A campaign to promote responsible breeding of horses in the UK has been welcomed by the equestrian industry.

With rescue centres full, coupled with a slowdown in the horse market, the British Horse Society (BHS) is encouraging owners to think before they breed from their mare.

“The single biggest welfare concern in this country is that there are too many horses,” said BHS welfare spokesman Lee Hackett. “Many welfare cases involve animals that are poorly put together and low-value animals that have ended up in the wrong hands.”

Blue Cross director of equine welfare Kerstin Alford told H&H overproduction problems are not only being caused by doting owners putting unsuitable mares in-foal, but also by groups of ponies being allowed to breed unchecked.

British Equestrian Federation head of equine development Jan Rogers said: “Anyone considering breeding should assess the quality of their mare, and choose the best stallion they can afford.”

The first event of the South Essex Insurance Brokers-sponsored BHS campaign is a breeding awareness day on 2 May at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire. Vets and equine reproduction specialists will talk about selecting broodmares.

Read this news story in full in the current issue of Horse & Hound (12 March, ’09)