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Record attendance at tenth National Equine Forum

Representatives from a record total of 78 separate equestrian organisations attended this year’s National Equine Forum at The Royal Veterinary College, London on 21 March.

The National Equine Forum is the only independent conference for the horse world in the UK. Although not intended to be a lobbying body the Forum strives ultimately to secure change and improvement through government and industry wherever appropriate.

Chaired by Professor Sir Colin Spedding CBE, this year’s Forum welcomed contributions from some of the country’s leading equestrian experts:

Derek Knottenbelt, Head of the Philip Leverhulme Large Animal Teaching Hospital, University of Liverpool: Fell Pony Syndrome

Olof Karlander, Managing Director, Swedish Horse Council Foundation: The Swedish horse industry

Nick Wingfield-Digby BVSc MRCVS, Rossdale and Partners: The selective breeding of the Thoroughbred for soundness

Simon Curtis FWCF, Hon Assoc RCVS, Master of the Worshipful Company of Farriers,: ‘No legs, no horse’

Helen Jacks, Eqvalan Thesis of the Year Winner: The effect of tungsten-carbide stud nails on hoof balance

Alan Delmonte, Communications Manager, The British Horseracing Board: The UK horseracing industry

Anthony Bradley, Chairman, New Forest Working Party of the BHS: New Forest pony problems

Nicholas Bell, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, The Donkey Sanctuary: Donkey respiratory problems

Dr George Jackson OBE, former Chairman, Rare Breeds Survival Trust: Small gene pools

Elliot Morley, Parliamentary Under Secretary, DEFRA, standing in for The Rt Hon Alun Michael MP presented the Government’s view on the equestrian industry. He highlighted DEFRA’s intention to take a partnership approach with the industry, the recent introduction of the Rural Affairs Forum and the launch of the “Your Countryside, You’re Welcome” campaign to encourage people into the countryside.

In the ‘Topical Spot’, which covered issues that the Forum hoped to be able to influence in the future, Kay Driver, Chief Executive BHS outlined the new Rural Affairs Forum set up by DEFRA at the beginning of the year with the intention of “ensuring that the government works closely with rural communities wanting to thrive”. Andrew Finding, Chief Executive BEF detailed the progress of the Equine Passports, Disease Surveillance and Breeding Implementation Planning Team in line with the impending legislation requiring all horses to have passports. Claire Williams, Chief Executive BETA summarised the vital importance of the support of the equestrian community in fighting the far-reaching proposals to radically change the way veterinary medicines such as horse wormers are sold.

For further information on the Forum contact: Pippa Francis, NEF Secretary, telephone: 01295 770400. Email :

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