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This year’s Appleby Horse Fair (4-11 June) passed quietly with only a handful of relatively minor equine incidents, according to leading welfare agencies.
The good news is in marked contrast to last year’s fair when a horse drowned while being washed in the River Eden.
The RSPCA had a 13-strong team of inspectors at the fair.
Chief inspector Rob Melloy said: “Most people behaved well and treated the animals as they were supposed to.
“The vast majority of those who [were not behaving well] accepted our advice and their animals benefited as a result.”
In addition to the RSPCA, four vets were on-site during the fair, together with three World Horse Welfare (formerly ILPH) inspectors.
A man from Walsall was cautioned by police for failing to present a Welsh pony colt with ulcerated eyes for treatment.
RSPCA inspectors gave out about 40 verbal warnings, mainly for over-riding and over-whipping in the flashing lane.
Chief inspector Melloy said: “We were very pleased with how they responded to the warnings and it was encouraging to see how many people brought their animals to us for treatment.”
In another case, vets saved a horse that cut an artery on debris in the River Eden.
Chris Williamson, World Horse Welfare field officer for the north-west, told H&H: “There were a couple of minor incidents handled effectively by the RSPCA, World Horse Welfare and attending vets.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (19 June, ’08)