By Helene Mauchlen

What was it Walter De La Mare said about November? “There is wind where the rose was, cold rain where the sweet grass was and clouds like sheep,” we certainly can identify with that this year and the managers of Scottish ski slopes will be hoping the frost bodes well for a few long moths of snowy hills.

Ponies are very well in November generally – coming out of summer in good – too good in our Dolly’s case– condition and enjoying sudden windy canters and snorting for no reason, with plenty rough grazing on the moor I think we can fortunately hold off on supplementary forage for a few weeks.

At this time of year, our gnashers (equine and human) are vital so it's good that the BHS welfare team has just released a useful new booklet called ‘No pain – check again’, our equine dental health project run jointly in partnership with the Equine Dental Clinic EDC.

The guide identifies 20 years of development in the field of equine dentistry and aims to demystify concerns around the scale of dental problems in horses pointing out that horses are such stoic animals tending to hide their dental pain. It takes a lot to put our equine herbivore off its food.

Recent studies have shown that up to 70% of horses have undiagnosed dental problems and that prevention is better than dealing with a catastrophe so the title 'No pain – check again' aims to get owners to do just that.

So what are the key messages from the project?

Prevent problems by regular (6-12 monthly) examinations for all equines at all ages from foal upwards.

Always use a veterinary surgeon or a qualified equine dental technician registered with the British Association of Dental Technicians

Order your free dental guide by emailing

Fireworks are another feature of November and who does not enjoy an officially organised public display?

BHS Scotland recently put forward a robust response to a recent Scottish Government consultation on fireworks. Following heart breaking posts showing equines and pets suffering from anxiety and accidents on social media this November, there was such an overwhelming response to the consultation that it is a relief to know that tighter controls on the sale and use of fireworks are almost a certainty now.

November also means more dark hours when being seen and being safe must become an obsession for those riding or moving equines by road in the gloaming.

It is encouraging to hear about another new BHS initiative inspiring primary school children between the ages of 9-11 years on how to pass horses safely on the road as pedestrians, cyclists or simply passengers in a car. The aim of this educational and fun ‘Henry the Horse Project’ is to pass on the Dead Slow message with the intention of interested youngsters in turn passing on their observations to drivers and other friends and adults after a fun equestrian safety themed school day.

The project comprises lesson plans, best practice workshop and learning outcomes games using hobby horses. Each child that takes part gets a rosette and game to take home. It’s great to inspire new generations in the class room and also light a spark of interest in the wholesome and opportunity filled equine world.

BHS innovation and education is making November a month of anticipation and hope for a better world for horses and people – we just need to wrap up and wear our hi-viz with pride!