British Horse Society supports Government research into firework noise impact on animals

In the last year, more than double the number of incidents involving fireworks were reported to the BHS, up from 66 to 134. Over 400 incidents and, tragically, 23 horse fatalities have been reported to the BHS since 2010.

The British Horse Society (BHS) will be supporting the House of Common Petitions Committee’s report on their inquiry into fireworks. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) have committed to delivering an awareness campaign as the 2020 firework season gets underway, which will promote the safe and considerate use of fireworks, with a focus on the effects on animals.

BHS SUPPORTS CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT IMPACT OF FIREWORKS ON HORSES

The BHS is supporting the Governments campaign, providing advice and resources for horse owners, as well as working alongside other animal charities, such as the RSPCA, to raise awareness. With many public displays being cancelled due to COVID-19 it is expected that there will be many more informal displays this year.

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at The British Horse Society, said: “We are delighted to be involved with the government and other animal charities to provide the OPSS with our statistics and to help with the wider education around the use of fireworks.”

“Fireworks may be enjoyable for some people, but they can cause considerable trauma or distress to horses. We would urge anyone planning to set off fireworks during this period, especially on November 5th to consider the effect it may have on local animals and the potential fire risk to stables or outbuildings.”

“If you are a horse owner and you are aware of a firework display, please notify your neighbour or display organiser to the location of horses nearby and let them know the challenges horses and other animals face when fireworks are let off. Ask them if there are any changes that they could make to ensure the animals safety, such as setting the fireworks off in another direction.”

“I also urge our equine community to report any firework concerns to the BHS horse incidents website (www.horseincidents.org.uk).  It is vital that we gather this evidence, so that we can provide the OPSS with data across the UK, to assist with further decisions around fireworks in the future.”

The BHS offers practical firework advice to horse owners if they are concerned for the welfare or safety of their horse. This includes downloadable posters; horse owner checklist to prepare and make firework season as safe as possible for you and your horses, and information and guidance for people planning their own private firework display. All the resources and information are available at www.bhs.org.uk/fireworks

As the largest equine charity in the UK, The British Horse Society is dedicated to education, equine welfare, protecting and increasing access to bridleways and places to ride and carriage drive off road, and safety for horse and riders. The Society’s thriving and active community of staff and volunteers is committed to improving the lives of horses everywhere.

House of Commons Petition Committee’s report can be seen on the link below. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmpetitions/242/24202.htm

Cheltenham dodges bad weather and racing is set for Friday

 Cheltenham avoided the worst of recent bad weather and the track is set to go ahead tomorrow, Friday, with its first meeting since March.

The ground was eased to good, good to soft in places, after clerk of the course Simon Claisse walked the track on Wednesday afternoon.

Today is forecast to be dry before showers on Friday when Cheltenham hosts a seven-race card, the first four of which will be shown on  ITV4.

Dan Skelton is expected to run his Grade 1 winner Allmankind there this Saturday. The four-year-old was an impressive juvenile last season and a leading contender for the Triumph Hurdle following a good win in the Finale Juvenile Hurdle over the festive period. However, he could only finish third behind Burning Victory there.

Trainer Dan Skelton

 The Sea Moon offspring is earmarked to begin his new campaign in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle at Prestbury Park, and his trainer has been pleased with how his stable star has been training ahead of this weekend.

He said: “I am very happy with him and I presume he’s improved for a summer, but of course the run on Saturday will tell us if he has.”

Winter training opportunities at Hickstead are thriving with new schooling facility

When the Directors of the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead opened their new all-weather cross-country schooling facility exactly one year ago, they couldn’t have foreseen just what an important role it would play in this most unusual of years.

Top class action at Hickstead Photo: Nigel Goddard

Like many businesses in the sporting and event sectors, Hickstead faced a difficult year when the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of its two international horse shows. The new cross-country facilities had been launched as a supplementary income for the showground, running from October through to May in the ‘off season’.

But with neither of Hickstead’s flagship shows able to run, the training facilities have stayed open for most of this year, aside from the weeks of full lockdown, and during September’s Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships, which was the only Hickstead-run event to take place this season.

In its first year the facilities have proved very popular, with thousands of riders heading to West Sussex to train over the variety of cross-country obstacles. The course is set across two vast all-weather surfaces – the Equine America Arena and adjoining Airowear Arena, along with the large Equine America Water Complex – with jumps ranging from 60cm to 1.10m in height. It offers year-round foot-perfect going, which has been particularly beneficial during the wet winter and prolonged dry .
 

Part of Hickstead’s excellent cross country facilities


Among those to train at Hickstead include Olympic event riders Pippa Funnell, Tina Cook and Gemma Tattersall, while plenty of leading trainers have also held training clinics at the facility.

Another opportunity that has proved popular has been the showjumping hire in the 2plan Wealth Arena, featuring a professionally-built course designed by international course builder Ben Townley. The jumps include fillers, planks, water trays and combinations, and the course is regularly refreshed to keep it varied and challenging.

This winter showjumping hire will continue until the end of November, with floodlit sessions available on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. Arena Polo at Hickstead will return for December and January, before the showjumping hire resumes from February until late spring.

Arena hire runs under strict Covid regulations, and all bookings must be made online at hicksteadschooling.co.uk.

 

Plumpton Racecourse message re membership restrictions


A Plumpton spokesperson said today:

“I realise we all follow the same news and so I am preaching to the choir here, but the latest set of Government Restrictions were clearly a blow to the racecourse and of course to your prospects of joining us for some racing in the near future.

“Just in case you hadn’t heard, the latest Government Restrictions put a stop to crowds returning to racecourses from today, October 1, and instead said that we may not see a crowd for up to six months.


We have greatly appreciated your support in this lockdown and hope to do so again going forward. The plan, if you are agreeable, is to keep the 2020/21 membership rolling for when we are allowed people on the racecourse. We will of course be allowed people back in at some point soon and we would like to re-issue the membership at that point with all the same benefits as previously, and you’d have of course already paid for i

It wasn’t confirmation that you would be prohibited from attending for this length of time, but it gave the Government some room on not setting an official date for getting crowds back, in the meantime giving further headaches and uncertainty to venues such as ourselves.

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It is hard to define exact parameters as we don’t know how many fixtures it would entail from this season and next season, but rest assured we’d make absolutely sure you had your full memberships worth based on previous seasons.

If this is not to your satisfaction, then please do call the office and speak to us about this as it is a strange time all round.

Hopefully we get back to some normality soon in all our lives, and we would sincerely hope one of the first things you can do is visit Plumpton.

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Dan, Holly & Team