Infectious disease has clearly been much talked about this year.  With this in mind, our livery yard insurance team decided to transfer the focus to equine disease control and find out how the best run full livery yards keep their horses safe from contagious illness.

In the last couple of years we have seen significant outbreaks of equine influenza, strangles and EHV among horses in the UK. One yard that has avoided having any cases of any of these illnesses is the brilliantly run Church House Farm full livery yard near Maldon in Essex.

Advice from an award-winning team

The owner of Church House Farm, Bob O’Connor and his partner Roxanne Carter work tirelessly along with their yard manager, Adrienne Devonish to make sure the yard is the absolute best it can possibly be for their clients’ horses. The team earlier this year celebrated winning the SEIB Full Livery Yard of the Year title.

We caught up with Roxanne to find out how things run so effectively at Church House Farm…..

“We all work ever so hard to make sure Church House Farm is successful with happy horses and clients. The welfare of the horses on our yard is paramount to us and we have strict measures in place to ensure the wellbeing of our client’s horses” said Roxanne.

Taking a cautious approach

There are full isolation facilities at Church House Farm - comprising two completely separate stables and turnout - for horses coming into the yard. Roxanne continued: “We are lucky that we have never had a problem with contagious diseases here. We will always err on the side of caution with any horses coming into the yard.

“As Church House Farm is solely a full livery yard, all the horses have their own things. Items such as headcollars, grooming kit, numnahs and girths are only ever used on the one horse, and each horse has his own stable. If we were to be unfortunate and have a case of ringworm, it should be contained by these measures and in addition, we would ensure that the horse was treated with the correct medication with the stable fully disinfected.”

Tightly maintained records

Each horse at Church House Farm has an up-to-date flu and tetanus inoculation. A record of when these jabs have been given – and the due date for the next treatment is kept in the yard office. These procedures are required for a yard to be British Horse Society approved – as Church House Farm is. Roxanne explained: “We take this one step further here and if a horse is coming up for his flu jab due date a reminder goes out with the bill. All the horses at Church House Farm are required to have third party insurance in addition to this. This helps give everyone peace of mind.”

“We take great care as well with preventing strangles from entering the yard here. We require any new liveries that are coming from out of the area – or abroad – to have passed a strangles test before coming to the yard. The test is generally done as a blood test that checks for strangles antibodies. From the test results, a vet will be able to determine if the horse is a carrier, or has been in contact with strangles. Strangles can also be tested for using a scope or swab – this is more expensive and so most horses will have the blood test. We are very sensible here at Church House Farm and if a horse is coming here from a local yard, where we know there have been no cases of strangles, we don’t insist on the test. During an outbreak of strangles – such as in early 2019 – we ask that any horse coming into the yard passes a strangles test.

“Our disease prevention controls are well thought out and sensibly applied. We have brilliant staff and livery clients and everyone communicates and works well together.”

About SEIB

SEIB have been providing insurance for horses, livery yard insurance and riding school insurance for over 50 years. This experience allows us to tailor policies to suit your circumstances and ensure that you, your yard and your horses are covered should the worst happen. If you’d like advice on your insurance please call us on 01708 850000.