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Centre celebrates a year of caring
THE Blue Cross equine welfare centre in Rolleston-on-Dove is celebrating twelve months of caring for the region’s horses.  
The centre was officially opened on September 29 2006 and, one year on, has helped over 70 horses and ponies, of which 29 have been successfully rehomed.  
Horses coming into The Blue Cross are assessed then placed on a programme of rehabilitation to address any health, fitness or behavioural issues. They are then rehomed whenever possible, where the charity continues to monitor their progress twice yearly for the rest of their lives.  
Kath Urwin, centre manager at Rolleston, said: “I can’t believe how quickly a year has gone by, but we are all so proud to look back at what we have achieved in that time.  
“Every horse is an individual and there have been some challenges along the way, but nothing compares to the satisfaction of placing a horse in a happy new home, knowing that whatever their background, they will have a secure future.”  
Staff and volunteers at the centre have received a huge amount of support from the local community, not only from prospective horse owners, but from other visitors that have attended public events.  
Kath added: “We love opening up the centre to visitors and never fail to to be impressed by the amount of people that turn up.  
“Our last open day attracted over a thousand visitors and raised £2,000. 
“We are always grateful for any donations as we do not receive any government funding and rely of the generosity of the general public to continue our work.”

Veteran Horse Welfare charity ‘honoured’ to be chosen
VETERAN Horse Welfare has been named as Intelligent Horsemanship’s nominated charity for 2008.  
The charity specialises in older horses and many of their rescue cases have shown behavioural problems related to previous events in their lives. 
Kelly Marks of Intelligent Horsemanship said: “Veteran Horse Welfare is a wonderful charity to support as their work is invaluable and totally reliant on donations.  
“They have to deal with some terrible cases and what can make it worse is that they are fighting with the horse’s age against them. 
“Many horses come to them with terrible anxiety problems, so it is not just their physical health that is impaired, but their mental health as well. 
“We hope that many people will think of them this winter as their funds are always stretched and their work is so vital.”  
Julianne Aston, Veteran Horse Welfare chief executive, said: “We are extremely honoured to have been chosen by Intelligent Horsemanship to become their nominated charity. 
“We really hope that this will highlight the work we do within the UK, as we are one of the smaller equine charities, it is very difficult to get grants or funding, but this kind of recognition gives our profile a real lift.”

Dennis is a top donkey
THIS year’s winner of Britain’s Best Donkey Award helped to transform the life of his owner after he was diagnosed with cancer.  
Mike Thomas decided to run donkey rides on the local beach to ensure he kept fit following his illness.  
One of his donkeys, six-year-old Dennis, has now received his prize at a ceremony in Llanelli, at the town’s Millennium Coastal Park.  
The annual award, set up by the Sidmouth based Donkey Sanctuary in 2003, aims to recognise high standards of animal welfare, health and happiness.  
Dennis is the first donkey from Wales to win the award, beating almost 1,000 rivals and was given his rosette and trophy at a gala ceremony attending by Llanelli’s mayor, Raymond Neil.

Scholarship goes unclaimed
THIS year’s Twemlow Hall Burghley Award has gone unclaimed after the British mares competing were placed outside the top 19.  
The award was introduced in order to encourage more people to breed from top mares and the winning scholarship is offered to the best of the best in three day eventing.  
The highest placed British bred or domiciled mare at Burghley that finishes in the top 20 per cent is presented with a package for two embryo transfers, at a value of more than £6,000.  
However, this year of the 96 competition entries only eight were mares.  
Furthermore, only five of these qualified as British bred or domiciled. 
Richard Matson, senior partner at R L Matson & Son Twemlows Stud, said: “It is a shame that the scholarship was not won this year as the whole purpose is to encourage people to compete mares more and to breed them while they are still competing.  
“Hopefully next year Burghley will use the award to motivate more mares to compete, as there is the chance of this wonderful prize. 
One of the main problems of using top mares to breed from is that they are often in the prime of their competitive lives while they are also at the optimum age for breeding.  
Embryo transfer enables foals to be bred from these top mares, without disrupting their competitive careers. 
Mr Matson added: “The real focus has to be on getting mares to compete more and, while they are in prime condition, which is when they will be competing, to breed from them too.  
“Only five per cent of the top eventing horses are mares, so it is important that as many of them as possible are able to pass their great qualities on.” 
The prize has already been awarded retrospectively to last year’s eventing winner, Headley Britannia. 
The mare’s scholarship took place this summer and she has now received the embryo transfer treatment.  
It has been a great success  
with two recipients now  
currently in foal and due to  
give birth in April and June  
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