An interactive open day at the Lea Valley Riding Centre in London takes place on 23 May to officially launch the Equine Health and Welfare Strategy for Great Britain.

The strategy is a 10-year plan to safeguard the welfare of all equines in the UK by providing guidance and support to owners.

Admittance to the open day at Lea Valley Riding Centre in Leyton is free. The day is aimed entirely at educating owners and children — and would-be owners — toward better horse ownership.

There will be demonstrations by vets and leading welfare charities, and an opportunity to exchange views with celebrity guest Frankie Dettori, government officials and equine industry representatives.

“We have a mechanical horse coming so children who have never been on a horse can experience riding for the first time, children will have the chance to look at worms under a microscope and some leading charities are bringing educational computer games,” said Elaine Cannon, secretary of the National Equine Welfare Council. “One organisation will link obesity with horses to obesity in people using a ‘buckaroo’ game.”

Horse owners and keepers will also be helped to understand what duty of care and obligations are expected of them under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The Equine Health and Welfare Strategy has been drawn up by a working group led by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) in response to the 2004 publication of the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy for Great Britain.

The strategy has eight aims — from reviewing disease surveillance methods to improving the education of those who work with horses — and will be implemented over the next 10 years. It was first announced by Barry Gardiner, minister for the horse, at the National Equine Forum in London on 22 March.

For more information on the strategy and the Lea Valley Open day, plus maps, travel details and car parking arrangements, visit: www.equinehealthandwelfarestrategy.co.uk