On Thursday 8th March 2012, I was fortunate enough to attend the 20th Annual National Equine Forum, as a representative for the F&I Association. This was held at The Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Westminster. One of my reasons for attending was to support our friend and colleague from F&I, Sue Pimbley, who presented an excellent paper which considered the value of Equine Degrees.

The days programme was filled with a total of fourteen papers presented by professionals and experts reflecting every area of the equine industry. Helen Niebhur, a specialist in equine law, from Darbys Solicitors presented a paper on issues on liability and their resolutions. Janice Shardlow head of governance and legal affairs at the BEF spoke about doping issues concerning the balance between welfare and performance

I also particularly enjoyed Professor Derek Knottenbelt’s discussion of two equine medical conditions – Sarcoids and Headshaking. Professor Knottenbelt presented a comprehensive argument that further research and investigation was a priority in the attempt to fully understand Headshaking as the serious neurological condition that it is.

Considering the timing of this forum, the 2012 Olympics were a current topic and Professor John Slater, the technical official for Biosecurity, spoke about the equine health security checks in place for the Olympics.

Having been a participant in the research for the presentation ‘The Role of Arena Surfaces in Increasing or Decreasing injury for Newmarket’, it was particularly informative for me to hear the overall results of the study by Dr Rachel Murray.

The National Equine Forum, held in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation, provides a platform for the discussion and debate of topics and issues that could impact upon the equestrian industry. The diversity of subjects presented by the speakers reflects an equally diverse industry. The National Equine Forum offers an opportunity for individuals to gain insight into many different aspects of the equestrian industry all in one day.

I would like to say a big thank you to the F&I Association for allowing me to represent them at this National Equine Forum.

The proceedings of the 2012 National Equine Forum and previous National Equine Forums will be published on the British Equestrian Federation Website at: www.bef.co.uk

Held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Westminster, on Thursday 8th March 2012
Report by Sue Charters