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As spring turns to summer, and many of the foals are maturing, the season for horse fairs begins...writes Beth Cooper, in this month's Welfare Corner.
There are a number of large, famous horse fairs which pop up from May to September, as well as smaller regional fairs.
Some horse fairs are strictly for the buying and selling of horses, some incorporate elements of parading and showing off horses, and some even have funfairs and stalls like you might find at a village fete or festival. Many horse fairs in the UK have deep historical roots and are certainly a different experience to the modern method of buying and selling horses via the internet.
Animal welfare organisations often have a presence at these fairs, whether it’s a couple of field officers just there looking for cases where welfare advice is needed, or a larger presence like the kind seen at Appleby Horse Fair. Not only are they there to check that any animals present are being cared for and treated appropriately, but it can also be an excellent opportunity to provide general advice and education about animal husbandry. It’s also a good way of connecting with different horse owners to learn about their experiences.
For many of the big fairs you will often see a vet present. They are there to deal with any veterinary emergencies and support the RSPCA with assessing possible veterinary issues during the fair. They also provide advice and guidance to owners on issues such as worming, wound treatment, infectious diseases, and other veterinary topics.
Horse fairs can be big and loud and chaotic, and it can be very easy to get swept away in all the excitement. If you’re planning to attend a horse fair this year, here are some tips to help you make the most of it:
In a world of sales websites and Facebook marketplace, horse fairs and markets can be a fascinating, sometimes challenging, window into a world of tradition. By using the tips above, you can have a safe, responsible time this summer – remember to wear sunscreen!
If you’d like to learn about Horse Fairs in the UK, and how Redwings gets involved, there’s lots more to read and watch below:
Welfare awards are back at this year's Appleby Horse Fair | Redwings Horse Sanctuary and Equine Veterinary Centre
Appleby Horse Fair Welfare Awards and Advice - YouTube