By Helene Mauchlen

With corona virus stealing the news agenda and dictating our activity; (and you can’t say that going anywhere other than local to ride is essential in the current emergency), it great to see how the horse world is mostly playing its part in the standstill. Equine welfare, 1:1 coaching, indoor arenas and our vital support services; farriers, vets etc. are all recognised as crucial to health, safety and welfare and therefore protected in all tiers. So as an industry we manage but we worry about the many SMEs, riding schools and competition centres in tier 3 that form such a vital function. BHS Scotland is giving advice and support 24/7 and will continue to do so if its required.

Amid the preoccupation and fog are some future proofing chinks of light that show how out of even the darkest times comes hope. It has been a privilege and a mood lifter to see how the Moredun Equine Grass Fund has used the year to progress in a way that was unimaginable 12 months ago. (so much was unimaginable 12 months ago). Now they are launching a massive “multifactorial” project looking at every aspect of this devastating disease and they are employing a research fellow, creating a biobank for samples and looking at all the environmental factors surrounding an outbreak. All science will join, and the BHS will support the evidence gathering process. As with all the best projects its to be a massive partnership involving a crucible process which brings all emerging science round the table leaving no stone (literally) unturned. Talk of hopeful!

Practically we are planning grassland days next year to support this project, as good management and a de-stressing routine goes a long way to protecting the horse and the environment. We are thinking of including seed mixes, trees & hedges, shelter, soil care and a close look at husbandry approaches including worming, supplements, feeding, watering and company.

Then there was a privileged trip for me to Leuchars in Fife to learn all about the remounting of a Scottish Regiment that will bring back The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards’ ‘terrible grey horses.’ It is 205 years since the Battle of Waterloo when Napoleon; on witnessing a charge of the Royal Scots Greys was loosely translated as saying “Those terrible grey horses! How they strive.” Forever and today professional soldiers and the whole of Scotland celebrates the past, present and future of the Scots Greys. The British army’s most colourful and better-known cavalry regiment and now there are plans to see the greys in ceremonial action in Scotland again – how hopeful is that? It was moving to see SCOTS DG band playing at the cenotaph last Sunday as we held our two minutes silence.

A constructive meeting was held recently between The British Horse Society Scotland and Royal Scots Dragoon Guards to discuss equestrian training for army personnel working towards undertaking ceremonial duties mounted on the iconic Scottish military grey horses. The BHS Equestrian Excellence Pathway will be used to take riders through spur courses from non-rider to rider in quick time. This is a great partnership bringing benefits to both the SCOTS DG and The British Horse Society. BHS Scotland was a delighted to be presented with an amazing history of the Regiment and hear the long-term plans to “Rally the Greys” once again.

Picture from L to R

Cpl Ian Pragnell

Lt Alex Humphries

Capt Michael Houstoun

Mrs Loraine Young BHS Scotland Chairman

Helene Mauchlen BHS Scotland National Manager