The 2024 Strangles Awareness Week (SAW) campaign reached more than 2.8 million equestrians, with over 150 new Ambassadors joining the campaign to help spread the word about prevention of the disease, which poses a major threat to horse health.

SAW, held annually during the first week of May, is co-ordinated by a team of equine welfare organisations, research institutes and companies. Content is shared information about strangles and biosecurity, as well as the latest research, to help protect horses and businesses from a potentially devastating strangles outbreak.

This year’s campaign was supported by event riders Lucinda Green and William Fox-Pitt, dressage rider Richard Davison and influencer Riding with Rhi, who starred in videos promoting actions horse owners could take to give their horses the BEST protection from strangles:

  • Boost immunity by vaccinating against strangles
  • Educate yourself and others
  • Separate new horses
  • Temperature check routinely

Horse owners are urged to watch the ‘Never an isolated case’ animation (below) produced by Redwings Horse Sanctuary, The Horse Trust and Surveillance of Equine Strangles (SES), which highlights how easily strangles can spread when horses move or mix. Presenting research by the SES network, which has shown links between strangles outbreaks, not only in different counties, but different countries, the animation shows the many situations in which horse owners can be vigilant to protect their horses.

“2.8 million is a huge number of equestrians who are now more aware of how to protect their horses from the threat of the infectious disease,” said Lydia Duce, Campaigns Manager for Redwings Horse Sanctuary, who coordinates SAW. “As our animation shows, strangles loves to ‘hitch a ride’ when horses move or mix, and I’d encourage all owners to watch and recognise themselves and the situations that could impact their horse. Because any horse can get strangles and every person can make a difference.”

Over 40 equestrian brands donated prizes for the SAW BEST prize draw – for horse owners who could correctly identify the BEST actions. The prize worth more than £6,000 was won by Elaine Macdonald, yard owner at Thornhill Stables in East Ayrshire, who is also an Ambassador for Strangles Awareness Week.

“I am over the moon to be receiving the prize but equally proud to be a SAW ambassador,” Elaine said. “Even when designing our yard 15 years ago we had reduction of the spread of infectious disease in mind, with the construction of a separate quarantine facility. Prevention and biosecurity have been at the forefront of practices put in place on our yard.”

For more information and to sign up to become a Strangles Awareness Week Ambassador click here.

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