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World Horse Welfare helps BEVA create training videos to help vets tackle equine obesity

The videos were created to help students and practicing vets with how to best broach the subject of equine condition scoring

11 June 2020, at 12:00pm

A set of four videos covering the sensitive subject of equine weight management has been published. Created by World Horse Welfare, in conjunction with Dr Teresa Hollands of School of Veterinarian Medicine at University of Surrey and BEVA, the videos have been made for continued professional development of veterinary students and practicing vets. The videos have been uploaded to the BEVA Online Learning Platform and will be available to all BEVA members as part of their membership.

“Obesity is currently one of the most significant threats to horse welfare in the UK and rescued horses increasingly come into our Rescue and Rehoming Centres dangerously overweight,” said World Horse Welfare Chief Executive Roly Owers.

“Because of this, we understand the importance of measuring a horse’s condition and monitoring the impact of feeding regimes and weight loss plans, with our staff undertaking these assessments on a regular basis across all of our farms, so it made sense to combine forces with BEVA and the University of Surrey to produce these videos. Not least because the vet-owner relationship is so important in promoting equine health and welfare.”

The videos were created to help students and practicing vets with how to best broach the subject of equine condition scoring, using techniques and language that promote behaviour change. By encouraging clients to get involved with condition scoring their animals themselves it will help the owners become better able to recognise their horse’s true condition. This will help tackle the rise in equine obesity and prevent animals suffering the significant long-term consequences of carrying too much weight.

The four 5-10 minute long videos were filmed using World Horse Welfare horses at one of the charity’s centres, where there are always a range of body types and conditions amongst the animals undergoing rehabilitation before rehoming. The videos demonstrate the technique to condition score, and of the need to measure condition regularly, how to manage equine weight and practical tips such as soaking hay as a useful way of feeding horses that need to lose weight.

“We are delighted to have worked with Dr Holland and World Horse Welfare to make these training films to support vets in addressing such a vital problem for horse health and welfare” said BEVA President Elect Lucy Grieve. “There is an epidemic in horse obesity and we all have to work together to tackle a challenge of this scale. We know that encouraging owners to get involved and understand condition scoring is the best way to help them recognise what is a healthy weight and help them adopt the best ways of managing an overweight horse. I hope these videos will help BEVA members to further support owners in effectively managing their horse’s weight."