Three of the UK's major equestrian organisations have pledged their support for the National Equine Health Survey (NEHS) as the results from the third nationwide survey are published by leading animal welfare charity Blue Cross.
The British Horse Society, British Riding Clubs and The Pony Club have all signed up to the initiative, which collects data from the owners and keepers of horses, ponies and donkeys twice a year to provide a valuable insight into their general health. It is hoped that the support of their combined memberships will ensure the 2012 surveys are the biggest yet.
In addition, Pfizer Animal Health has announced its sponsorship of the 2012 surveys, helping Blue Cross to cover the costs of running the scheme.
Kerry Taylor, Blue Cross education officer said: "We're thrilled to have the support of a sponsor and three such prominent organisations, which will give a huge boost to this year's surveys. NEHS is getting bigger each year and the more data we collect, the more valuable it becomes."
The latest NEHS survey was conducted from 14 to 20 November 2011, with data submitted from 5,699 horses and ponies and 286 donkeys and mules - the biggest sample size so far. Data was collected from a broad cross-section of the equine industry, the majority being private owners. Professor Josh Slater, Professor of Equine Clinical Studies at The Royal Veterinary College, has been working with Blue Cross on the surveys and interprets the data.
The results were broadly similar to those of the previous surveys in May 2011 and November 2010. View the 'Top Five' findings here.
Kerry Taylor commented: "We're pleased to see a similar pattern emerging between the different surveys, which helps to authenticate previous findings. Now it's really important that people keep taking part so we can continue building on this knowledge to help improve the future health of our nation's horses."
Graham Cory, Chief Executive of The British Horse Society added: "NEHS is already proving to be a valuable guide on the general health of horses and ponies in this country. The British Horse Society and British Riding Clubs are proud to support the project and we hope that all our members will recognise the importance of taking part in the next survey in May."
The next census week is planned for 7-13 May 2012 and visitors to Badminton Horse Trials will be able to submit information on the Blue Cross stand for the first time.
All keepers and owners of horses are urged to participate and details will remain anonymous. It's very quick and easy to complete and should only take around five minutes. To register online visit www.bluecross.org.uk/NEHS or email NEHS@bluecross.org.uk.
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