De-nerving, ‘flattening’ ponies, and other things the horse world is talking about…

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    1. The de-nerving debate

    The clarification on a British Dressage rule that mentions neurectomy, a procedure whereby all or part of a nerve is cut to provide relief from pain, has sparked discussion over de-nerving. The rule states a horse is not eligible to compete when a limb or part of a limb is hyposensitive or hypersensitive, and hypersensitive limbs include “any alteration in sensitivity inducted by a neurectomy or chemical desensitisation”. One rider who opted for the procedure in the interest of her horse’s welfare, said the clarification does not encourage honesty and has raised concerns over how the rule will be policed by BD, which said it has been in place for some years, in the interests of horse welfare.

    Read the full story including vets and welfare experts’ views

    2. ‘Flattening’ ponies

    Organisers of the Great Yorkshire Show (GYS) have stressed the bigger picture in their horse welfare-related decisions and rules, after the Horse of the Year “clarified” its removal of some of the show’s qualifying classes. H&H reported on HOYS’ decision, which came about as the GYS would not drop its rider-age rule, brought in as people were still flouting the 20% maximum rider weight rule. A spokesman for GYS said while the show would always be open to discussion, the rider-age rule will not be removed as the show “wholeheartedly believes it benefits ponies not to be ‘bottomed’ or flattened by a larger person before entering the ring”.

    Read what GYS and HOYS had to say

    3. A determined young rider’s ticket to Hickstead

    Georgia Hogan jumping the 128cm bronze league with her 20-year-old mare Darth Moll

    A nine-year-old claimed her first Hickstead ticket by producing the sole treble clear of the winter 128cm second round at South View Equestrian Centre (12-13 February) on her 20-year-old pony name?. The young rider’s mum thought the pair were not quite ready for the top tracks this season but her daughter “begged her” to let her have a go, and when she jumped well on the first day of competition she allowed her to tackle the winter qualifier on day two.

    Find out how the action unfolded and how the whole arena got behind the young rider

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