Everything Horse Magazine August 2021 Issue 44 - Page 48

HORSE HEALTH

Behaviour Change Scientist partners with The Horse Trust and Liverpool University to raise awareness of healthy body condition in show horses

Behaviour change scientist Dr Tamzin Furtado from Liverpool University has joined forces with The Horse Trust to reward healthy body condition in show horses and spread the word on how to go about maintaining the healthiest weight .

Instigated by Tamzin and Jan Rogers at The Horse Trust , the programme targets both affiliated and unaffiliated shows up and down the country , providing friendly , supportive advice and guidance to owners , riders and producers , helping them to recognize the benefits of maintaining a healthy body condition . Both local and on-site vets work in conjunction with the judges to score horses in the chosen classes and award a rosette to the healthiest body
IMAGE : Sapphire Sloan & Roddlesworth Andrew ( left ) and Emwood Minimee ( right )
condition within the class .
The pilot programme ran before the Covid-19 disruptions in 2019 and was very well received by competitors and professionals alike . David Ingle , Chairman of The Showing Council and Director of Showing at the Royal International Horse Show , Hickstead , said , " Showing is keen to become more educational , and we are in an era of great improvement in equine welfare , with increasing scrutiny under social license . This initiative will help to shine a light on this important aspect of showing ."
The Royal International Horse Show participated in the 2019 pilot programme and included the initiative in their show schedule again this year . Other participants in the 2019 pilot included Bucks County Show , Great Yorkshire Show and Wheatley Horse Show .
Tamzin Furtado says " Horses who are
IMAGE : Dr Roisin Wardle & CH Appledore Fandango overweight or cresty are often celebrated for their condition – and we want to challenge that by celebrating horses in ideal body condition ." Fellow Liverpool University graduate and vet Ben Curnow , MRCVS , who judged body condition as part of the 2019 pilot programme , added , " It ' s not about being critical of or challenging the judges , just showcasing what ideal body condition looks like ."
The British Equine Veterinary Association considers equine obesity to be one of the highest-ranking equine health risks today . The Horse Trust is working with a number of horse world bodies to come up with practical solutions to enable human behaviour around equine obesity to be changed for the better . Jan Rogers says , " We get very upset by seeing photos of underweight horses in the media , but in reality , far more horses are obese than are underweight . This is very worrying for vets who are finding that they have to treat these horses with serious health conditions like Equine Metabolic Syndrome and Laminitis . Peoples ' perceptions of what is a healthy weight have shifted towards the higher body condition scores . We want to help to reset this balance ".
The programme will run at events throughout the showing season and hopes to continue expanding its calendar in 2022 .
For further information and details of how to get involved in the 2021 programme , contact via email sarah @ holdsworthpr . co . uk or telephone on 01903 892060 . •
48 • EVERYTHING HORSE MAGAZINE : AUGUST 2021