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Trust receives more horses
THE Horse Trust has now received a further 17 horses and ponies that have been evacuated from the Amersham farm and has launched an emergency appeal, ‘Horse Heaven’ to help it respond to the crisis.  
These horses are in nowhere near as bad condition as the original consignment but have had to be removed for their own protection. 
All the horses in the Trust’s care are receiving special nutrition and veterinary care to nurse them back to health – but this costs a huge amount of money. 
The Horse Trust chief executive and veterinary surgeon Paul Jepson, said: “Our resources are certainly being stretched with the unexpected extra care that is being required. 
“It costs, on average, about £100 a week to keep a horse here, and of course these horses are undergoing additional tests and receiving often expensive emergency treatment.”  
Donations can be made directly via the Trust’s website www.horsetrust.org.uk or cheques may be sent to The Horse Trust, Slad Lane, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 0PP. 

ILPH needs your help to re-home horses
THE International League for the Protection of Horses is appealing for people to come forward to re-home its exisiting horses and ponies to help ease the strain caused by the arrival of 11 rescued Amersham horses. 
The ILPH has been overwhelmed by the public response to the appalling case of equine cruelty in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and is looking for homes for its existing horses and ponies to help ease the strain caused by such a big operation. 
The ILPH has been assisting the RSPCA with the investigation since 4 January and on 10 January took in eleven of the horses, which will remain in ILPH care until a possible prosecution case at a later date. 
Tony Tyler, ILPH deputy chief executive, said: “The horses have been split between a number of welfare agencies, so the immediate housing problems have been dealt with. 
“However, large cases like this do put a strain on our yards as they are dealing with an increased number of horses, many of whom need intense and specialist care. 
“We currently have horses and ponies ready to be rehomed through our loan scheme from our centres in Norfolk, Lancashire, Somerset and Aberdeenshire, and finding homes for these animals will help us deal with these recent admissions.”  
If you are able to take a horse or pony on loan, please visit the ILPH loan scheme pages at www.ilph.org/hls.

New guidelines target dope test failures
By Louise Cordell 
LEADING horse feed manufacturers are being invited to sign up to a new series of guidelines to reduce the risk of feed-related dope test failures.  
It is hoped that the move, led by the British Equestrian Trade Association, will allow trainers to single out the companies that are taking necessary precautions to minimise naturally occuring prohibited substances in their products. 
BETA represents more than 80 per cent of the UK’s feed, supplements and proprietary forage manufacturers. Following discussions with the British Horseracing Authority, they have written to trainers across the country to update them on progress.  
Claire Williams said: “Manufacturers that agree to the conditions of the new guidelines will be independently audited and all products manufactured under these guidelines will be clearly marked on the packaging. Participating companies will also adopt standard terms and conditions relating to prohibited substances that will clearly state the limit of liability they are able to undertake. 
“It is important for trainers to realise that products manufactured under these guideline will have a reduced risk of containing a prohibited substance, however that risk cannot be completely eliminated.” 
Since 2002, 45 racehorses in the UK and nine in Ireland have returned positive dope tests linked to morphine in feed, leading to their disqualification and forfeiting prize money.  
The heightened incidence of the presence of morphine in horses’ blood and urine is believed to coincide with increased cultivation of poppies, especially the papiver somniferum variety grown for the pharmaceutical industry in the UK.  
Reputable feed manufacturers scrupulously and routinely test raw materials for freedom from prohibited substances, however morphine traces typically occur in small, discreet pockets that are virtually impossible to detect. No morphine related disqualifications have occured in FEI competitions to date, however BETA is maintaining a watching brief over equestrian disciplines outside racing.  
Participating feed companies are consid-ering establishing a Weatherbys managed fund which would be used to compensate for lost prize money in the event of a morphine-related disqualification.

Charity chosen for horse trials
ANIMAL welfare charity The Blue Cross has been chosen as the 2008 Charity of the Year at Badminton Horse Trials.  
One of the well known cross-country fences at the event will be named in the charity’s honour and they will also lead out the competitors parade at the end of the three day event in May.  
Kerstin Alford, director of equine welfare at The Blue Cross, said: “We are honoured to be chosen as Charity of the Year at such a prestigious event. 
“It is an exciting opportunity to tell people about our work rehabilitating and rehoming unwanted horses and ponies across the country.” 
The Blue Cross is supported by leading international event rider and Olympic competitor Mary King. 
To help celebrate The Blue Cross’s success, she made a trip to the Gloucestershire estate to meet and try out some of the charity’s horses that have found success in new homes. 
Mary said: “I think the work of charities like The Blue Cross is truly commendable.     
“Some people mistakenly think that charities only deal with elderly or companion horses, or those in poor health.   
“But I’ve seen first-hand that The Blue Cross works with some fine riding horses that any owner would be proud to take on.” 
Hugh Thomas, Director of Badminton Horse Trials, added: “The Blue Cross perfectly fits our criteria in being a major national charity with strong local connections.   
“We are lucky to have their horse ambulances here every year and it is particularly good to be able to recognise the dedicated work of people who help us in such a practical way.”

Scientist hoping to help horses
FROM false legs for dogs, to a wheelchair chariot for a rat, Salford University scientist Glyn Heath has brought mobility to dozens of disabled animals.  
Now the former zoologist is hoping that before long horses will be benefiting from his ground-breaking treatments.  
Dr Heath said: “We have had many enquiries about treatments for horses as vets are usually forced to resort to euthanasia when there is serious damage to the legs.  
“Up until now, there have not been any particularly successful prostheses in horses.  
“It is not the size of the animal that is the issue, as many people think; our technology can scale the artificial parts up to fit a brachiosaurus if we needed to!  
“But according to the vets we have spoken to, the main problem with fitting them to horses is issues with healing in the lower leg. 
“However, one area where we could really make a difference would be with injuries like sprains, by using something like a human caliper or knee brace, to allow the horse to recover strength. 
“You can’t tell a horse to take it easy for a few weeks like you can with a person, but equipment like this lets the healing take place. 
“So in situations where othotic restoration or post surgical rest is needed there will be scope for our work. 
“It is definitely an area that needs further research.” 
Dr Heath’s service is the first of its kind in the world and is currently only available via referrals from veterinary clinics. 
However, through the formation last year of a spin off company, Lacerta, Dr Heath hopes to make it available to the general public. Lacerta has now been nominated for the Times Higher Awards 2007 in the category of Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology.  
Dr Heath added: “It is a really important area as, especially with older animals, it can be a cheaper and less traumatic alternative to surgery, allowing continuing good quality of life that they could not otherwise have had.  
“In the future we aim to open clinics, develop a regular clinical base and use the money from that to fund further research. Unfortunately we can only do as much as resources allow us to do.  
“So we are hoping that by building up the business as much as possible, we will be able to raise enough money to make the treatment easily accessible for everyone that needs it.”

Professor ‘flabbergasted’ by equestrian award
THE pioneering veterinary research carried out by Professor William ‘Twink’ Allen has been recognised at the Animal Health Trust UK Equestrian Awards.  
He was presented with the Martin Collins Special Award for outstanding contribution to equestrianism in 2007.  
The prize is given to an individual who has been involved across all the equestrian disciplines and has gone beyond the calll of duty to make a real difference.  
Born and raised in New Zealand, Professor Allen went on to found the Equine Fertility Unit (EFU), a small, specialised veterinary research group which carries out research into aspects of reproduction in stallions and mares, based since 1988 in Newmarket.   
He was appointed to the first Jim Joel Professorship of Equine Reproduction at Cambridge Veterinary School in 1995 and has remained Honorary Director of the EFU. 
The EFU produced Europe's first test-tube foal in 2001 and has been the primary driver in increasing fertility rates in Thoroughbreds.  
It has recently been carrying out three major research projects, including one on using equine embryonic stem cells for tendon repair, but is due to close at the end of the year due to lack of funding. 
Professor Allen said: “I am flabbergasted, surprised and delighted.  
“It is an honour to be recognised like this, but I’d like people to recognise that the award is really for the many people who have created the Equine Fertility Unit, I’ve just been lucky enough to lead it.  
“There’s been a whole raft of equine, veterinary and scientific staff who have created it, and this is for them.”
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