Summer is packed full of equestrian events, but the mixing of horses and ponies from different yards provides a prime opportunity for the spread of infectious disease. The Animal Health Trust explain how to avoid any problems…
Recent research shows that almost 60% of riders take part in non-affiliated competitions – even if you don’t go out competing, the chances are you know someone who does.
Dr Caroline Hodgkinson is completing her PhD research at the Animal Health Trust, working closely with vets and owners in Britain to produce biosecurity recommendations that are practical, effective and able to be tailored to individual requirements. Here are her top tips for reducing the risk from infectious diseases while you’re out and about competing this summer…
- avoid sharing feed bowls, water buckets or haynets with other owners
- prevent your horse having nose-to-nose contact with others – it’s possible for horses that appear healthy to still be carriers of disease
- don’t let your horse graze where others may also have grazed
- try to stop other owners touching your horse and, if you touch any other horses, wash your hands before returning to your own horse
- if you notice horses who are showing signs of ill health, such as coughing or nasal discharge, isolate your horse on your return home. If he’s been exposed to any disease, this could protect other horses on the yard.