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Pony Welfare Report Form

Incident Report Form

Biosecurity and Guidelines for Notifiable Contagious Diseases


The HPA rules state that any suspected case of Ringworm, Strangles and EHV must be notified to the HPA and that a pony cannot be played again until signed off by a vet. These guidelines have been produced to help Players, Club Managers and Welfare Representatives.

The spread of equine disease is a perpetual risk given that polo yards have a large turnover of ponies including ponies that have been travelled from other countries. Strangles and ringworm in particular are highly contagious equine diseases, and suspected outbreaks of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) have recently been reported. All owners and Welfare Officers are encouraged to read the HBLB Codes of Practice to prevent specific diseases. Available online at http://codes.hblb.org.uk/.


To safeguard the horse population within your yard, train all staff in disease prevention, hygiene, identification, and control procedures.

  • Disease Prevention

    0.Isolate new arrivals for a period of 10 days or introduce horses from properties with a known high health status only. Isolate and pay particular attention to horses from sales complexes, from unknown mixed population yards and those that have used commercial horse transport servicing mixed populations.
    0.Verify the vaccine status of new arrivals.
    0.Keep records of horse movements so that contacts can be traced in the event of a disease outbreak.

  • Hygiene Procedures

    0.Regularly clean and disinfect stables between inmates.
    0.Clean and disinfect equipment and horse transport between horses.
    0.Remove as much organic material as possible before disinfection.
    0.Control rodents and keep feed in rodent-proof containers.
    0.Have separate water and feed buckets, grooming kit, rugs etc for each pony.

  • Identification

    The following are a set of vital signs for the normal healthy horse and appropriate examinations for general health:

    • Temperature 36.5-38.5C

    • Breathing rate 8-15 breaths/min

    • Heart rate (at rest) 25-45 beats/min

    • Capillary refill time (in gums) – 1-2secs

    • Look for eye or nose discharges

    • Observe how the horse is standing

    • Check for consistency and number of droppings

    • Check consumption from water buckets

    • Assess horse’s general demeanour

  • Control

    0.Contact your veterinary surgeon if any of your horses show clinical signs of sickness and isolate horses at the first sign of sickness until an infectious or contagious disease has been ruled out. Do not move sick horses except for isolation, veterinary treatment or under veterinary supervision.
    0.Maintain controlled access for vehicles and visitors.
    0.Provide hand washing facilities and hand disinfection gel for staff handling groups of horses and provide separate protective clothing and footwear for handling and treating sick horses.
    0.Attend to sick horses last (ie feed, water and treat) or use separate staff. Extract taken from the NTF Code of Practice for Infectious Diseases of Racehorses in Training – June 2012

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