Riders and yards urged to join forces to help beat strangles

The equestrian community is being urged to take part in a national “Speak Out On Strangles” day as part of the Redwings’ Stamp Out Strangles campaign.

Yards and individual owners are invited to sign up to the initiative, on Saturday 6 July, to show support for fighting the infectious disease.

A spokesman for the charity said: “From fun rides to tack sales, games to picnics; yard managers can get involved by hosting activities for their clients, which can be used as a platform to share top tips on biosecurity and to encourage more horse owners to take the Redwings’ Stamp Out Strangles pledge.

“To date, almost 400 horse owners and 110 yard managers nationwide have already pledged to take proactive steps to protect their horses from infectious disease and to tackle the stigma sadly still associated with strangles.”

Yard managers who sign up to take part in the “speak out” day will receive a free goodie bag including resources to support them on the day, and free entry to a prize draw to win tickets to Your Horse Live. Individual owners can download posters and are encouraged to show their support by taking selfies with their horses and sharing on social media with the hashtag #SpeakOutOnStranglesDay.

They also can share their experiences of the disease on Redwings’ online strangles hub.

Redwings’ visitor centres will be hosting activities through the day and the charity’s head of welfare and behaviour Nic de Brauwere will be hosting a Facebook live session answering questions about infectious disease prevention.

The charity’s education and campaigns manager Andie Vilela said: “In a recent survey we discovered that negative attitudes towards strangles were a key barrier for yard managers and horse owners when it came to taking proactive preventative measures. With the Speak Out On Strangles day we want to break down those barriers and show that such attitudes are a thing of the past. Better hygiene and screening practices are already becoming the norm and with concerns around the equine flu outbreaks not abating, the appetite is there within the equestrian community to do more to protect horses.

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“This special day of action is designed to provide yard managers with the opportunity to have those positive conversations about better biosecurity or even introduce updated screening protocols to their clients in a fun and friendly way. Whatever activity they would like to host – whether it’s a relaxing hack or simply encouraging more people to join our campaign – it all helps to show that if everyone works together we can stamp out strangles.”

The day is part of an “exciting year” of events planned by the charity to highlight the vital importance of biosecurity including free veterinary seminars, and a strangles symposium held in March at the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in March where industry experts discussed how to encourage people to take action against the disease.

Owners can sign up to the Speak Out on Strangles Day on 6 July at Redwings’ website.

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