Free series of webinars the centrepiece of Britain’s Colic Awareness Week

The REACT campaign has been building awareness around colic and the importance of getting prompt treatment for affected horses.

Free daily webinars by University of Nottingham experts in Britain will highlight important aspects of colic in a week aimed at building horse owners’ understanding of the dangerous condition.

The second annual Colic Awareness Week begins in Britain on Monday, backed by a growing pool of knowledge generated by research that led to the acclaimed REACT Now to Beat Colic campaign, aimed at ensuring cases of the disease are recognised early and horses get the treatment they need.

The campaign, by the British Horse Society and the University of Nottingham, is asking all horse owners to make a “Pledge to React” at the first signs of colic in horses. Those who do so will be given a free equine care and emergency plan that could make all the difference when dealing with the condition.

The 10-minute webinars, which will be added daily on the British Horse Society’s Facebook page, will appear in the following order:

  • What is REACT? – Professor Sarah Freeman;
  • What is colic: the horse’s digestive system – Professor Sarah Freeman;
  • Forward planning and decision-making – Dr Katie Lightfoot;
  • Critical cases of colic – Dr John Burford;
  • Recognising colic – Dr Adelle Bowden;
  • When to call the vet and what the vet will do – Dr Brad Hill;
  • What to do and not to do when your horse has colic – Dr Brad Hill;
  • Colic: Types, treatment and outcomes – Dr Janet Douglas;
  • How to reduce your horse’s risk of colic – Dr Janet Douglas;
  • Performing health checks in your horse – Dr Adelle Bowden.

This week’s programme follows the success of last year’s first Colic Awareness Week, which focused on how to spot the early signs of colic.

“We are really pleased to be hosting our second Colic Awareness Week with the University of Nottingham,” said Emmeline Hannelly, welfare education manager with the BHS.

“When we launched ‘REACT Now to Beat Colic’ in 2016, we wanted to educate as many horse owners as possible about how to spot the early signs of colic, as critical colic can be a race against time to save the horse’s life.”

The campaign has been well received by horse owners and vets.

The REACT campaign offers a series of easy-to-follow resources for horse owners.

However, there remain concerns that many horse owners may not have a care plan in place, which can, in some cases, mean the difference in saving a horse’s life.

“We are asking everyone to ‘Pledge to React’ and receive a free care plan during the week.”

Dr Katie Lightfoot, teaching associate in equine welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the university, said the team was delighted to be continuing to work with the British Horse Society to improve the health and welfare of the horse.

“The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science have continued our research into colic and emergency planning which underpins this educational campaign.

“Colic awareness week gives us a fantastic opportunity to share the evidence-based information as widely as possible within the horse community.”

Veterinary practices across the country that are part of The BHS and the university’s “Vet REACT Colic Champions scheme” will also be raising awareness by sharing information with their clients and across their social media channels throughout the week.

Horse owners can access the free care and emergency plan at

Videos and advice for owners are available to download here:

Information and resources for vet practices are available at

The campaign created a simple acronym, REACT, to help horse owners spot any early signs of colic:

• R – Restless or agitated
• E – Eating less or droppings reduced
• A – Abdominal pain
• C – Clinical changes
• T – Tired or lethargic

Follow the British Horse Society’s social media channels to watch the 10-minute webinars throughout the week.
Facebook: @TheBritishHorseSociety
Twitter: @BritishHorse
Instagram: @britishhorse

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