Sam Champney-Warrener and myself made an early start to get to London for the National Equine Forum. We successfully negotiated the trains and the underground, not a regular occurrence for either of us!
This was the 21st Forum with a full programme of 16 speakers / presenters. The objectives of the forum are several, with the main points to debate matters that could impact on the equestrian industry. This include policy changes, scientific developments and cultural initiatives and bring them to the attention of key decision makers.
The F & I Association is a friend of the Forum, along with many key players such as the BHS and it was an excellent day to network and mix with like minded people. Sam was in demand straight away and is now undertaking a bit of live filming by Sky TV for some BHS promotion this Saturday! I’m sure we can find a link when it happens and promote her first screen appearance!
The day was split into several sections with various themes. We started with volunteers and veterinary issues on Pre-purchase examinations and Colic issues. Very relevant subjects to our industry and applicable to many of us and our clients. Without going through every presentation some of the keys points before lunch were the concerns of Defra and the possible impact of infectious disease control. This appears to be a sitting time bomb and without doubt something we all need to be aware of.
During a well needed lunch break, Sam and myself took a little walk in St James park (no photos taken or behaving like a tourist – honestly!). In the afternoon we were privileged to have HRH The Princess Royal attend the Forum and we listened to stories and discussion in the Olympic’s, the legacy, the viewpoint from the BEF and Natasha Baker MBE speaking and inspiring us all on what it takes to compete on the world stage.
Several more sessions completed the afternoon, all holding our attention with Q & A sessions interspersed to refresh and allow viewpoints from the audience to be expressed. The day was concluded by HRH The Princess Royal. A final chance to network with any of the delegates was available with afternoon tea before we departed to go home – with a last photo opportunity of Big Ben!
Full proceedings of the NEF are available on the BEF website at www.bef.org.uk. Next year’s event is on Thursday March 6th 2014, put it in the diary now as it is a day to be recommended if you have not attended before.
Report by Jo Winfield