Ear-trimming rules, an injured groom, and other things the horse world is talking about

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  • 1. To trim or not to trim… your horse’s ears

    The Great Yorkshire Show (GYS) has introduced a rule banning excessive trimming of equine ear hair in the interests of horse welfare. The show, which this year runs from 11-14 July, has led the way with new rules to help combat a number of welfare concerns in recent years, including banning the trimming of whiskers and other sensory hairs before the 2022 event. GYS entries and livestock coordinator Amanda Stoddart-West told H&H that although ear hair isn’t exactly like whiskers, it does serve an important protective role. “Traditionally ears were always trimmed for purely cosmetic purposes to achieve the neatest look possible, but we must move with the times and put the animal’s needs first, and if it’s felt it’s necessary, an ear can be trimmed externally without touching the inner hair,” she said.

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    2. A top groom suffers broken arm

    Tilly Hughes pictured with London 52.

    Laura Collett’s groom Tilly Hughes is recovering after she was kicked at the first veterinary inspection at the Eventing Spring Carnival at Thoresby Park (30 March to 2 April). Laura said: “Unfortunately one of the horses was overexcited to be at a party, bucked and kicked out during trot-up and caught Tilly’s arm in the process. She tried to say it was just a bruise but we all knew it was broken so she was shipped off to hospital. She was operated on that night and came straight back to the event the following day with a smile on her face and apologising that she’d left me alone with four horses.”

    Why Laura has more respect for grooms than ever

    3. A major horse rescue operation


    One of the ponies rescued from the common.

    A mare was put down as a dozen non-microchipped ponies were removed from a Welsh common in a multi-agency operation involving several welfare organisations. The remaining 11 were removed on welfare grounds. The RSPCA worked with Redwings Horse Sanctuary, World Horse Welfare, the Donkey Sanctuary and Caerphilly County Borough Council to remove the ponies, which are now in RSPCA care. “Unfortunately [one mare’s] condition was so serious that the vet advised that action to prevent further suffering was carried out straight away,” said RSPCA inspector Christine McNeil.

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