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What You've Helped the BHS Achieve in 2014

17 Dec 2014

2014 has been another stellar year for The British Horse Society.

From over 1,400 welfare concerns handled by our dedicated team, to influencing new dangerous dogs legislation,  to funding over 14km of new definitive bridleways and running over 650 exams in the UK and Ireland alone, we’ve achieved so much thanks to our members and supporters.

But we can’t stop there.

Help make 2015 an even bigger and better year for equestrian access, safety, welfare and education: join today and start your own BHS experience from just a few pounds per month.

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Read on to find out just how much The British Horse Society and British Riding Clubs have done this year.

On behalf of all horses in the UK, thank you for your continued support.

Improving Welfare
Improving Horse and Rider Safety
Improving Access
Improving Education and the BHS Register of Instructors and Grooms
British Riding Clubs and Competitions

Improving Welfare

• In 2014, the team have handled over 1,400 reports of welfare concerns throughout the country.
Working collaboratively with Defra, we conducted the largest survey of the English equine population. The survey was on ragwort perceptions and a staggering 13,963 responses were received in under four weeks.  
As a result of the survey, The British Horse Society, with Defra’s input, will be producing a toolkit for local equine groups to give people clear and targeted advice about the best practice and effective mechanisms for both control on own land and legal responsibilities in connection with ragwort.  
• We ran Challenge Rides this year in Peru, Iceland and India, raising over £22,000 for BHS Welfare. For 2015, we are launching two brand new exciting rides in Chile and Alpujarra, Spain.
• Funding was kindly granted from the Elise Pilkington Trust to run at least four castration clinics, gelding around 80 horses and contributing to the fight against equine overpopulation.

A BHS Challenge Rider exploring the Andes

• Together with SAC Consulting Veterinary Services, we were delighted to host our 2014 welfare conference, Biosecurity: Protecting Horses and Businesses, in Bristol in May.
• We also issued over 850 passports in accordance with the Operation Equine Link days. The Link days are a great opportunity to work alongside other equine welfare charities, the RSPCA, Redwings, World Horse Welfare, The Donkey Sanctuary and Bransby. All the HQ Welfare Team have assisted on days throughout the UK.
• We have launched a new advisory guide on Atypical Myopathy to help owners understand and reduce the risk of this disease, which has seen a recent spike in the number of cases.
• September saw the launch of our current appeal which featured three mares – Faith, Hope and Charity – who each had a dreadful start to life. The campaign follows the lives of the ponies as they were transformed quite literally from trash to treasure, through rehabilitation and training in BHS Approved Riding Schools, as they raise funds by Christmas to support their training and care as well as helping others like them, too.  
• 2014 has also seen us welcome 27 new Volunteer Welfare Officers to the BHS Welfare Team, who will work to investigate reported welfare concerns and act as an advice point for all horse owners in their local areas.

Improving Horse and Rider Safety

Don't be a dark horse!

• Making equestrians’ voices heard, we influenced the Dangerous Dogs Legislation in parliament through our work with ACPO and as result of the reports received through
• The BHS Safety team were the proud recipients of this year’s Tyresafe Community Safety Award. This award is particularly notable as it comes from outside the equestrian industry and is entirely to do with our transport safety work with NFU Mutual.
• The team’s work was also recognised with a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for our joint transport work again with NFU Mutual and PRP Horse Rescue.

• Training was provided for 27 new Riding and Road Safety Test Trainers, and our National Safety Conference was well-attended by delegates from across the equestrian community.
• Road Construction and Repair Specialists were supported by the BHS to make roadworks safer for vulnerable users, resulting in a significant donation to the Safety team to further their work.
• 10,000 horses and cycling leaflets plus advice and support was delivered in areas of countryside impacted by Le Tour de France in July, enabling better liaison and understanding of needs of equestrians. The team also worked with organisers of PruRide London Tour to get our Horses and Cycling leaflet included on emails to 80,000 cyclists.
• The Safety team responded to a total of 575 reports on across nine different categories.

Improving Access

• The Society provided bridge funding of over £25,000 for three paths for communities schemes in Somerset, Cornwall and Durham which has resulted in over 14km of new definitive bridleways. We are looking forward to creating more new routes in 2015 through our new Bridleways for Communities Fund.
• Seven new routes were recommended by the Planning Inspectorate to be added to the definitive map, and two routes saved from deletion.
• Two areas of waste land of the manor were registered as common land in Cornwall meaning that horse riders can now legally ride there
• Exchange land was secured at Walton Heath in Surrey.
Officers and Equestrian Access Groups (EAGs) submitted 10 definitive map modification order (DMMO) applications to secure routes that are not currently recorded on the definitive map and are researching numerous more.
• The team have worked hard to highlight the 2026 cut-off date, when historic bridleways that are not currently recorded on the definitive map will be lost to riders meaning that many routes that are currently being ridden by horse riders may be lost forever. The production of our 2026 Toolkit provides equestrians with the means to start work to preserve these routes for future generations of equestrians, walkers and cyclists.

Without input from everyone before 2026, could this be the future of access?

• The Society has adopted a new DMMO policy to guide access volunteers in respect of the submission of DMMO applications.
• The Access team have worked with Natural England who are providing 18km of equestrian routes with 127 hectares of area wide access on their national nature reserve estate.
• We have produced new advisory leaflets on surfaces, Access overview, and Riding through Cattle to assist all equestrians and to encourage more people to get out riding in our countryside and urban areas.
• To assist with the mapping of routes, both recorded and non-recorded we have been developing an exciting new simpler mapping facility using Memory Map, which will be rolled out in 2015. This has already been used to plot long distance rides in Scotland.
• We continue to support our volunteers and EAGs with a comprehensive access training programme, running 16 training courses attended by 87 delegates, holding our national Access Conference and a dedicated south west access meeting, plus two Scottish access technical information network days.
• The Society has also lobbied further nationally and locally to raise the profile of the need for more safe off-road access for equestrians. We met with Ministers this year and responded to several national consultation documents to ensure equestrian issues are considered.
• We continue to work with partners and government organisations to secure more access and are pleased to be taking forward initiatives with the National Trust, the Canals and River Trust and the Trails Trust among others.

Improving Education and the BHS Register of Instructors and Grooms

• 2014 was busy as ever for our Education team, who ran over 650 exam days in the UK and Ireland alone.  Exams also took place in Singapore, Hong Kong and the USA.
• Eight instructors achieved their BHSI certificates, with 18 new BHSII certificates awarded and an additional 184 BHSAIs.
Judith Murphy was welcomed as a new Fellow of The British Horse Society, following her successful completion of a gruelling exam day.
BHS Distinction Certificates were introduced to compliment EQL certificates for candidates who pass all units of a qualification on the same day.
• The team organised 56 two-day initial First Aid courses and 77 one-day refresher courses, plus 81 Safeguarding and Protecting Children courses – including nine specifically for British Eventing – and eight dedicated CPD days for Coach Educators.
• Training programmes were developed for our UKCC Level 2 and Level 3 ‘top up’ courses. BHS UKCC ‘top up’ courses have also restarted in Scotland following an agreement with Horse Scotland, providing Scottish candidates with the opportunity to gain a UKCC certificate if they achieve their Preliminary Teaching Test or Intermediate Teaching Test.
• Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) strategies have been developed for the three types of qualifications we are recognised to deliver – BHS Riding and Road Safety, UKCC and BHS Exams (Stages). Revised Complaints and Appeals Process and Request for a Reasonable Adjustment were launched recently.

Registered Instructors are now required to have a DBS check every three years. Managing this on a monthly basis means the team can process checks more efficiently and reduce any delays in administration. Instructors are also now required to attend a Safeguarding and Protecting Children course every three years, with additional courses run to cover demand.
• Replacing physical confirmation with emails has been well-received and has saved the Register team around £7,000 per year. Work is also underway on an automated email renewal system to replace the current system of sending reminders by post.
• The Register team started managing some data for British Eventing in October, which is working well. The long-term aim is to offer the same service to other disciplines who have their coaches on the Register, ensuring we provide a high level of customer service to both our Instructors and our working partnerships under the BEF.

British Riding Clubs and Competitions

Winning teams at this year's BRC SEIB Quadrille Selection

• By the end of the year, British Riding Clubs totalled 418 affiliated Clubs, including 11 new Clubs welcomed in 2014. Centre membership also took a great leap to a total of 88, with 29 new Centres who joined BRC during the year.
• Five BRC Championships were run with great success, with entries up from 2013 at all Championships.
• Qualifiers are now underway for a new BRC Intermediate Winter Championship, introduced as a direct result of member feedback.

Riders at the BRC NAF National Championships

• HQ staff attended multiple BRC area meetings to offer information and take feedback from members.
• The BRC team successfully trained over 100 Officials and Judges, meaning the highest standards of judging and safety will continue to be upheld at BRC events throughout 2015.
• April saw the BHS return to Warwickshire College for a hugely successful annual National Riding Schools Competition, giving Approved Centre riders from around the country the chance to compete on a national level.

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