We are all aware of the aim of Ada Cole who created the International League for the Protection of Horses in 1927 in response to seeing broken and work worn war horses destined to travel to slaughter on the docks of Antwerp – she swore to work for a world where the horse is properly used and not abused.

For BHS Scotland, last weekend was bound by two events that so fully and historically illustrated man’s 'use' of horses.

On Friday, we had the absolute privilege of attending the 50th anniversary of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, at Holyrood Palace, where the parade down the Royal Mile was led by four beautiful grey horses ridden by officers in scarlet. The BHS has been working with the regiment to set up spurs courses, which takes non- riders to a rider fit for ceremonial duties quick time using the Challenge awards and BHS Excellence Pathway.

The greys were supplied by Tower Farm Riding school and the overall picture was a delight to see. We all know horse riding is a risk sport and that the comfort and wellbeing of the horses is better when high standards of horsemanship, tack fitting and handling are adopted.

That is where best practice comes in – ensuring the best and safest standards for horse and rider and seeing these standards promulgated through a good riding school. What an honour for us all to work with the legacy of the Royal Scots Greys cavalry, whose charge instigated the turning point at Waterloo with such bravery and very high losses – so, anything we can do to improve the lives of horses, we do.

Then, on Sunday, we had another privileged experience when a dozen fortunate BHS members went behind the scenes with the Przewalski horse (known as ‘Takhi’ which means ‘spirit’ and very holy in Mongolia) at the Highland Wildlife Park to learn about the work being done at the zoo to preserve this critically endangered breed and make the horses’ lives easier.

This small stocky dun horse has a mane like a zebra that sticks straight up and has 66 chromosomes compared to the 64 on the domestic horse. In the 1980s, there was fewer than 20 of these horses left in the world and there are 2000 today thanks to the work of zoos, with some of them being released back into Mongolia.

At Kingussie, the staff and vets of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) are running a humane handling programme that means the horses can get vital health checks humanely using positive reassurance. The whole idea was started off by Bonny Mealand whose work, 'Touching Wild' – based on the ethological study of animal behaviour – offers some remarkable insights into all aspects of horsemanship.

It was while observing the Takhi that Bonny realised how open they were to positive reinforcement and as a result some of these incredibly wild creatures can have blood taken for genetic research, be inoculated and have their feet trimmed. It was a fascinating day showing how the ethological approach brings huge welfare benefits.

The beauty that horses bring to the world and their centuries of service merits much respect. How privileged are we to borrow their gentle strength and grace – its no wonder they are revered in Mongolia!