Horse owners across Aberdeenshire urged to join new ScotEquine card scheme
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Horse owners across Aberdeenshire are being urged to join the ScotEquine card scheme which will assist in the event of a disease outbreak, further protect Scotland's equine population and support industry led research.
ScotEquine aims to put all of Scotland's horses and ponies on the map and to track their movements across the country.
The wallet-sized ScotEquine card is more convenient for carrying around than the existing paper horse passports and owners can sign up for their card at www.scotequine.com .
Riding school and livery owner Julie Thompson has 21 ponies and horses at Wardhaugh Farm Riding Centre in Inverkeithny which she runs with her daughter Andrea.
"We offer hacks from one hour to a full day, and theoretically we should have our horses' passports with them so should we be stopped we have all their details," Julie explained.
"Taking the paper passports out on the hacks isn't practical and, if asked, we then have three hours to produce the details for our horses.
"If we are out for the day, this wouldn't be possible.
"But with the ScotEquine cards, we can put them in a bum bag for the ride leader to carry so we can always have their passport details to hand."
The ability to connect more than one individual to each horse's ScotEquine card was also a big draw for Julie as several of her riding school horses are also on part-loan to riders.
"Part-loaning a horse or pony is a convenient way to get that first step on the horse-owning ladder and we have several people who part-loan some of our riding school horses.
"This means they have several people connected with them, rather than a single owner.
"With the ScotEquine scheme, you can allocate several individuals to a horse's database record and issue a card for each to carry."
Wardhaugh Farm's livery facilities were another reason for Julie to sign up to the ScotEquine scheme as it also acts as an ‘early warning system' should there be a risk of transferrable diseases.
"If we or any of our liveries are competing at a show and another horse at that show has a transmittable disease, then we will be notified.
"The same applies if there is a local outbreak, for example, strangles.
"This means we are protected both ways and gives us that extra peace of mind," she added.
More about ScotEquine, including how to sign up to join the scheme and receive a ScotEquine card for each horse or pony, can be found at the above link.