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A horse of your own is great fun and can be a uniquely rewarding experience, so long as the horse is kept happy and healthy. This is the message that will be highlighted during the first Equine Welfare Week, from 8th to 16th September, sponsored by Fort Dodge Animal Health.

The week is part of the Jeep National Riding Festival, which is already doing a great deal to boost riding with school visits and the famous mechanical horse, Trigger. An increasing number of people are becoming horse owners for the first time and Welfare Week aims to raise awareness of what it takes to keep a horse and to encourage responsible horse ownership. Incidences of neglect are distressing for all concerned and so often occur through lack of knowledge. Information leaflets will be distributed throughout the country during Welfare Week to provide basic information on horse care and where to get further help. Subjects covered include feeding, shelter, farriery, worming and veterinary care. The leaflets, together with a more detailed booklet covering all aspects of equine care will be available at the various events being held as part of the Jeep National Riding Festival.

Fort Dodge Animal Health, manufacturers of leading horse wormer EQUEST®, winner of the 2001 Your Horse Award for the Horse Health Product of the year, and number 1 range of horse vaccines DUVAXYN®, are committed to supporting the improved care of horses and ponies in the UK. Helen Barnes, Equine Business Unit Manager of Fort Dodge Animal Health, comments "we are pleased to be supporting this first ever Equine Welfare Week. Owning a horse is a huge responsibility, as well as a significant financial investment so the last thing any horse owner wants is to have an unhealthy horse that they cannot ride. We see this Welfare Week as a great opportunity to educate horse owners about the importance of regularly worming and vaccinating their horse as a matter of course."

Equine charities have pulled together in support of Welfare Week, seeing an opportunity to work towards improved equine care as well as carrying out their rescue and recuperation operations. The British Horse Society (BHS) in association with The Home of Rest for Horses have produced the comprehensive Horse Care Booklet, which will be widely distributed.

Welfare Week will be launched at Madness 2001, organised by The International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH). With an equestrian and welfare theme, plus sky diving and other attractions, this will be a fun day out for all the family on 9th September near Brackley, Northants. On the 8th September, the BHS will hold a Responsible Ownership Day at their rescue centre at Oxhill, Warwickshire. Redwings, Friends of Bristol Horses Society and The Donkey Sanctuary are all organising events and a wide range of activities, including open days, seminars, lectures and demonstrations will take place at welfare centres and colleges throughout the country. There are even Hunter Trials, Le Trec and a race night.

For more information about Welfare Week, call 01903 893312 or e-mail

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