Britain’s leading equine welfare organisations and charities are joining forces at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival, which starts tomorrow (3 April), to raise awareness of welfare issues in the wider equine population.

The RSPCA, World Horse Welfare, the British Horse Society and Retraining of Racehorses will be exhibiting on 1 stand under the banner of “The Horse Comes First” at Aintree, where more than 150,000 race-goers are expected over the 3 days.

These organisations all share major concerns about the ongoing equine crisis caused by a dramatic rise in the number of horses and ponies at risk of abandonment and neglect.

The marquee will be located adjacent to the Red Rum Garden, overlooking the parade ring and will be open over all 3 days of the Grand National meeting.

There will also be an equine vet on the stand to answer questions about all aspects of equine health.

Andrew Tulloch, director of racing at Aintree racecourse, said: “Racehorses rarely want for anything in terms of the care they receive, but that sadly is not the case for all horses in Britain and we want to do everything we can to promote these excellent charities working on behalf all horses in the UK.”

Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, added: “The Grand National is the ultimate steeplechase challenge for 40 horses every year, but this pales in comparison to the stark reality faced by 1,000s of horses across the UK every day who are not receiving the basic care they need.

“It seems so appropriate to highlight the current UK equine crisis — a man-made crisis — under the Horse Comes First banner at this pivotal event.”

For more information, visit: www.thehorsecomesfirst.com

Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s Grand National preview magazine, out tomorrow — Thursday 3 April.  

Picture courtesy of Mark Johnson/Help the horses of Fosse Park