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The Weigh To Win

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June 2022

Awards for Healthy Body Condition in Show Horses


The Horse Trust is ramping up their 2022 Healthy Body Condition Awards for Show Horses with more shows than ever signing up for the programme.  This weekend the Awards will be given out at The NEDZ Aintree National Showing Show from Friday 17ththrough to Sunday 19thJune.

Equine Obesity is currently one of the top topics in the equine world at the moment because it's recognised, by the British Equine Veterinary Association, as one of the highest-ranking equine health risks today.

Special thanks to Rufford Veterinary Practice for supporting the Programme locally and helping to make this event "weight aware".

The Royal International Horse Show, Great Yorkshire and Herts County are among over 40 affiliated and unaffiliated shows throughout the country that are participating in the programme to reward the show horses and ponies with the Healthiest Body Condition. Vets are working in conjunction with the judges to give each horse a body condition score and award a special green and gold rosette for the best score in a range of classes. 


The RIHS have supported the programme since 2019, and plan to include more classes and a higher profile for the awards at this year's event.  David Ingle, Director of Showing at the Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead and former Chairman of The Showing Council, said, "Showing is keen to become more educational and we are in an era of great improvement in equine welfare, with increasing scrutiny under social license.  This initiative shines a light on this important aspect of showing.  We will be making this award in more classes and highlighting the importance of correct weight to competitors at the RIHS this year", said David.  



What is The Weigh To Win Initiative?


The Horse Trust's Programme is an important initiative to reward healthy equine body condition and raise awareness of healthy body condition in show horses.  Showing in particular is often seen to promote horses who are overweight and our aim is to challenge and educate on what is an ideal body condition.


The programme will run at events throughout the Showing season providing friendly, supportive advice and guidance to owners, riders and producers, both at the events and during online training sessions and webinars.


Jan Rogers, Head of Research and Policy at The Horse Trust, says, "We get very upset by seeing photos of underweight horses in the media, but in reality, far more horses are obese than are underweight. This is worrying for vets who are finding that they have to treat these horses with serious health conditions like Equine Metabolic Syndrome and Laminitis. Peoples' perceptions of what is a healthy weight have shifted towards the higher body condition scores. We would like to help to reset this balance."


Behaviouralchange scientist Dr Tamzin Furtado, from the University of Liverpool, created and piloted the scheme in collaboration with The Horse Trust in order to spread the word on how best to go about maintaining the healthiest weight."Horses who are overweight or cresty are sometimes celebrated for their condition - and we want to slightly challenge that, by celebrating horses in ideal body condition",said Tamzin,who is also running additional condition scoring clinics at shows this summer.Fellow Liverpool University graduate and vet, Ben Curnow, MRCVS, who judged body condition as part of the 2019 pilot programme, added,"It's not about being critical of, or challenging the judges, just showcasing what ideal body condition looks like."


The Horse Trust delights in sharing the success stories in their quest to see more healthy-weight horses. We will be featuring the stories of the Awards made across the media.


For further information and details of how to get involved in the 2022programme, contact via telephone on 01903 892060.






For more media information, contact Jennifer Cranford 892060.


Images attached:

  • Ami Conchie with Maesbrithdirnlady Gaga & Doonagore Boy, winners of the award in the M&M Working Hunter Pony at RIHS 2021. 
  • Alice Homer and Ballinclare, RIHS Intermediate Champion 2021 with Dr Tamzin Furtado.
  • Dean Shaw and Abbyward Cashel, Maxi Cob winner of the award, RIHS 2021.





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