Guidelines to help the emergency services cope better with equine incidents are being launched at Buckingham Palace today, Tuesday, 15 May.

The “Emergency Services Protocol” is the result an initiative started last year by Horse & Hound and the British Horse Society (news, 5 April) and is being hailed as one of the most important pieces of welfare work in recent years.

The guidelines aim to ensure any horse involved in an accident receives proper care as quickly as possible. They cover everything from how a 999 call should be dealt with to advice on identifying horses and coping with a large animal in an incident.

The BHS has worked on the protocols together with the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), Chief Fire Officers Association, Association of Chief Police Officers, RSPCA, The Horse Trust and the International League for the Protection of Horses. The protocol will be delivered later this month to the police and fire and rescue services.

An Emergency Services Protocol Fund has also been set up by the BHS and BEVA, to help minimise delays for injured horses receiving veterinary care when their owners cannot be traced. The fund will also pay for rescue training and specialist lifting and rescue equipment for the emergency services.

BEVA President Professor Josh Slater said: “The protocol is a most important equine welfare initiative with which we are proud to be associated. The fund is vital for the successful implementation of the Protocol and we are delighted with the generous and universal support that the fund has received from the horse industry.”

To donate to the fund, contact BEVA (tel: 01638 723555).