Welcome to the BHS Scotland website
BHS Scotland is Scotland's largest equine membership organisation with around 5000 members and rising. We have enthusiastic and informed volunteers who help deliver our work throughout Scotland in the areas of access, welfare, safety, training, competitions, education, exams, riding clubs and more. If there is anything you would like to see on our website please let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Safety Conference 2016
Feb 13 is Equine Safety Day in Scotland – sign up for a place
Don’t miss the chance to make yourself a safer and more prepared rider with BHS on February the 13th at Blue Ridge Equestrian centre near Falkirk, when police, fire brigade and paramedics all join road safety and riding hat experts for a daylong conference aimed at reducing equestrian accidents and stable fires throughout Scotland.
After a morning of talks Police Scotland Mounted Branch will give a demonstration on the sort of hazard training that police horses undergo with ideas of how we can all make our horses more resilient. There will be a hands on demonstration of large animal rescue led by Susan Maxwell of Scottish Fire and Rescue showcasing the work that goes into achieving a safe resolution when things do go wrong, then the dog handling teams from Police Scotland will polish of this interactive afternoon with tips on dog training and the familiarisation of horses and dogs.
Kristine Hynd , BHS Scotland’s national safety officer said; “We have aimed to put together an interesting equestrian programme that will put a preventative message across in an educational way.”
This Saturday conference is free – register your interest with email@example.com
****NEW IN 2015*** The Beveridge Quaich
The Beveridge Quaich - for BHS’s Scottish fund raiser of the year
Presented in memory of “Grandad Beveridge” by Jane Belding – to be awarded annually to the person in Scotland who raises the most funds for the BHS that year.
This is our wonderful new trophy an unusual and beautiful antique Quaich which was presented by Jane Belding for which we thank her.
This trophy has a grand history it was presented to Troon sailing club in 1964 by Jane Beldings Father.
The first worthy recipient of the now BHS Beveridge Quaich is The committee of BHS Tayside, in general this committee is excellent at fund raising for BHS, but this year in particular they held a stunning race day where two Perthshire yards opened to the public for a day and the amount raised was over £2000.
Pictured from left to right Loraine Young, Events organiser, Andi Bruce, BHS Tayside Chairman and Marjory Norrie, Riding Club committee member.
The Farney Grange Trophy - Scotland's Most Popular Riding Instructor 2015 Winner
In 2005 BHS Scotland was donated a trophy to be presented to the riding instructor who is voted the most popular by their pupils.
The Farney Grange Trophy is a valuable bespoke piece of artwork, which anyone would be delighted to have on his or her mantelpiece for a year, and the winner will be chosen purely by popular vote.
The winner of Farney grange Trophy for 2015 is our own Heather McLennan from Inverness; we say our own because Heather is also the dedicated chairman of Highland South. Heather won the most votes this year by a county mile and many amazing citations – she is indeed very popular. This has been a great year for Heather who is also a busy working Mum because she recently completed and passed her UKCC level 3 top up.
BHS Scotland Volunteer of the Year 2015
In 2012, retiring BHS Scotland Chairman Loraine Young gifted a beautiful antique timepiece (in the shape of an hour glass) with the inscription ‘For the giving of your time’. This beautiful trophy is given to an outstanding BHS Scotland volunteer each year. This year our winner is male and young – how is that for unusual. Derek has decided that the hour glass is to be given to Paul Phillips – throughout 2015 “Tall Paul” as we like to know him has got more and more involved in BHS Scotland and not only is he useful for loading lories after events like the Royal Highland he can actually turn his hand to anything. Over the summer Paul volunteered for the Blair Europeans and ended up driving ambassadors around Scotland, read at our horseman’s Sunday, but perhaps his ‘piece de resistnace’ was being the hay tramper in the back of the ruck maker at the working horse day. Introduced to BHS by his girlfriend Sarah, Paul has had a baptism of fire, and you might wonder why someone so new to BHS is getting an award, but quite honestly we could not have survived without Paul this year, that is why Derek chose him.
FORMER ARMY MASCOT ‘CRUACHAN III’ RECIEVES PRESTIGIOUS BHS AWARD
Shetland pony and former Royal Regiment of Scotland Mascot ‘Cruachan III’ was awarded the ‘Tarragon Trophy’ from The British Horse Society today at a special event held in Redford Barracks in Edinburgh.
The ‘Tarragon Trophy’ is the British Horse Society ‘Equine Personality’ of the year award and is presented to horses or ponies that have contributed to the community, overcome hardship or deemed to have the personality worthy of the esteemed honour.
Helene Mauchlen from the British Horse Society, said:
“Every so often the BHS is privileged to meet an equine that has delivered untold benefit to humankind, and Cruachan is just that pony
“In his long life he has brightened the lives of so many people, from casual acquaintances at events, veterans and sick children and on top of that he does his day job of representing, inspiring and motivating our army.
“He is a credit to all equines and an example of the untold good that horses and ponies provide. It is our pleasure and a privilege to present him with the Tarragon Trophy.”
Shetland pony, Cruachan III, retired in 2012 at the age of 23 after nearly two decades of military service. For almost 17 years he took part in numerous military parades, Highland games and became a much loved addition to the cast of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
The endearing pony was also a personal favourite of Her Majesty The Queen and attended Balmoral Castle each year when she visited Scotland.
Colonel Alastair Campbell, Regimental Secretary of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:
“Cruachan III marched proudly with Scottish infantry soldiers on parade for 17 years, firstly with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and then The Royal Regiment of Scotland. So we are extremely pleased that the British Horse Society has recognised his service drawing attention to the contribution of Scottish soldiers by awarding him the Tarragon Trophy.”
Pony Major Corporal Mark Wilkinson, who is responsible for the care, training and welfare of Cruachan III, said:
“Like most old Scottish soldiers he loves to hear the sound of the Pipes which takes him back to being on parade. As a veteran he still attends Armed Forces Day and helps Service and civilian charities when he can. He’s always very popular with young and old alike.”
Originally the Mascot of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Cruachan III was adopted by The Royal Regiment of Scotland on its formation in 2006. He now spends his retirement in Redford Barracks with his companion and successor, Cruachan IV.
2016 Riding Hat Standards
Download the latest up to date information regarding Riding Hat Standards for 2016
A Guide to Path Grading
During 2015 Paths for All and Forestry Commission Scotland have worked together to create a useful comprehensive paths grading guidance which aims to work as a decision making tool – ‘to go or not to go’ – to all access takers under the Land Reform (Scotland ) 2003 Act and a grading tool for paths managers that will lead to uniform interpretation.
Download the guidance information
BHS Scotland and BHS Borders visit a Forest
Key messages for riders visiting working forests reinforced at joint Scottish event
BHS Scotland and BHS Borders joined forces with The Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) at the end of October to run an educational and interesting forest access day at Glentress Visitors Centre east of Peebles . Despite the damp and mist, the riders who attended enjoyed the talks and the forest visit and BHS left having happily reinforced several key messages with FCS that facilitate forest riding during management works. These include:
FCS are keen to encourage riders to check FCS website for details of harvesting and other operations which may affect their riding plans. The dates promoted routes affected by forestry work and maps of the areas will be flagged up on this website.
Warning, route closure and diversion signs should be erected at key entry points to every forest when felling, extraction, haulage and other such operations in place, but should be confined to specific working areas only i.e. not the whole forest closed.
For their own safety, and that of people working in the forest, riders should respect signs about path closures and diversions. Key messages include safety and in particular the very real risk of a forwarder chain breaking and flying off at same speed as a bullet, this has been known to embed in bulletproof windscreens, and in trees within 100 metres.
BHS appreciates FCS good practice e.g. flip-over signs which operators can turn over at end of day when they finish to reopen route and vice versa in morning - not examples where routes are closed with nothing happening or signs left in place over weekend.
Diversions for promoted routes should be well signed on site. We've asked FCS to ensure maps are provided, and to ensure diversions take account of all users.
If riders come across any situations where signs or diversions are not in place, or there are inappropriate closures, e.g. left closed when no work going on, FCS are keen to know so please alert either them or BHSS.
This was an excellent partnership event and more like this will be held in Dumfries and Galloway and Aberdeenshire next year.
BHS Scotland held yet another warm and well attended event when biomechanics expert Russell Guire from Centaur Research presented the inaugural BHS Scotland Autumn lecture to a packed hall in Auchterarder at the end of October.
His core message was how we all can tackle the demands that modern equestrianism put on our equines by using a mixture of planning, innovation, new technology and tapping into a myriad of expertise.
Russell's presentation used film and photography to graphically illustrate the stress and strains that horses are placed under as they compete in modern disciplines, with dressage, jumping, reining, polo, pacing and eventing all contributing to his premise that we have a duty of care to the horse to do everything in our power to reduce the risks of long term damage and welfare problems as we ask our animals to perform elite sport. A sub theme was the effects that rider aspirations have on equine welfare and although he was lecturing to a room of amateurs he urged everyone responsible for any horse to have a base level record of your horses’ state against which soundness and performance issues can be benchmarked.
Russell works with the British Equestrian Federations World Class Programme working across all disciplines. Russell also carries out research projects using video analysis, force plates, motion indicators and specialist clothing to identify the individual forces that load limbs and have the physical effects and affect tack comfort.
Centaur has been instrumental in the development of the Fairfax girth and is currently working on saddle and bridle design; but shoeing, studs, external influences like fence design and surfaces are all currently in the biomechanics spotlight.
Centaur has developed a raft of innovative props that can improve everyone's riding including reins, clothing and a fly bonnet.
The effect of rider fitness and balance is very key to performance and Centaur do offer a comprehensive rider analysis service. Currently Russell's PHD on horse and rider interaction.
Russell said; "We can all do better with the welfare, soundness and performance of our horses by thinking outside the box and taking a holistic approach, work with all your networks, your farrier, instructor, physio and saddler and instead of changing one thing by 100 percent you can change 100 things by one percent and reap the rewards."
BHS Scotland events officer Loraine Young said; "This was the first BHS Scotland annual lecture and these will always have as a theme how innovation improves the lives of horses, we could not have had a more connected, scientific, inspiring yet common sense speaker than Russell and we wish him and Centaur all the best in the future."
Working Horse Day 2015
Make hay while the sun shines!
With the treble themes of horse power, agricultural heritage and education, the fourth BHS Scotland working horse day took place in blazing Perthshire sunshine in early October with eighteen different rigs and over 200 members of the public attending.
The packed timetable covered field work; ploughing, carting, harrowing, horse logging, work for individual ponies including deer saddles for the Highlands and peat carrying creels for the Eriskay pony, showing, turnout and care.
The most popular feature demonstration being hay making by heavy horses from Dave and Robert Nelson, Benny Duncan and Ross Kinnaird along with all their helpers. They used hay mowers, turners, kickers and rakes put through their paces alongside a Tumblin Tam which brought hay to the hand made stack. The climax of the hay-making theme was the operation of a pike or ruck maker by Bill Allan, who had brought it all the way from Silloth in Cumbria to use in conjunction with a green crop loader behind Benny Duncan’s pair of Clydesdales.
BHS Scotland was indebted to all our performers including; Robert Sibbald and team, Ruaridh Ormiston, Helena Macdonald, Maggie Macrae, Mary McGillivray, Janice Kirkpatrick, Jen Roy and Andrew Whitaker for bringing their amazing working horses and ponies, their machines and their harness. The legendary BHs Scotland tearoom did a roaring trade in the traditional Scottish fare of soup and stovies.
BHS Scotland Trip to Germany
Scottish BHS Members share Golden Anniversary in Germany
From start to finish the BHS Scotland 50th Anniversary trip to Germany was the equestrian trip of a lifetime for the fortunate members that filled the thirty places available, the happy age group with an age range between 84-12, came from all over Scotland including Orkney, Lewis, and the Borders.
Over three days the group watched over 500 horses, and experienced first-hand how with state support, dedication, discipline and an immense pride in their native horses, the German equestrian industry has become one of the most vibrant, successful and admired worldwide.
The visit coincided with the 50th Westphalian Elite-Auction, where the first day was spent with a guided tour of the outstanding facilities, and viewing the schooling of the current 3 and 4 year old crop of these famous Westphalian performance and breeding horses. The bloodlines from stallions such as Rubinstein, Pilot, Cornet Obolensky, Florestan and current superstar Damon Hill were all on view as testament to the quality and success of the Westphalian sport horse breeding programme. Show casing their young talent from these great dynasties makes the Westphalian Elite and Special auctions such a thrilling event. Scottish BHS members were impressed by the dressage and jumping stars of the future and at the subsequent auction the top horse was sold for Euro 140.000
Day two was spent at the Nordrhein-Westfalisches [NRW] State stud in Warendorf, which began with a comprehensive tour, and was followed by a spectacle that has to be on every horse lovers bucket list – the grandiose and unforgettable “Stallion Parade” or ‘Hengstparaden’.
The history of the 185 year old state stud combined with the German Riding School, which joined the stud fifty years ago – the same year as BHS Scotland came into being- as the ‘Centre of professional Cavalry’ is awe inspiring. There were 160 stallions in residence, less in the breeding season, when they are farmed out to breeding stations; warm bloods, thoroughbreds and cold blooded or draft stallions – the latter are kept to preserve endangered species and provide heavies for forestry work. The three hour parade was a breath-taking spectacle of dressage, long reining, driving, music and beautiful moving horses.
On day three we were taken to visit the hallowed ground and equestrian yard of the late Dr Reiner Klimke, arguably the father of classical dressage in Germany. We were treated to a personal master class by his son Grand Prix rider Michael Klimke. A tour of the yard, followed by schooling a range of horses from four to ten years of age, offered us a privileged insight into Michael’s training methods. After generous hospitality Michael discussed how long horses take to mature, what to look for in a horse, especially a good walk and canter and gymnastic approach, and how to train riders focusing on the importance of the seat with feel and balance.
BHS Scotland Director Helene Mauchlen said: “Words cannot do justice to this trip; from the moment we checked onto Group “Young” at Edinburgh airport until we arrived home we were looked after royally and treated to such an inspiring, enlightening and spectacular equestrian holiday. We are all indebted to Loraine and Ronnie Young for masterminding such a great beginning to BHS Scotland’s 50th Anniversary celebration year.
“We always think about the Scottish horse worlds place in Europe. It seems like fate that our trip coincided with the 50th Elite Auction and the 50th Anniversary of the German riding school joining the NRW State Stud. How fortunate we were to experience in some small way a half century of improving breeding, riding and education, surrounding the welfare and harmony of the horse and rider in another European country.”
BHSS D & G Adult Horse Camp
On the weekend of 25th to 28th of September 2015, 13 happy campers and their equine friends arrived at Gelston Castle Estate, Castle Douglas, to take part in the first ever BHS Dumfries & Galloway Adult Horse Camp. The participants stayed in a local cottage while their horses were stabled on the Estate, and the combinations took part in a range of events over the weekend. They started with a ride on the beach Balcary Bay which everyone thoroughly enjoyed (even the rider taking a dip in the sea!). The following day BHS D&G were thrilled to have Patrick Print, OBE, FBHS and Sandra Morrison BHSI to lead some flat-work and show jumping training respectively. Sandra gave the riders lessons, then they were judged in the format of a Style Jumping event, to add a fun competitive element to the weekend. This was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and it was a real pleasure to have such esteemed instructors come to our region. On the Sunday, David Wadge BHSI put everyone through their paces with some cross country training, which was for many the highlight of the weekend as confidence soared! A special thanks must go to Fran, of Fran Stead Equine Services, who kindly lent us some XC jumps for this training. We were also joined by Suzi Law of TopSpec and Linzi Crichton from Murray Horsecare who provided a weigh-bridge and great nutritional advice, as well as Elaine Murdoch who is an Animal Communicator, and had several participants amazed by her ability to "speak" to their horses. Thanks must also go to Justine Hunter, Katie Anderson and Pippa Broatch for their help over the weekend too.
Overall Camp 2015 was a great success, and as the first of it's kind for Dumfries and Galloway it is sure to be repeated again in the not-too-distant future!
The photographs show - the beach ride at Balcary Bay, the Camp participants with Sandra, her assistant Pippa and Bert the pony, riders being given instruction by David and Patrick, and everyone posing in their Camp t-shirts with Gelston Estate's mascot Shetland, Minnie.
LONG SERVICE AWARD
At our recent Scottish Committee meeting Sue Kilby was awarded her 15 year long service award from The BHS
Sue is picutred here receiving her award from Scottish chairman Professor Derek Knottenbelt.
Sue works really hard for the BHS as Scottish chair of welfare and secretary for BHS Tayside.
BHS Scotland - More than just a Trade Stand
BHS Scotland - more than just a trade stand – twelve reasons why
The BHS Scotland stand at the Longines Blair Castle 2015 European eventing championships was a busy destination for those wanting to sample the best tea and cakes at the event, and with Blair TV on tap – it would be fair to say our tearoom was the most popular spot at Blair on the Saturday as the rain forced many to seek shelter.
A few highlights included;
• Selling ALL our umbrellas on XC day
• Getting visits from Claire Balding AND Ian Stark, not to mention the team riders and supporters from all nations who popped in during the week
• Selling quantities of second hand books in a fund raising effort
• Hosting the F&I association events for the week including an amazing Russell Guire biomechanics presentation
• Holding a Horseman’s Sunday service, which was very well received
• Having Claire Aldridge our UK chairman and Derek Knottenbelt our Scottish chairman on the stand, and having a visit from our CEO Lynn Petersen – Derek also give two public lectures on the Sunday
• Being an XC jump sponsor and as a result having our big red BHS banner in the main ring
• Running the finals of our three competition series; the Stewarts, the Courier and the Fingask and seeing a trio of great champions in hotly contested competition
• For the second year running our Tornado sponsored Best Riding Club Horse class, even if it did finish in the dark
• How our tearoom team kept up with demand AND kept the gutters running and bailed us out during the deluge
• Hosting, judging and presenting the best dressed trade stand completion and seeing the smiley and delighted Araminta Campbell, hand weaver and designer - walk off with the trophy
• Having a birthday cake to celebrate the start of BHS Scotland’s 50th anniversary year- and a good party too!
And of course welcoming 65 new members in to BHS and meeting and looking after our existing membership.
Helene Mauchlen, BHS Director in Scotland said: “Over 25 volunteers helped during the week between tearoom staff, competition writing and stewarding, and during build up and breakdown, as well as manning the stand. BHS Scotland has just the greatest team of dedicated and enthusiastic people who help us and their positivity and energy just gives us a huge buzz from dawn to dusk. A very big thank you to everyone who helped, you know who you are!”
Winner of Tornado Wire Riding Club Horse 2015
The Blair Riding Club horse class this year judged by Event rider Olivia Wilmot and sponsored by Tornado Wire of Crieff. The class was won by Katie Gillespie riding the six year old Twinkle Twilight. This class recognises the all-round horse with excellent manners.
Pictured is Katie and Twinkle Twinkle being presented with the Trophy from The British Horse Society Chairman Mrs Claire Aldridge
We would like to take this opportunity of thanking the sponsors of this event Tornado wire of Crieff for their support of this event
Winner of Courier/British Riding club Working Hunter Final 2015
This years winner of the Courier/British Riding Clubs Working Hunter Final was Stephanie Slater aboard her very own eight year old Maltstrikers Diamond.
This competition features jumps of 3’3” and altogether 20 qualifiers are held at British Riding Clubs shows in Scotland stretching from Orkney to Berwickshire.
Pictured is Stephanie and Maltstrikers Diamond being presented with the Trophy by Mrs Claire Aldridge the Chairman of The British Horse Society.
Winner of Fingask Castle Style Jumping Final 2015
The Fingask Castle Style Jumping competition offers riders the chance to prove they can ride a course of show jumps in good rhythm and with the correct riding position. Sixteen qualifiers are held by British Riding Clubs across Scotland.
Pictured is Strathmore and District RC member Anne Shaw riding the Bella the winner of the Fingask Castle Style Jumping Series 2015. Chief Executive Officer of The British Horse Society Lynn Peterson is also pictured. Lynn presented the pair with the trophy.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors Fingask Castle for their support of this event.
Winner of Stewarts Building Supplies Final 2105
The BHS Scotland Working Hunter Trophy sponsored by The Stewarts Building Supplies was awarded to Kirsty Aird riding the seven year old Toronto owned by Mrs E Smith. This year there were thirty three finalists who came forward to contest this coveted Stewarts final which is the culmination of 22 qualifiers held at county shows across Scotland.
Course builder Graham Barclay presented an interesting and challenging course which result in very few clear rounds.
Pictured is Kirsty Aird on Toronto being presented with the Stewarts Builiding Supplies trophy from Morven Miller from Stewarts Building Supplies.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors Stewarts Building Supplies for their support of this event.
Competition Winners 2015
Four square of successful Scottish riders were crowned as champions recently when three British Horse Society Scotland annual championship competitions drew to a close at the Longines Blair Castle 2015 FEI European Eventing Championships and our bespoke riding club horse class ran for the second time.
The BHS Scotland Working Hunter Trophy sponsored by The Stewarts Building Supplies was awarded to Kirsty Aird riding the seven year old Toronto owned by Mrs E Smith. Thirty three finalists came forward to contest this coveted Stewarts final which is the culmination of 22 qualifiers held at county shows across Scotland.
In both the working hunters champs course builder Graham Barclay presented interesting and challenging courses which result in few clear rounds.
The winner of the Courier/British Riding Clubs Working Hunter Final was Stephanie Slater aboard her own eight year old Maltstrikers Diamond. This competition features jumps of 3’3” and altogether 20 qualifiers are held at British Riding Clubs shows in Scotland stretching from Orkney to Berwickshire.
Finally, Strathmore and District RC member Anne Shaw riding the Bella was the winner of the Fingask Castle Style Jumping Series. This competition offers riders the chance to prove they can ride a course of show jumps in good rhythm and with the correct riding position. Sixteen qualifiers are held by British Riding Clubs across Scotland.
The Blair Riding Club horse class this year judged by Event rider Olivia Wilmot and sponsored by Tornado Wire of Crieff was won by Katie Gillespie riding the six year old Twinkle Twilight. This class recognises the all-round horse with excellent manners.
BHS Scotland Chairman, Derek Knottenbelt said: “All the competition series we run are growing in popularity and becoming more hotly contested every year. We’d like to congratulate our champions on their success.”
For further information please contact: Helene Mauchlen, The British Horse Society, 01764 656334 or Helene.Mauchlen@bhs.org.uk
Behind the Scenes at Two of Scotlands leading National Hunt Yards
The sun and the horses shone and great enthusiasm for racing was shown!
Here are some pictures from our privileged and interesting look behind the scenes at two of Scotland's leading National Hunt yards.
Over 200 people turned out to see chasers at Lucinda Russell's yard, Arlary House Milnathort and both jumpers and flat horses produced by Lucy Normile, Normile Racing Duncrievie, on Sunday the 30th of August. At both yards some of the top horses were paraded and at Arlary some were put through their paces on a sand gallop, allowing some spectacular close up views. People were free to wander around the stables and the horses seemed to enjoy the attention. The enthusiastic crowd and the sunshine helped raise £1943.57 and all proceeds will be divided between The Injured Jockey’s Fund, and British Horse Society Scotland.
BHS Tayside volunteers laid on refreshments and home baking at both venues. We are indebted to Lucinda and Lucy for their generosity
It's that time of year...
Following on from last year’s great work on ragwort with Defra and the release of the toolkit in April (www.bhs.org.uk/ragworttoolkit), we’re asking people to show how they’re getting involved this summer!
From Tuesday 7 July, we’ll be asking people to share pictures of removed ragwort on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #IvePulled. Pulling is likely the most easy and accessible method of removal for most people, as long as it’s done properly. Full guidance on how to do this is available within the toolkit but the main points to remember for best practice are:
• Long sleeves and gloves to avoid skin contact
• Holding plants aloft to show off efforts can spread loose seeds and counteract good work, so why not try a picture of the ragwort bagged up ready for disposal, or an action shot of its removal? If you’re out and about removing ragwort in the coming days or weeks, join in and post your pics with #IvePulled (or send them to me for us to post for you if you’re shy and would prefer to stay unnamed!). If you’re not affected by ragwort, please still do get involved by sharing posts and retweeting, sharing the toolkit link, and asking horsy friends to get stuck in with the hashtag!
Thanks again for your continued support of this work.
Buttercups are a common feature on many equine pastures but how much of a problem are they and what risks do they pose to horses?
There are a variety of buttercups including Meadow, Creeping and Bulbous, which thrive on poor quality land, old meadows and grassland. Each variety is poisonous to varying degrees in its fresh state. However, due to its bitter taste, most horses will avoid eating buttercups and instead attempt to graze the grass around the plant. Be aware that horses or ponies on overgrazed or restricted grazing may revert to consuming buttercups in place of no other forage being provided. If eaten in large quantities, toxicity can result in excessive salivation, diarrhoea or colic.
The toxin contained by buttercups can be an irritant to sensitive skin including the lips, muzzles and lower limbs. The toxin reaches its peak during the flowering period with the irritating effects further exacerbated in wet weather making showers a riskier period.
In its dried form, buttercups lose their bitterness and toxicity so pose no risk once wilted and included in hay.
There are two main areas to focus on for controlling buttercups 1) the type of buttercup, 2) the timing of applying the herbicide. The timing and number of applications required will be influenced by the species involved. Harrowing can be effective at reducing creeping buttercups and small patches can be successfully dug out.
The bulbous buttercup has a more complex root structure which contains a number of bulbils (like little balls) stacked one on top of another and this makes control more difficult as the applied herbicide may not move completely into each of the bulbils. Any that do not receive sufficient herbicide have the potential to re-grow.
The timing of the herbicide application is imperative. Herbicides must be applied as soon as active growth commences in the spring, but before the buttercups flower. The weeds must be dry when sprayed, and because the chemical can take some time to get safely inside the plant ensure that no rain is forecast for 12 hours after application. It is also essential to avoid herbicide application during periods of frost. Applying the herbicide once flowering has commenced means that any herbicide application is likely to be unsuccessful.
Should the pre-flowering timing be missed, or if any buttercups survive the first herbicide application, September is another opportunity to target those plants. For all applications horses must be removed from the pasture before applying the herbicide and remain off the pasture for at least two weeks after the treatment. There are a number of herbicides currently available on the market for the use on buttercups with varying active ingredients. Some herbicides do require a licence for purchase and application so always seek expert advice from a qualified contractor and always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Improving grass management and preventing overgrazing of pastures will be beneficial to increasing the grass sward and decrease the opportunity for buttercups to grow. Further information is available from Advice on Pasture Management.
Scottish Director wins Heidi Award
BHS Scotland Director Helene Mauchlen was surprised at the Royal Highland Show 2015 to be the first recipient of 'The Heidi Award', a beautiful new trophy to be presented annually to the Equine Grass Sickness Supporter of the year. Helene was instrumental in getting the highly successful BHS campaign which raised 37k for the vaccine trial off the ground
Royal seal of approval for equine charity’s fundraising efforts
HRH The Princess Royal, as Patron of the Moredun Foundation, received a cheque from The British Horse Society for £37,000 on behalf of the Equine Grass Sickness Fund at the Royal Highland Show today (19 June).
Equine Grass Sickness is a devastating and frequently fatal disease, indiscriminately affecting horses and ponies across the UK. Over the last 12 months, The British Horse Society has run a campaign to highlight the need to tackle the disease and to raise funds to support the current Equine Grass Sickness Vaccine trial being carried out by the Animal Health Trust.
Members and supporters of the BHS surpassed themselves, with massive fundraising efforts taking place throughout the UK. From as far north as Caithness, right down to Cornwall, a whole range of events were organised, including sponsored rides, clear round jumping, prize draws and social occasions – all raising vital funds for the cause. HRH The Princess Royal was introduced to some of BHS Scotland’s top fundraisers for the campaign.
BHS Director of Fundraising, Laura Pepper, said: “We are incredibly proud that our members have pulled out all the stops to raise these funds which will go towards helping to eradicate this horrific disease. Anyone who has experienced its effects will know just how devastating the disease can be and we are so pleased that our efforts will go some way to helping prevent further suffering and loss of life.”
Scotland's Great Trails Project
Pauline Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Lisa Williams <email@example.com>; Laura Hood <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Helene Mauchlen <email@example.com>
Sunshine and showers welcome riders to Dams
On a typical April day (sunshine and showers) nearly 40 riders took part in the Dams to Darnley sponsored ride, in aid of BHS welfare in Glasgow’s newest green space, and the feedback on this beautiful, interesting and heritage laden route was 100% positive from the variety of riders who took part. The day was run jointly by BHS Scotland and BHS Strathclyde and the 11k route encompassed dams, bridges and waterworks, great views and secret tracks with much of the going on grass and a delightful canter on offer. The route was so pleasant that more than one group went round twice.
Joe Connelly the Dams to Darnley ranger was very accommodating and said riders were welcome every day of the year. The smiling ride marshals and other volunteers made this a really happy BHS event and one to repeat in future years.
In recent years, the frequently fatal muscle disease Atypical Myopathy (AM) has become more prevalent in Great Britain. Statistics collated in 2010 by the Atypical Myopathy Alert Group (AMAG) revealed three reported cases of AM in Britain in the year up to November.
By 2013 the figure had increased to 51 reported cases in the equivalent time period. The increase is not confined to Britain as confirmed cases of AM are also growing throughout Europe at a rapid rate.
Associated with horses kept predominately at grass, AM occurs predominantly during the autumn, although cases are also more rarely seen in the spring. AM can affect individual horses or several horses within the same group. All horses are potentially susceptible to AM, although youngsters and horses above the age of 20 have been found to be at greater risk.
The disease was first recognised in 1984 and is very similar to a disease in America called Seasonal Pasture Myopathy (SPM). Myopathy diseases in horses result in damage to the muscle tissue and cause significant muscular pain in affected animals.
Although research is still in its early stages, links to 'helicopter' seeds from sycamore trees have so far been identified.
This Atypical Myopathy advice leaflet will tell you how and why you need to be aware of this dangerous disease, how to spot it and how you can minimise risks.
BHS Scotland Equine Establishment Proprietors Day
BHS Scotland held a well-attended proprietors conference in October which was opened by our chairman Dr Derek Knottenbelt making a plea for our industry to foster an innate respect for the horse and to do for our horses what we would do for ourselves. The value of horses in every sense was examined as were the causes of the current glut of horses in the south; “it is the job of organisations like the BHS to prevent suffering by education, and our approved yards and our instructors are the best way we can do this.” Said Dr Knottenbelt.
BHS Head of Participation Sarah Phillips; reemphasised the importance of high standards in BHS approved yards running through the grading for excellence, robust assessment of riding lessons and a review of the where to train inspection. Sarah went on to show how BHS promotes riding as a sport and how the new BHS strategy puts a high emphasis on marketing its centres. “The BHS will in turn support you every way we can - currently we are doing so on employment law, access to the countryside and in planning matters.” Said Sarah – “A BHS centre is a supported centre.”
In the spirit of supporting our centres the afternoon was dedicated to fund raising options, qualifications and how to keep your biggest asset - your riding school horse - happy.
Gillian McKnight from SRUC, took our her crystal ball to look at the forthcoming SRDP urging centres to register as holdings and prepare business plans in order to be ready to take forward any plans proprietors might be seeking funding for. She also showed how SRUC and BHS Scotland have been working together to compile supportive Scottish based evidence for equestrian plans in drawing up the jointly funded Scoping study on the Scale and Impact of the Equine Industry in Scotland.
Jo Winfield FBHS- finished proceedings off with a run through the BHS exams system and reassured the audience that these internationally recognised, quality assured and externally verified industry qualifications complimented by the UKCC created the true professional that our risk sport requires.
Jo also gave an uplifting presentation on keeping the riding school horse - the mainstay of our industry – happy.
Overall this was a well- attended and inspiring event.
Download BHS Approval Presentation here
Download SRUC Funding Presentation here
Download BHS Exams Presentation here
Download Happy Riding School Horse Presentation here
British Horse Society volunteer awarded MBE
The British Horse Society is delighted that Ann Fraser, its current chairman of equestrian access in Scotland, has been awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to the equestrian and leisure industries in the Scottish Borders. Ann has been active within the Society for more than 30 years, during which she has furthered the cause of equestrian access both as a volunteer and a member of staff.
Her equestrian achievements include creating the Borders Festival of the Horse (now in its 14th year), assisting the progress of Part 1 of the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2003 Act through the Scottish Parliament, making sure horse riders received the same rights as walkers, cyclists and the disabled, and more recently introducing the new equestrian sport of tilting to Scotland. Ann was a driving force behind South of Scotland Countryside Trails where the BHS drew down £750,000 of European funding to develop a 350km multi-use tracks network across southern Scotland.
Helene Mauchlen, BHS Director of Scotland, said: “We are delighted. Ann’s dedication to the horse as an economic driver in the Borders and her lifelong fight for safe off-road access for equines, makes her a worthy recipient of the honour. She continues to work tirelessly and is highly respected in the world of access where she is a worthy opponent and great ambassador for the equestrian industry.”
Protocol for promoting off-road riding and carriage driving routes in Scotland
BHS Scotland have created a new guidance note on promoting off-road riding and carridage driving routes in Scotland. BHS’ recommendation and in-house policy is that as a matter of courtesy, land owners and managers should usually be consulted before promoting off-road riding and carriage driving routes. The guidance note explains the rationale behind this protocol, exactly what falls within the definition of ‘promoting’ a route, suggests how to consult appropriate individuals, and identifies some exceptions where consultation is not considered necessary. Download the full guidance note here
Equine Health Checklist
This checklist sets out the essential routines to help care for horses responsibly in a simple, accessible format and will encourage – among other good habits – basic disease prevention in routine horse care. Our ultimate aim is to have the poster displayed in every yard, vet’s reception, horse owner’s stable etc. – indeed everywhere that it can be seen by horse owners and keepers. You can also download this chart as a PDF document here .