Brexit to take centre stage at Britain’s equine forum

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Brexit will be a hot topic at this year’s 25th National Equine Forum (NEF) in Britain, when representatives from every strata of the equestrian industry come together for friendly, non-partisan debate.

The potential impact on the horse industry of Britain’s exit from the European Union will be at the forefront of discussion, as well as the equine database, the UK Thoroughbred Health Network, tack, bits and welfare. The prestigious Sir Colin Spedding Award will also be presented at the forum, on Thursday, March 2 at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London.

Government officials, vets and equestrian industry leaders are among those who will attend the forum, which aims to inform, educate and help the industry to speak with the united strength of one voice on topical matters affecting the current and future management and wellbeing of the horse.

The morning session on the horse industry, government and policy will commence with the Defra view from Lord Gardiner, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity. Stewart Everett, from the Equine Register will follow with an update on the Central Equine Database.

What might EU exit mean for the horse industry will be the focus for a potentially lively panel discussion between policy, sport, racing and trade representatives, chaired by Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare.

Dr Tim Parkin Senior Lecturer in Equine Clinical Sciences at the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine, will present the Memorial Lecture on the role of the Thoroughbred Health Network (THN) in the UK.  These lectures are given each year and link to past winners of the Sir Colin Spedding Award.  In 2015 Paul Greeves, former Executive Director and Keeper of the General Stud Book at Weatherbys, won the award.  During his time at Weatherbys Greeves keenly supported the use of science to underpin developments within the Thoroughbred. This is reflected in the role of the THN as much of the data provided for their epidemiological work comes from Weatherbys.

The afternoon includes a themed session entitled Tack: an anatomical perspective. Dr Sue Dyson, head of clinical orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust centre for equine studies, will discuss tack fit and its impact on the horse and Dr Caroline Benoist, manager of research and education, Neue Schule Ltd, will look at bitting and the welfare and comfort of the horse.

The British Horse Society's new educational programme "Changing Lives through Horses" will be discussed at the National Equine Forum.
The British Horse Society’s new educational programme “Changing Lives through Horses” will be discussed at the National Equine Forum.

The afternoon will also feature British Horse Society Chief Executive Lynn Petersen speaking about the organisation’s new educational programme “Changing Lives through Horses”, which aims to support people to develop the skills, and the desire, to return to education and/or employment.

In addition there will be several topical slots interspersed throughout the day and the winner of the Sir Colin Spedding Award will be announced and the award presented. This award was established in 2013 in recognition of the late Professor Sir Colin Spedding’s services to the equine sector – most especially founding the National Equine Forum and Chairing it for 19 years.

The National Equine Forum is organised by a committee reflecting various sectors of the equestrian industry and has as its President HRH The Princess Royal. It is sponsored by Bedmax, the Blue Cross, British Equestrian Federation, British Equestrian Trade Association, British Equine Veterinary Association, British Horse Society, British Horseracing Authority, Bulley Davey, Craig Payne Photography, Dodson and Horrell, Donkey Sanctuary, Hadlow College, the Horse Trust, the Horserace Betting Levy Board, Jeffress Scholarship Trust, NFU Mutual Insurance, Redwings, Weatherbys and World Horse Welfare.

Tickets are available to equestrian trade delegates and equestrian professionals at a cost of £100 per person, which includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day. To apply, contact the Hon Secretary, Mary Martin at mary.martin@nationalequineforum.com.

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