Riders have been warned to be extra vigilant for signs of colic, following an increase in calls from owners concerned about the condition this winter.

The British Horse Society (BHS) said many owners have been in touch in recent weeks.

It cited the fluctuations in weather and changes in horse management as a result of rain and snow as reasons for this rise in concern over colic.

“Winter weather can be an absolute nightmare,” said Emmeline Hannelly, BHS welfare education officer.

“Owners may be forced to change the management of their horses due to turnout conditions being unsafe especially with the amount of rain and snow which has fallen in recent weeks.

“The concern is that sudden changes in management can increase the risk of colic. The BHS is aware of high numbers of horses suffering from colic across the UK due to these current conditions.”

In September Dick Vet Equine vet Tess Fordham warned that overrugging can lead to horses displaying signs of colic when they are too hot.

Fluctuating temperatures, as the UK has seen in recent weeks, can cause horses to overheat if their rugs are not changed.

Colic is one of the most common emergency problems in the horse, and in partnership with the University of Nottingham; the BHS runs its REACT Now to Beat Colic campaign.

The campaign aims to educate owners on how to spot the early signs of colic in their horse and other colic-related issues.

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“There are steps owners can take to decrease the risks which are explained in our REACT Now to Beat Colic advice literature,” added Ms Hannelly.

To purchase a free copy of the BHS’s REACT Now to Beat Colic pack, email welfare@bhs.org.uk, call 02476 840517 or visit www.bhs.org.uk/colic

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