ARUNDEL Riding Club was significantly affected by the equine grass sickness outbreak earlier this summer and recently held a horse show at Wicks Farm in Ford Lane, near Arundel to raise money for the Animal Health Trust’s work on equine grass sickness research and vaccine programme.
Some club members have been personally affected by grass sickness, which causes such devastation. Club committee member Carolyn Basham lost a beloved five-year-old pony named Teddy to the disease in March, and one of the show judges, Jan Allen, had six horses die of the disease some years ago and, with the help of sponsors, the show went ahead and raised £500 for the trust’s research into the dreadful disease.
The club has thanked all sponsors for their contributions, both financial and with prizes for the raffle- these included :The Arundel Equine Hospital, Leafycroft Stud , EMS Animal Feeds, LRG Photography, SPR Animal Feeds,Christina Dodd Bowen Therapist,Teresa Jones, Jewels Stables, Topline Property Services, Festival of Horsemanship, Gaston Farm 30-31 August 2014 and Kamala Rosettes. The show programme included ridden classes and in hand classes for competitors.
Judges on the day were Jan Allen ( in hand) and Patricia Hoal (ridden) . There was a particularly good turnout with large entries for the In Hand ring. Following early rain, the weather cleared to a fine morning, though a heavy shower at lunchtime lowered entries for the afternoon’s show jumping and gymkhana.
Overall Supreme Champion and In hand Champion was Lizzie Deacon with Leafycroft Price Tag, while the Reserve Supreme Champion and Ridden Champion was Annabelle Harvey-Mason with Garshall Gethin.
Equine grass sickness is a predominantly fatal disease affecting grazing horses, ponies and donkeys and Britain has the highest incidence worldwide. The current theory is that EGS is a toxico-infection involving Clostridium botulinum type C and other diseases involving this are successfully prevented by vaccination, implying that it should be possible to prevent EGS by vaccination.
The Animal Health Trust is trialling vaccinations involving 1100 horses for a two-year period from premises previously affected with a high incidence disease. Proof of reduced disease incidence in vaccinated horses would provide a major breakthough in the prevention of EGS.
Fundraising achieved by this and another local show this summer is vital to help this research continue. For more information see: http://www.aht.org.uk/cms-display/egs