The BHS Livery Yard Approval Scheme has proved so successful that the society is now dealing with 10 requests a day.

Launched in July last year at the Royal International Horse Show, 64 livery yards throughout the country have now been given permission to display the coveted green plaque. This plaque proves that each yard has passed a searching inspection and met demanding standards under the British Horse Society Livery Yard Approvals Scheme.

More than 30 other yards are currently in various stages of inspection or examination before a final decision is made on their suitability to be admitted to the scheme.

The scheme is supported by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) and Home of Rest for Horses. It is sponsored by South Essex Insurance Brokers, Intervet and Merial Animal Health.

“Proprietors are very much aware that this is the way forward,” says Lesley Barwise-Munro, BEVA information office and chairman of the committee responsible for the launch.

“It has added weight because of the government’s interest in bringing in compulsory licensing, in line with other animal boarding establishments. If this eventually happens, BHS approval standards should almost certainly be in line with those expected for licensing”

Now the committee, which recently met at Stoneleigh to review progress,is considering ways in which the scheme can be made even more attractive, among them arranging product discounts.

“The benefits are quickly becoming obvious around the country,” says Mrs Barwise-Munro. “Some local authorities are referring proprietors to the scheme, and in one area the local fire brigade is sending staff to learn how to deal with horses in a fire.

“Most of all, however, we are delighted at the way livery yards have responded to this scheme, which came about originally because veterinary surgeons were becoming concerned about various aspects of welfare. The interest is highlighting that livery yards have to compete, and they have to provide certain standards of care for both owners and their horses in order to achieve a profitable level of business.”

For more information on The British Horse Society Livery Yard Approval Scheme contact Christine Doran (tel: 01926 707700).