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For any equestrian facility to admit it has strangles, as a recent spate of the condition has necessitated, is as brave as it is ethical. To do so is good practice and essential to limit spread of the condition.

Therefore any equestrian facility putting their hand up to let the remainder of the equestrian community know they have an infected horse or horses in situ should be praised.

The impact of being tarred with the banner of having horses infected with strangles on your premises was once feared as extensive. Should you hold events or rent out arenas or courses, then even when the coast was clear and all horses tested free of the condition the fear was that the perception of there being disease may linger, keeping competitors and visitors away and having an adverse effect on income. Those travelling from the yard — again once the risk was gone — also feared a frosty reception wherever they attended.

Hopefully public opinion has moved on, with communities confident that if a centre had the good sense and honesty to announce when there is reason for concern they can be trusted when they say the coast is clear, too. This is my sincere hope, since the thought of individuals keeping their mouths shut and venturing out regardless — or allowing others to venture in blithely — leaves us little chance of containing this or other infectious diseases that can have such a devastating impact on our horses’ health.

Ref: H&H 9 April, 2015