Welfare charity the Blue Cross is appealing to horse owners to take part in the online National Equine Health Survey (NEHS) in May, to help safeguard the future health of horses and ponies.

This annual survey, which is run in partnership with the British Equine Veterinary Association, reveals vital information from owners about common health issues in horses — such as skin problems, lameness, weight issues and colic. The NEHS data enables the veterinary and equine industries define priorities for research, training and education, as well as establishing benchmarks for equine health in the UK.

Last year’s survey revealed that 18.6% of horses were suffering with lameness issues, predominantly degenerative joint disease, a 5% increase on 2012. This suggests a need to increase awareness of lameness management and prevention among the veterinary industry and owners.

The survey, which is now in its fourth year, takes 5mins to complete. Participants are also entered into a draw, with prizes such as a Jefferies Bridle, Olympia tickets and an Arthur Carter hay steamer.

Visit www.bluecross.org.uk/NEHS or email NEHS@bluecross.org.uk to register. The survey will be live from 18-24 May.