castration, hoof care, worming and dentistry, at a reduced cost. This is not an open event and to create the largest impact support is targeted in welfare hotspots around the UK. The BHS Welfare team offer education, advice, and support on a huge range of issues, including ensuring horse owners are compliant with Equine ID legislation by offering a passport and microchip service.

Gemma Stanford, Director of Welfare, said: “We are thrilled that our Vice-Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, could join us at this Healthcare Clinic to see first-hand how we are able to support horse owners. We were pleased to see 21 horses at the clinic at Ashford Cattle Market. With a growing number of horses in rescue centres and being abandoned, this is a proactive approach to the problem. All horses received a health check on the day, with many of them having never been seen by a vet before. The BHS believe prevention is better than cure and we promote horse welfare by educating, advising, and supporting horse owners and carers, to prevent welfare issues. Horses are suffering because we do not have enough knowledgeable and experienced owners to look after them.”

Julian Samuelson, BEVA Trust Chair said: “Our BEVA Trust volunteers show a real passion for horse welfare.

We are immensely proud that HRH The Princess Royal has shown such an interest in our work and her level of engagement and understanding is truly impressive. We thank her for taking the time to visit our clinic today.”

Since launching the campaign in 2015, the BHS have held 30 clinics and seen 1399 horses, 643 of which were castrated.


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