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Vaccinations and volunteers debated at British Riding Clubs Conference

Vaccinations and volunteers were the main topics on the agenda at the recent British Riding Clubs' (BRC) Conference held at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire (16 November), attended by members from across the country.

BRC requires competitors to produce current equine flu vaccination certificates for all its qualifier and championship competitions, and the debate, which produced strong feeling, centred around whether this should continue. With the national championships attracting competitors from across the UK, and with horse welfare in mind and to prevent any risk of spreading disease, the unanimous agreement was that the requirement should stay.

'The Vanishing Volunteer' similarly produced a spirited debate, with delegates and the panel in full agreement that this was becoming a huge problem, not just for riding clubs, but also across the equestrian world as a whole. With events, championships and the running of clubs themselves relying heavily on unpaid support, the lack of volunteers coming through is causing concern. The 'election of volunteers' for help was discussed and may have to be introduced over the 2004 season.

Two riding clubs were awarded prizes for guiding the highest number of members through BRC examinations in 2003. They were Ackworth Riding Club from Yorkshire and Chiltern Riding Club based in Berkshire. A third club, Gransha Riding Club from Northern Ireland, were unable to attend the conference and will receive their prize at a later date.

The date for next year's British Riding Clubs' Conference will be 7 November 2004


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