APSPH News & Updates

What's New?

Changes to the APSPH Board of Directors - Resignation Statement

Please see below important statement, for any further information required should be directed to the remaining directors using enquiries@apsph-polo.org.uk

Below is Lucy's statement of resignation:

"I have enjoyed the last 6 years very much with the APSPH. I have been with the association since its formal inception in 2013 and ridden the roller-coaster from creating a membership, negotiating provisional affiliation with the HPA, signing up membership benefit partners and resources for members, representing polo schools and pony hirers with national organisations such as the RCVS, The British Horse Council and DEFRA, integral negotiations with DEFRA and other key stakeholders to ensure that the polo community was properly represented at government departmental levels, managing the social, printed and digital media and outreach programs. I have also very much enjoyed all the visits around the country to meet and discuss pony hire with clubs, schools and pony hirers from all counties of the country over the years, their support and feedback has been the backbone of decisions made by the board. Having reached this point following the publication of the new legislation and the implementation of the new regulations by Local Authorities and the level of awareness within the polo community, I feel that my time as a Director can now come to an end. I very much feel that the new additions to the board of Directors; Tessa Collett and Nicola Bell with whomever is elected to take my place in addition with the previous Directors the APSPH remains strong well represented and able to deliver its intended remit – to support legitimate polo schools and pony hirers. I have every intention of remaining part of the organisation in any capacity that is needed, whether this be administration support or as an appointed representative for other organisations and groups. This is the beginning of a different kind of relationship with the APSPH and one I hope will encourage new directions and opportunities for the group and its membership." 


The AGM will be held at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club on Monday 20th May. The meeting is due to start at 11.30am and conclude by 2.30pm. An agenda will be circulated nearer the time but the meeting is open to members and non-members. Claire Williams from BETA will also be giving a talk on hat fitting.

Equine Influenza - Latest News 

Bio-Security will be your first defence against this viral strain. Remember clothes, equipment and even vehicles can carry the virus. The second latest report of a confirmed case is not within racing. For all those who attended SUPA Nationals we would advise you monitoring your horses carefully and fully disinfecting all your equipment, lorries, clothing etc. For further advice please contact your veterinary surgeon for more information. Updates and Where to Find Them? Please see the latest update as new cases are confirmed in new areas. Please be vigilant and make sure you are following bio security policies and contact your vet for further advice and follow @ahtofficial @equiflunet 

The Animal Health Trust Organisation dedicated website for Equine Influenza: www.equiflunet.org.uk 

Latest Published Report: https://www.aht.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Equiflunet-update-10-02-19.pdf?fbclid=IwAR33bodyqqVG_6-QykawQtI4A1825N6yUnZLGsv0vShyT5WaFD-FTvmJCOs

APSPH Best Playing Pony Award 

Congratulations to Glynn and Jenny Henderson for their pony Cover who has won this years APSPH Best Playing Pony Award! Cover played in Beginner and SAPA sections

Equine Influenza - Important Information

Equine Influenza is a very contagious virus and causes similar signs to the human flu.



Fever (>38.5oC)

Nasal Discharge


Poor Performance

Loss of appetite

It is primarily transmitted by air borne droplets, that can travel large distances. It can also be transmitted via nose to nose contact and if infected droplets are carried by equipment or people between groups of horses. EI can cause rapid signs of throughout a group of horses. Vaccinated horses can still transmit EI, but show mild clinical signs- they can still spread the virus to other horses but to a lesser degree than unvaccinated horses.

Speak to your vet should you have concerns regarding Equine Influenza, or your horses vaccination status- check that your horses have been vaccinated with the most up to date strain of the vaccine. Immunity to the virus in vaccinated horses goes down over time, and therefore the current recommendation is that if your horses have not received a vaccination within the last 6 months that they should receive a booster vaccination.

Should you suspect that one of your horses or a horse that your horses have been in contact with has shown symptoms of Flu contact your vet immediately for appropriate advise. Prompt diagnosis is paramount to preventing an outbreak.

Be vigilant with biosecurity – If you are travelling horses, ensure that you take your own equipment including water buckets, haynets and mucking out equipment. Ensure everything is disinfected thoroughly on arrival home – including your horseboxes.

For further information visit the Animal Health Trust Website: https://www.aht.org.uk/…/statement-on-equine-influenza-outb…
and to download their horse owners fact sheet from here: https://www.aht.org.uk/…/…/02/What-to-do-with-equine-flu.pdf
The British Equestrian Federation offers biosecurity best practice guidelines on this link: 


Drop-In Clinic & Membership 

Renewals We do hope you are all well and enjoying the arena season! This is a reminder and invitation all in one to all our members. Membership renewals are due on or before 1 March, we will need you to fill out a new declaration and membership form and renew your fee, and provide a copy of your REL, for your 2019-2020 membership. For those who have joined midyear memberships will be charged pro-rata to bring you in line with the annual renewals. Membership forms for this have been attached to this email or can be downloaded from our website and we will also be available to process memberships at our APSPH Drop-in Clinic on Friday 8th February at Rugby Polo Club from 2 to 5pm in the classroom opposite the Polo Office. 

The clinic is there for anyone who would like to come and ask questions or seek help with the new regulations and law. We will be onsite with all the latest publications and can help you with your LA and your new requirements. If you can’t make it, you can email or call us anytime for help and assistance with your REL’s. 

Members who do not renew by 1 March will be removed from our website until their membership has been processed. Copies of forms can be scanned and emailed or sent via scan apps, or on WhatsApp as long as the information is legible, and the forms correctly completed. If you need help completing your form, then pop us an email or call us. You can download the form by clicking here.

The Equestrian World needs you! 

The BETA National Equestrian Survey is a key initiative that takes place once every four years to check on the "health" and wellbeing of the equestrian world. Participating allows you to make your voice heard and provides the potential to influence its future As a thank you for taking part you will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win £50 worth of equestrian shopping vouchers. Please click here to take part.

APSPH Joins The British Horse Council

The APSPH has become part of The British Horse Council. The BHC, was formerly known as the Equine Sector Council and is formed by representatives from a huge variety of the equine industry from veterinary representatives to the British Racing Authority, breeding and welfare groups such as the Horse Trust and also other industry experts who are able to offer information and guidance on a variety of relevant topics from vaccination harmonisation to feed safety standards and post BREXIT import and export regulations. 

The BHC is also the main port of call for any governmental legislative consultations and reviews. DEFRA and any other relevant government department that is concerned with animal welfare in the equine sector will correspond with this group before other stakeholders. 

This is a crucial step forward for the APSPH as voice for commercial polo pony welfare at the forefront of the equine industry. 

Some notes and information following attendance at the BHC Winter Meeting at the DEFRA London offices will be available shortly on the APSPH website. Including some information about import/export expectations for BREXIT that may be of interest to pony hirers that temporarily export horses for hire outside of the UK. 

To find out more about The BHC click here.

Penalties for Operating Without  Licence

There has been some conflicting information provided by some bodies regarding the penalty for operating without a licence. The APSPH have sought clarity and can confirm, via DEFRA, that anyone who is caught operating without a licence would, according to our correspondence with DEFRA, be prosecuted primarily under The Animal Welfare Act. It could also lead to prosecution by other departments such as trading standards, DVSA, HMRC and any other government department that feels their own legislation has been contravened as a result. (There was a published case in 2014 when an establishment in Wales was prosecuted by trading standards)   On the penalties, the wording on the gov.uk page still refers to the old Act, DEFRA are working on having this updated.

The penalty is in section 32(2) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The offence of not having a licence is under section 13(6). Not having a licence makes you liable to an unlimited fine or up to 6 months in prison. 


BREXIT Info for Export/Import or Movement of Horses

DEFRA has published some information and guidance that relates to moving horses across borders in the event of of a no-deal and deal BREXIT. This information is pertinent to anyone who plans to move temporarily or permanently across a country border from the UK or to the UK. The new regulations will look much the same for a no-deal as a deal, the only difference is the time-scales in which they will be implemented.  

If you are planning to sell or transport horses into or out of the UK after the 29th March 2019 then please follow these links for guidance. 

DEFRA Guidance Notes: CLICK HERE

DEFRA Technical Notes: CLICK HERE

APSPH Alert – November Changes to Regulations

The APSPH has been involved in further changes made to the new regulations. Last minute negotiations between the British Horse Council and DEFRA were made known to the APSPH during the Royal College of Surgeons Annual General Meeting.

The APSPH consulted directly with DEFRA on the changes which have now been published.

The majority of changes will not have any major impact on polo establishments, most of them were clarity and error changes in text. However one change was considerable.

The requirements for qualifications have been amended from a minimum of Level 2 regulated OFQUAL registered qualification, with an optional higher standard of Level 3 and or demonstration of relevant experience, has changed to a minimum of Level 3 regulated OFQUAL registered qualification and or demonstration of experience. 

Demonstrating relevant experience could be done with a comprehensive CV showing how and where and with whom you have gained the experience and knowledge of running an equine establishment. in the case of teaching-based business, a copy of your HPA Qualifications and any other relevant certificates from First Aid to safeguarding and any other courses completed that may demonstrate you have the skills and knowledge to carry out the conditions in the regulations to ensure the welfare of your animals and staff, may be sufficient.

The new regulations with all the changes have now been published and is available on our website and on gov. website for download.  Click here to visit the gov. website link.

APSPH Welcomes New Directors

The APSPH welcomes two new Directors to the Board of Directors following elections. The existing board of directors welcomes the new additions and looks forward to working with a refreshed team and the HPA on all matters relating to polo schools, academy’s and pony hirers.

Joining the team of Member Directors is Tessa Collett

A note from Tessa; "I run Offchurch Bury Polo Club and would like to see the rules for pony hiring standardised across the country. I have extensive experience in running a polo club and have been a pony provider for many years and feel that i could be a valuable asset to the APSPH."

Joining the team as a Co-Opted Director Nicola Bell

A note from Nicola: "I am a fully qualified Equine Veterinary Surgeon, a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, British Equine Veterinary Association and the British Equine Veterinary Dental Association. I have been involved in the polo industry for 10+ years now, I started as student player, frequenting many SUPAs over the years! I have groomed for polo schools, played, owned ponies and worked within the polo industry both in the UK and Argentina as an equine vet. At the inception of the APSPH I assisted at SUPAs events in a professional capacity and have been a regular contributor to the “Polo Times”.

I have a vested interest in equine welfare and improving equine performance and health, particularly within the polo industry where it is sometimes overlooked that the ponies are a business asset. I feel that having been the client, representative of the pony providers and now equine vet I would be an asset to the APSPH."

Many thanks to all our members for taking the time to cast their votes and also to all the candidates for their nominations.

Fact Sheet Fun!

To help pony providers to navigate the new legislation we have begun producing a number of fact sheets that provide bite-sized information on a range of topics. To view the downloads and other resources click here.Equine Influenza - Latest News Bio-Security will be your first defence against this viral strain. Remember cloths, equipment and even vehicles can carry the virus. The second latest report of a confirmed case is not within racing - but has been reported int he press as pony at Millfield School in Somerset. For all those who attended SUPA Nationals we would advise you monitoring your horses carefully and fully disinfecting all your equipment, lorries, clothing etc. For further advice please contact your veterinary surgeon for more information. Updates and Where to Find Them? Please see the latest update as new cases are confirmed in new areas. Please be vigilant and make sure you are following bio security policies and contact your vet for further advice and follow @ahtofficial @equiflunet The Animal Health Trust Organisation dedicated website for Equine Influenza: www.equiflunet.org.uk Latest Published Report: https://www.aht.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Equiflunet-update-10-02-19.pdf?fbclid=IwAR33bodyqqVG_6-QykawQtI4A1825N6yUnZLGsv0vShyT5WaFD-FTvmJCOse