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A Day in the life of Helene Mauchlen

7 Feb 2018


Meet Helene Mauchlen our National Manager for Scotland. As part of our ‘I didn’t know the BHS did that’ campaign for our Platinum Year, throughout February we will be focusing on the work that our team of 13 regional and national managers do. No two days are the same, but Helene gives an insight into what the role involves…

You need a lot of drive and energy to be a national or regional manager for the BHS. For me each morning begins with a run, I need to be able to exercise every day… it keeps me sane!

Back at the desk we receive well over 50 emails a day, this can involve a lot of catch up if we are out in the field. From writing responses to national consultations or agendas for meetings, it’s a real mix bag but emails can bring a good opportunity to network, fundraise or recruit volunteers. We try and stay at our desks at least a couple of days a week… but that is not always possible.

There is no such thing as a typical member of the Development Team, as we all have different ways of adapting our roles to our particular areas. With mine being Scotland where every bit of legislation relating to the horse and equine industry is devolved.  My meetings are often national in nature from discussing access to the countryside to visiting Scottish Parliament, or even spending the day with Police Scotland.

Speaking on behalf of others is a large part of my job; and where there is conflict between horse riders and land owners and others I am often called in to arbitrate… and no I don’t always take the side of the rider! For instance if one rider takes irresponsible access to a section of land, it could result in hundreds of local riders losing their safe off-road riding. Equally, I’ve been unfortunate to see horses suffer terribly in some instances. I have seen horses killed by dogs (two in Scotland last year) horses’ die of purpura hemorrhagica as a result of an avoidable and aggressive strangles outbreak; and riders and horses killed on the road.

So education is our best weapon, currently with the help of Patrick Print FBHS we are promoting the new Equine Excellence Pathway across Scotland. I wouldn’t be able to do everything without the help of my amazing Scottish colleagues Julie Hanna, Sophie Arnold and Tricia Halley. With the support of them, our Approved Centres and 15 committees, we run regional and national events – with on average over 350 a year in Scotland. Events can range from BHS First Aid to a wine and cheese nights.

In Scotland the BHS is by far and away the biggest equine membership organisation – so we work very much in partnership– for instance we hold an annual welfare conference with Scottish Government, World Horse Welfare, Scottish SPCA and the Donkey Sanctuary. Being a valued partner is so important to us and we try and support horsescotland (our BEF equivalent) as much as possible.

Organising events takes a lot of work, I once had to tell 30 farriers (who had all given up a day’s work to attend a vet session on laminitis) that the presenter’s plane was grounded. I had the break the news to them, but in the end they all rose to the occasion and presented to each other. What could have been a disaster turned out to be really informative.

Horses’ drive an industry that is as important to Scotland as farming, tourism and forestry – so that’s my job – getting a fair deal and improving lives for equine.

I have worked for the BHS for over one third of my life and during that time seen so many changes, it’s always challenging and no two days are the same. I was employed to further the aims of the BHS in Scotland- I believe with all my heart and soul that I do that every day.

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