Passport to Horse Health

SRUC staff and students with Minister for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon (Front L-R: Professor Wayne Powell, Mairi Gougeon MSP, Sam Muir, David Hopkins, Louise Bulmer and Emily Stewart. Back L-R: Robyn Aitken on Ben, Paige Main on Purdy and Lucy Robb on Belle)

Students demonstrated their riding and horse care skills when Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon MSP visited SRUC’s Oatridge campus to highlight new legislation to improve equine identification.

The event, hosted at SRUC’s Scottish National Equestrian Centre, was organised by the British Horse Society (Scotland) to raise awareness of new regulations which came into force on 28 March.

A Scottish Equine Database (ScotEquine) has been introduced to strengthen the horse passport regime and under the new regulations, all horses will be required to be microchipped.

Mairi gougeon msp with duke and sruc equine studies student sam muir
Mairi Gougeon MSP with Duke and SRUC Equine Studies student Sam Muir

Ms Gougeon, who was shown the Oatridge facilities by Programme Leader Louise Bulmer and Stable Manager Shirley Melling, said: “This is another step forward in building up our data on horses across the country, including who owns them, where they have lived, and other factors which are essential to ensuring the best possible health and welfare levels for these animals.

“The Scottish Government wants the highest standards of health and welfare for both our animals and consumers. These regulations make it mandatory for owners to have their horse microchipped and will also include the phased introduction of retrospective microchipping.

“This will help provide us with more detailed information on ownership and location history which will be vital in terms of disease prevention and control. This will also make a difference in deterring some owners from abandoning their horses when the responsibility or expense of keeping them has become too great.”

Dean of the SRUC Central Faculty, David Hopkins, said: “We were very pleased to welcome Mairi Gougeon to our specialist equestrian centre at Oatridge to raise the profile of this new legislation.

“At SRUC, we are training the future workforce of this industry, so it is important students understand the relevance of the regulations for equine health. We are pleased to work with the British Horse Society to help promote the highest health standards for horses.”

SRUC offers a number of horse care and equine studies courses at its Oatridge campus.