VET’S DIARY: Hundreds of horses, but no serious injuries

When I was on duty recently at Burgham Horse Trials in Northumberland. My job was to be available and treat any injured horses during or immediately after their round, writes Stephen Bradley.

There is always a huge amount of preparation that goes into organising such a large event, as well as a considerable amount of time and dedication by horse riders and their horses to train and prepare to compete at such a high-profile event.

Everything was top-notch and well organised which was a good start.

We also had a stand at the event which was manned by volunteers from the practice, who gave up their day off to meet and greet the public. We also sponsored the Novice section and Rhoda from our Fairmoor branch got up to present the prizes, so well done Rhoda!

There were 460 horses over two days featuring some of the most well-known eventing riders in the UK on our doorstep as well as lots of local competitors, many of whom are clients with horses we have treated and seen come back into work after an injury. It is very satisfying to see these horses making their way around the course and the riders back doing what they enjoy most.

I positioned myself in my vehicle on the cross-country course, which is where incidents such as falls are most likely to occur.

I managed to park near the water jump which, although not intentional, is an interesting place to watch for horses unseating their rider into the water.

No one did end up in the drink and I thought I was heading for an uneventful day when it started to get a bit busy.

First a horse pulled a shoe in front of me so I had to pull the shoe right off and check the foot which was fine, then over the radio was a call to attend a horse with a cut leg in the lorry park which I headed off to.

No sooner had I got there when another call came to go back to the cross-country course for a horse which had fallen so I raced back to that. Fortunately it was ok, but then another call over the radio to see another horse with a cut in the lorry park!

Then this was closely followed by another call to go back to meet an owner about a horse which needed an anti-inflammatory injection.

Thankfully none of these were serious injuries and I had a vet student to help me, which was useful for an extra pair of hands.

All in all it was a nice day with no serious injuries to horses or riders and I didn’t even miss lunch, which is a bonus most days of the week, and we even had a mobile tea steward doing the rounds on the course which was most welcome.