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The 2nd International Conference on the Transportation of Competition Horses is to be held at Hartpury College Gloucestershire during the weekend of 12th - 13th July 2003.

Mary Gordon-Watson

When I was competing in horse trials, travelling horses around the world was a relatively rare occurrence. Now, not so many years on, thousands of horses clock up many thousands of miles annually, whether on the international competition circuits, transporting to studs or race meetings worldwide, or just attending local shows.
Both horse owners and professional transporters need to be aware not only of the best and safest ways to travel horses, but the increasingly complex network of legislation and regulations imposed by the European Union.

For this reason anyone who transports horses - their own or other peoples' - is strongly advised to attend the Conference this July.
Whether carrying a single horse by road to a local show, shipping a load of breeding stock across the water, or flying a team of fit horses to an international event, it is vital to know how to minimise the risks and avoid any unnecessary stress. The welfare and performance of those horses depends upon it.

This Conference has been arranged by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), because they believe it has now become essential to bring together all those involved in moving horses by road, sea or air.

World authorities who will present the key issues include, Professor Catherine Kohn and Professor Fred Derkson from the USA, Dr Des Leadon (President of the World Equine Veterinary Association), Peter Kettlewell from the Silsoe Research Institute, Eddie Harper from the Animal Road Hauliers Association and Emma Stamper, President of the Animal Transport Association (AATA). Horse transporters and flying grooms will also speak and important rules will be explained by regulators, while the most important veterinary and welfare aspects will be covered by leading experts in these fields.

"The conference will review transport risk factors and existing guidelines," says Alex Atock, ILPH Consultant and Conference Secretary. "We want to capture the views of the industry on aspects of managing horses during movement, and assess the safety and design of horse transport by road, sea and air"

As the movement of horses around the globe is ever escalating, much wider knowledge worldwide is needed: the trial and error approach is no longer acceptable.
At the top level, the 2004 Olympic Games are due to take place in Athens in Greece, and then Beijing (China). Neither venue is experienced in receiving elite horsepower. China in particular will need all the assistance and advice on offer. At all levels guidelines need to be known and established.

Vehicle and aircraft design, roll on and roll off ferry journeys and relevant veterinary concerns and practices in the long haul shipment of horses, all will be addressed at the Conference. Shipping agents will explain how they ensure that your horse has a trouble free journey, while the assessment and competence of travelling grooms will also be considered.

Your liability when transporting horses, whether as a private individual or as a major equestrian federation will be discussed; European and International rules and regulations which affect YOUR horse, and disease risks for the travelling competition horses are all on the agenda.

Last but not least the plight of old and work worn horses on their final journey to the slaughterhouse, possibly for consumption, will be reviewed by ILPH and American experts. Ample time has been set aside for discussion in which you can ask the experts to assist you with your problem.

A Veterinary Research Group Meeting, chaired by Professor Catherine Kohn (University of Ohio), running parallel to the Conference, will provide a forum for invited delegates to discuss new information and research on equine transport, identify areas for future study, and define opportunities for collaboration. An impressive number of top researchers from North America and Europe will report on their work.

Full details and registration procedures can be found on the ILPH website at www.ilph.org follow links to the Transportation Conference. There are still places available so register now to avoid disappointment !

We look forward to seeing you at Hartpury College in July.



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