Oh Pooh!

Strange times in a strange world, the BHS is a sponsor at the RHS show case this week, well having been a major equine trade stand holder for 66 years – until last year - we couldn’t not support our major Scottish shop window. We wish the Royal Highland well and can’t wait for normality to resume, hopefully in 2022.

Talking of events BHS Scotland is back to delivering in an outdoor socially distant way, we had 173 riders at our Loch Lomond ride last week and what a pleasure it was. The route began in the stunning Drymen Showfield and explored the grounds of Buchanan Castle, seat of the Dukes of Montrose and lined by the most beautiful azaleas before climbing to the Garadhban Forest and stunning views of Loch Lomond on the West Highland Way. The hall mark of the day was multi-use as we mixed safely with walkers, cyclists and cars and tourists, a busy but happy time was had by all! Also, we raised the equivalent of 12 self-closing gates in pounds as every penny goes to improving multi-use access to the countryside.

On the whole we get very few complaints about irresponsible equestrian access, but I have to say when it is this dry with the flies starting; dung on busy paths can be a nuisance, unpleasant for pram pushers and wheel chair users and equines do have a habit of poohing where others have poohed or at the same place each day, so it can become a problem. We encourage riders to get off and kick it to the side, some stables do a daily pooh run picking the dropping sup and removing. Some gardeners love it, some places keep a shovel behind a hedge. Horse pooh is not toxic like dog pooh, it is not a biosecurity threat its just digested grass – but its an issue that we all must take seriously – as we must consider others.

With the new parliamentary term we have new policy challenges as we work with Scottish Government towards simplifying equine legislation around the licensing of animal keepers. Another big challenge is to get all horses their own ScotEquine card. It would be great if horse owners realised the amount of investment Scottish Government has put into creating this scheme which is user friendly and provides real time traceability, sends out alerts on strangles, EHV and even flu and enables us to truly quantify our industry at last. A great aim is to get everyone registered, its still free at the moment!

Training wise our Equine Excellence Pathway offer continues to get rolled out thanks to the excellent work of our education department – we are holding ‘’back in touch days for our coaches and looking forward to a more face to face delivery, including a Russell Guire biomechanics evening in Strathearn coming soon.

The industry is out and about and it is amazing to hear of the hundreds of entries for the RHS showcase showjumping – all to be held on the beautiful covered arena – our accredited jumping coaches are flat out preparing everyone. I hope the show jumping gets a good lot of online viewings, it is always one of the most popular atttractions at the show, and we wish the competitors all the best this week.