National Equine Forum Report

Birdcage Walk, London, 2nd March 2017.

With great excitement – a day out in London – WHOOPEE! and above all the company of Sue Ricketts…such fun.

Car washed and polished, nobody would see it but it is a special occasion going to London.  Suit cleaned, shirt ironed, shoes polished…too much information I know!

I met up with Sue on a beautiful sunny day and we were to be stuck inside but heyho. We checked in and were met by the lovely organisers of the Forum, produced our passports for accreditation and were duly given our Delegate Packs, closely inspected as to what the day would hold for us, a full day of informative and eminent speakers on a wide range of topics, to include the following: Chairmans opening address by Tim Brigstocke MBE, Lord Gardiner Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs, DEFRA, followed by a most informative presentation on the progress of the Central Equine
Database by Stewart Everett, Chief Executive Equine Register.

There followed a panel discussion chaired by Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare with the panel consisting of, Graeme Cooke, Chief Veterinary Officer UK and DEFRA,  Simon Cooper, Wetherbys GSB Ltd., Nikki Newcombe, Chair of BETA, Clare Salmon, Chief Executive BEF.   Following this was a short presentation by Ross Hamilton on the Horserace Betting Levy replacement AND then at long last LUNCH and time for a cigarette….delicious lunch and a glass of wine but what a bun fight with everyone squashed into a relatively small room, Sue was much more successful than I was at sourcing the puddings.

Then back for the afternoon session with speakers on a wide range of topics, SADDLERY and BITTING covered by Dr Sue Dyson, Neil Townsend, and a most interesting talk by Dr Caroline Benoist of Neue Schule, challenging our long held understanding of how bits worked, some of which I had difficulty with agreeing with!!

BIOSECURITY Andrea Vilela of Redwings who gave the results of their Strangles Survey, Professor Josh Slater gave a presentation on Infectious Diseases and especially EHPV and it’s impact on yards and the local horse population. Coming to the end of the afternoon Lynn Petersen, Chief Executive of the BHS gave after some difficulty with the computer system, much rushing around by various people trying to fix the problem and in which time I am sure that Lynn wished the ground would open up and swallow her, a presentation on the BHS and how Horses could help young people and the positive impact on their
fractured lives.

The afternoon was closed by HRH The Princess Royal and her famously direct and succinct take on the Equine Industry and how we must all work together, as so many bodies are researching the same problems but due to lack of communication, the bodies are not sharing this information and her final words were that surely there needed to be ONE Passport Issuing Authority!!

The day over and with much to mull over, Sue and I then decided that it was time to hit the town and a very enjoyable evening was had…I hope…where we had drinks in one establishment, main course in another and pudding in a completely different restaurant.

Overall, I had the most fabulous day, great speakers and the most wonderful company for our foray into town.
Report by Simon Somers BHSI