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26.12.2022 How To Grow A Healthy Horse: Part 1

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This is a report of my own learnings from the British Horse Foundation Round Table Event, held in October 2022. You can watch the full set of presentations at under ‘Better Beginnings’.

The British Horse Foundation’s ‘Better Beginnings’ round table event was held at Weatherbys on Monday 10th October 2022. I have split this blog into three parts, to keep them short, as there is so much information. This is part 1.

From the British Horse Foundation (BHF) website, the information on the event states:

“At the first British Horse Foundation Better Beginnings conference, speakers and guests covered the importance of everything from good breeding decisions to early farriery intervention.

Improved education and teamwork are key to providing young horses with a start that will set them up for happy, healthy and sound lives long into the future. This was the key message of the event…. The feedback from the attendees, gathered during the afternoon workshop session and subsequent plenary forum, showed us that a best practice guide for young horse production would help to fill a knowledge gap…”

This round table event was followed by a webinar on 6th December 2022 aiming to gather the necessary knowledge. The British Horse Foundation website stated:

“The BHF is inviting all those who are interested to a webinar entitled Better Beginnings – Your Opinion Matters, on 6 December at 7pm; a question and answer session during which expert panellists will share their opinions. This will build on the work we began at the Better Beginnings Roundtable event. The webinar panel will answer questions posed in advance, and the consensus will be used to create the best practice guide for young horse production. Registration is now open, and attendance is free.”

I’m looking forward to hearing the outcome of that webinar (which sadly I couldn’t attend). Meanwhile, I’m sharing here with you some of my thoughts from each of the presentations at the round table event, I hope you find them helpful. Please remember that this is only my take on the event.

We start with Sir Johnny Weatherby, introducing the concept of social licence, and why it is so important. Fascinating fact – it was law to register your racehorse around half a century before it was law to register your child! And a record of horse nobility was produced 35 years before the record of peer nobility!

Jane Nixon

What’s more important, best practice or motivation? Motivation, which generally comes down to time and money. The farrier is the most important member of the team, especially up to 2yrs old, before the growth plates have fused.

Jennie Lorriston-Clarke

Conformation and soundness are so important, as is temperament. It’s essential to introduce and build up work gradually, on varied surfaces, and slopes, and to do a variety of different activities.

Judy Harvey

Judy discussed the importance of having a well-balanced horse, and one that is sound both mentally and physically. She pointed out the importance of handling youngsters well, so that their needs, such as farriery and nutrition, can be well managed. She gave examples of horses at world-class level being introduced to environmental factors gradually, earlier in their lives, and she stressed the importance of the horse wanting to work. Not only that, but she discussed finding a balance between forwardness and manageability, to achieve an optimum that gives the horse the best chance of lifelong soundness and willingness to work.

This is a report of my learnings from the British Horse Foundation Round Table Event, held in October 2022. You can watch the full set of presentations at under ‘Better Beginnings’.

Keep an eye out for my next book, “Harmonious Horsemanship: How to use the Ridden Horse Ethogram to Optimise Potential, Partnership, and Performance”. This ground-breaking book is co-authored with Dr Sue Dyson, and will be available summer 2023. Sign up at to be kept up to date with new information as it comes available.

Watch a FREE 30-minute documentary on the Ridden Horse Ethogram here.

Here’s a FREE 30-minute presentation by Sue Palmer on how to be confident that your horse is comfortable.

Other books by Sue Palmer M.Sc. MCSP:

‘Horse Massage for Horse Owners’

‘Understanding Horse Performance: Brain, Pain or Training?’

© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio, 2022