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Latest News & Updates for August 2008

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   The UK's only Equestrian Safety Newsletter

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News August 2008

25 August

 DISEASE  Lexington – KY – USA: Horse on contact premises positive for Piroplasmosis

According to an August 25 statement from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DOACS), a horse on a second property has tested positive for equine piroplasmosis.  Equine piroplasmosis (EP) is a tick-borne disease caused by two parasites, Babesia caballi and B. equi. The parasites are able to hitch a ride on certain ticks, in which they can amplify, thus, creating the potential for spread to horses. The parasites can also be spread via shared needles. Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson announced on August 15 that a horse in Manatee County, Fla., had been diagnosed with equine piroplasmosis, an animal disease that the U.S. has been considered free of since 1988.

The affected horse was euthanized, but since that time, four other horses on the original property tested positive for the disease. Several adjacent and contact premises linked to the original positive property have also been investigated. Of the 30 additional horses tested late last week, one horse from a contact premises tested positive, the DOACS said in an official statement.

Source: TheHorse.com


 WELFARE  Spain: British woman faces equine welfare prosecution in Spain

A British woman faces prosecution in Spain following the death of 16 horses. Another 36 are in a critical condition.

Source: Horse & Hound Online


22 August

 DISEASE  Missouri – USA: Horse Shown at State Fair Tested Positive for Rabies

Officials with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services are notifying people who attended the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia of a confirmed case of rabies in a horse stabled and shown on the grounds during this event. While there is little likelihood any visitor to the Fair was exposed to rabies from this horse, public health officials are making this notification as a precaution.

Source:  Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services


15 August

 LEGISLATION  UK: Five years in prison for careless drivers who kill

MOTORISTS who kill whilst avoidably distracted at the wheel will face prison under new careless driving laws which come into force on Monday 18 August. The new offences will, for the first time, allow courts to imprison drivers who cause deaths by not paying due care to the road, or to other road users. They are designed to plug the gap in current legislation and so prevent drivers who kill walking away from court with just a fine.

Avoidable distractions which courts will consider when sentencing motorists who have killed include:

  using a mobile phone (calling or texting)

  drinking and eating

  applying make-up

  anything else which takes their attention away from the road and which a court judges to have been an avoidable distraction

The new laws will also penalise uninsured, disqualified or unlicensed drivers who kill.

Source: Ministry of Justice 


9 August

 EVENTING  INCIDENT  UK: Woman rider dies at Hartpury Horse Trials

A 23-year-old female rider has been killed while competing in the cross-country phase of the Hartpury Horse Trials.

A statement from the event organiser said “It is with the deepest regret that we announce that Miss Emma Jonathan suffered a fatal accident whilst competing at The Mitsubishi Motors Hartpury Horse Trials in Gloucestershire on Saturday 9th August 2008. Emma was aged 23, from Petersfield, Hampshire and was single. Emma was riding El Nino, a nine-year-old mare. The incident occurred at Fence 19. There was a doctor in attendance at the time of the fall and a full paramedic team was present within moments of the accident. Hartpury College, the organisers of The Mitsubishi Motors Hartpury Horse Trials, Mitsubishi Motors and all those associated with the event, would like to extend their deepest sympathy to Emma Jonathan’s family and friends.”

Source:  BBC News/Hartpury Horse Trials

Further reporting: Horse & Hound report that the fall was of a "rotational" nature (10 August) 


 INCIDENT  Dublin-Ireland: Girl (8) impaled by metal spike at Horse Show

AN eight-year-old girl is in a serious condition in hospital this evening after being impaled by a metal spike at the Dublin Horse Show. The young girl suffered horrific injuries when part of a stand collapsed in the main hall.

Source: Herald.ie


 WELFARE  Dallas-TX-USA: Veterinarians want to end gait abuse among Tennessee walking horse owners

The largest group of horse veterinarians has called for an end to the "culture of abuse" among Tennessee walking horse owners. The American Association of Equine Practitioners released a "white paper" with recommendations on eliminating "soring," an abusive practice in Tennessee walking horses. They called it "one of the most significant welfare issues affecting any equine breed or discipline."  Soring involves deliberately injuring a horse with chemical irritants, weighted chains or pads, painful shoeing or hoof trimming to exaggerate the natural walking horse gaits, characterized by the horse arching its front legs as it walks. It's often called the big lick.

Source: Dallas Morning News


6 August

 RIDER PROTECTION  UK: Horsewoman thrown to death had out-of-date helmet

An experienced horsewoman who died after being hurled from her mount was wearing an out-of-date helmet that failed to cushion her skull, a coroner has ruled.

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

Related Information

According to leading equestrian safety equipment manufacturer Charles Owen, the expected life span of a hat for the average rider is five years.  To find out more about current standards and how to care for your hat visit the Charles Owen safety support pages

 OLYMPICS  Horse Transport for the 2008 Olympic Games - See the video

Mark Todd's horse Gandalf before take off
Peter Nixon/FEI

A video showcasing the Olympic horses as they depart from the main European hubs is available from the FEI.   

Click here to see the video.

(Picture shows Mark Todd's horse Gandalf s being fed a light snack before take off)




 INCIDENT  Darlington-England-UK: Dozen horses invade quiet street

RESIDENTS in a quiet cul-de-sac got a shock when 12 horses galloped into their street.

The horses arrived in Shaw Wood Close in North End, Durham City.

Source: Northern Echo


 REPORT  UK: Small businesses promised health and safety help

The Government has promised to make "complex" health and safety regulations "easier to understand" for the sake of overly-burdened small businesses.  The commitment from Secretary of State for Business, John Hutton, followed a new report from the Better Regulation Executive - part of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform - which examined how health and safety regulation affected low risk and small businesses. The report - Improving outcomes from health and safety - sets out a series of recommendations to "save firms time and money, while improving working environments and general understanding of health and safety."  The review makes six recommendations. They are designed to:

    improve health and safety outcomes, primarily by improving information and advice, so making businesses more aware of their obligations, and making it easier for them to know what – and what not – to do in all of the regulatory areas they associate with health and safety;

    save businesses in scope almost 300 million pa in unnecessary administrative and consultancy costs;

    increase public confidence in health and safety by further challenging inaccurate media coverage and promoting positive messages about health and safety; and

    target overall inspection resource at workplaces where the risk of injury or ill-health is highest by encouraging further joint working between HSE and local authorities.

Trade union leaders slammed the report, claiming the Government was getting its priorities wrong on the issue. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "This report does nothing to address the appalling health and safety record of Britain's small businesses. Instead it looks to what it terms the 'burden' of health and safety regulation for businesses. "Small businesses have a worse record on most health issues than larger ones. Rather than address this problem, many have simply ignored it. More than half of small businesses have not even done a basic risk assessment, despite this being a legal requirement." He added: "The aim of health and safety regulation is to protect workers from injury and ill-health. Obeying the law is not a 'burden' but a legal duty and if an employer - whatever their size - is putting the lives or health of their workers at risk, they should be prosecuted like any other criminal."

Download the Improving outcomes from health and safety report

Sources:  Norwich Union Risk Services; Trades Union Congress (TUC); Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR)


5 August

 RESCUE   Welwyn Garden City-England-UK: Trapped horse rescued by Hatfield fire crews
ANIMAL rescue training proved its worth after firefighters rescued a trapped horse from drowning in a bog.

Source:  Times 24


 LEGAL   Redditch-UK: Firm fails to win costs at tribunal
AN equestrian firm which successfully opposed a compensation claim for unfair dismissal by a former stable manager has failed to win 600 costs against her.

Source:  Redditch Advertiser


 DISEASE  AU: NSW quarantines horse stable over Hendra fears
The NSW Department of Primary Industries has quarantined a stable next to Ballina Racecourse in the state's north after a horse showed signs similar to Hendra virus infection. The department says the diagnosis has not been confirmed.  More samples from horses at the stable were collected on Monday, and the results are expected within the next few days.
Source:  ABC Online


4 August

 INCIDENT  Norwich-England-UK: Police 'oversight' on injured pony

Norfolk police last night conceded that an oversight to take advantage of the established partnership they have with Redwings Horse Sanctuary for dealing with straying or injured horses contributed to the tragic death of a pony.

Source: Norfolk Eastern Daily Press


 RESCUE  Cambridge-England-UK: Horse and rider rescued after ditch drama

A HORSE and its rider were rescued by fire crews after they fell into a ditch.  The horse and female rider had been travelling alongside the ditch in Main Road, Longstowe, when the animal bolted and the pair fell in. The ditch was about two metres deep and the horse, named Drummer, got stuck upside down.  Both horse and rider were released uninjured after a four hour rescue operation.

Source:  Cambridge Evening News


 DISEASE  Moses Lake-WA-USA: Moses Lake horse has West Nile Virus

A 24-year-old gelding quarter horse near Moses Lake was discovered to have the West Nile Virus.

The horse appears to be recovering, according to Jason Kelly, state Department of Agriculture spokesperson.  A second horse in Prosser, a 5-year-old quarter horse male, may have to be euthanized, he added.  Neither horse was vaccinated against the West Nile Virus, according to the state.  These are the first two horses known to contract the virus this year. Kelly stated eight horses in Yakima County were known to have been infected last year.

Source:  Columbia Basin Herald 


3 August

 OLYMPICS  HK: Haze, Humidity and Horses

Many horse enthusiasts in Hong Kong try to beat the summer heat by going for a ride at dawn or sunset, but the Olympic equestrian events from next Saturday to August 21st  will take this to an extreme.  The events will start as early as 6:30 in the morning and end by late morning, or begin as late as 10:45 at night. The goal is to make sure that horses and riders are not exposed to the midday heat and humidity of Hong Kong, one of the most tropical places to host an Olympic event.

Source:  New York Times


2 August

 HORSE ATTACKS  Aberdeen-Scotland-UK: Moray horse owner condemns attackers

A Moray horse owner has condemned attackers who cut parts of the mane and tail off his filly.

Source:  Aberdeen Press and Journal


 RESCUE  Portsmouth-NH-USA: Firefighters get creative to save horse that fell through floor

Firefighters rescued a horse that fell partially through barn floorboards and was dangling eight feet above the ground Friday afternoon.

Source:  Portsmouth Herald News

Additional reporting (and photograph) from The Union Leader


1 August

 INCIDENT  UK: Lightning strike kills horses near Redcar

A FARMING family has been left devastated after lightning strikes killed two horses in horrendous storms early today.

Source: gazettelive.co.uk

Additional reporting from Horse & Hound: Four prize-winning show ponies die in lightning strikes



 INCIDENT  UK: Horses killed and jockeys injured in 5 horse pile-up at Kempton

Two jockeys are recovering in hospital after a 5 horse pile-up at Kempton Park that killed 2 horses.  The accident happened at the half way stage of the 1m apprentice race on Wednesday night (30 July).

Source:  Horse & Hound


 INCIDENT  Dublin-Ireland: Woman saved at high tide

A 60-YEAR-OLD holidaymaker had to be airlifted from a beach yesterday, before a rapidly incoming tide, after falling from a horse and injuring her back.  The accident happened on a beach known locally as Cliffoney beach, north of Sligo town, just after noon yesterday.

Source:  Irish Independent


 WELFARE   MO-USA: Horse dragged more than 200 feet

Veterinarians in eastern Missouri this afternoon are caring for a horse that was allegedly dragged behind a four-wheeler earlier this week.  The Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, Mo., is caring for the horse, which Humane Society volunteers have named Mason.  Officials say Mason, a 2-year-old male bay Missouri Fox Trotter, was dragged more than 200 feet on his side. Mason’s owner was attempting to bring the horse back to a pen after he had escaped Tuesday evening, said Debbie Hill, vice president of operations at the ranch. 

The owner was arrested that night and has since been charged with felony animal abuse.

Source:  Kansas City Star


 DISEASE  AU: Bird flu saved horse industry: experts

The global threat of bird flu saved the Australian horse industry, experts say.  In 2004, the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory developed a molecular diagnostic test for bird flu, at a time when equine influenza (EI) was not even on the radar.  Three years later, the same test was used in the effort to stop the spread of EI, with Agtrans Research saying it allowed authorities to determine the best ways to contain it.

Source:  The Age


 SECURITY  Bromsgrove-UK: Smart protection from horse theft

HORSE owners across Worcestershire are protecting themselves against thieves by using SmartWater. The property marking system is being distributed by Worcestershire HorseWatch - a dedicated network of horse owners who share information on any equine-related crime in the area and how to protect property or animals against it. The permanent SmartWater liquid - more accurate than DNA and each bottle unique - will now be used by horse owners to mark their saddles, bridles and other equipment.

Source:  Bromsgrove Advertiser


 LEGAL  UK: Parents win appeal over head injury on bouncy castle

A couple found liable for an accident on a bouncy castle that left a boy brain-damaged yesterday won an appeal against the ruling. An appeal court judge ruled that a "freak and tragic accident" had left Sam Harris, now 13, brain-damaged after he was kicked in the head on the castle in September 2005.

Source:  guardian.co.uk


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   HSE  UK: Child safety on farms (and at riding establishments)

Timely advice on keeping children safe during the school holidays.  Although aimed at the agricultural sector, many of the comments equally apply to riding establishments.

Source: Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

  UK: From 10 June - Police horses in the television spotlight

A major new documentary series will give people an exclusive look behind the scenes of Greater Manchester Police Mounted Unit. The 13-part series will show what it takes to keep officers in the saddle and patrolling the streets of Greater Manchester. After 18 months of filming, 'Mounted Branch' will be screened exclusively on Animal Planet channel (Sky 525) from June 10.

  UK: 10 August - Horse Play Raises Money for Strangles

Leading equestrian clothing brand, Puffa, who are also partners of the AHT/BHS Breaking the Strangles Hold campaign are holding the day at Sussex Polo Club in August to raise funds and awareness for the campaign.

Everyone is invited to watch the exciting polo action and help support the campaign. The event promises to be fun-filled and action-packed, with something for all the family. You can take along your own picnic or treat yourself to food or champagne from on-site caterers.

There will also be a bouncy castle, charity auction, goody bags and opportunities to shop, with Puffa stockists Frogpool Manor promoting the special Strangles polo shirts and their new range of clothing.

AHT Strangles researchers and scientists will be around on the day to answer any questions you might have on the disease or the work we’re doing to eradicate it, and members of the fundraising team will be able to help with any other queries you might have!

The event takes place on Sunday 10th August at Sussex Polo Club. Gates open at 12pm. Entry is 5 per car, or free if anyone in your party is wearing a Puffa Strangles polo shirt. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leads. All profits made from the day will go directly to the Breaking the Strangles Hold campaign.

To buy a polo shirt or tickets to the event, visit www.puffa.com

For more information on the campaign, go to www.strangles.org


  UK: 21 September - Animal Health Trust Gala Open Day

The AHT are once again opening the gates to their home, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk to the public for what is promised a day of fun with something for everyone. There will be displays from Tricky Tykes Terrier Racing Team, Southern Golden Retriever Display Team and the Rockwood Dog Display Team, as well as a charity dog walk through the Trust grounds and Heath, and stands full of arts, crafts, bits and bobs. Read more


More about the Animal Health Trust


  UK: Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) AGM & Annual Conference
Monday 13 October 2008 at the Bedford Lodge Hotel, Bury Road, Newmarket, Suffolk.

   "In sicknes and in health"

BHS in sickness and health campaign

The ‘In sickness and in health’ fundraising campaign is designed to support the BHS’s work of preventing the suffering of thousands of horses and ponies, which it does by providing expert advice across a broad range of equine topics.

Read more




   Breaking the Strangles hold

In February 2007, the Animal Health Trust (AHT) and British Horse Society (BHS) launched a nationwide Strangles Campaign, which has two aims. The first is to raise awareness of this dreadful equine plague, and the second is to gain support for the research programme.

For this, the target is to raise 250,000 to fund research into the next stages of the development of improved means of diagnosis and prevention – ultimately to eradicate this terrible disease.

The campaign was launched by the President of the AHT, HRH The Princess Royal, at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. It continues to make great progress, with the total raised so far standing at 159,000.

For more information about Strangles and the campaign visit www.strangles.org


   World Horse Welfare (formerly ILPH) 'Make a Noise' campaign

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