Vets with Horsepower


Scottish vets and horse owners have a unique opportunity to attend this year’s Vets with Horsepower (VwH) lecture series.

VwH are a group of motorbiking senior level vets who go on tour delivering high level CPD for charity. The objectives of the tours is to raise money and awareness of specific causes.

The concept was put together between Derek Knottenbelt (chairman BHS Scotland) and other senior biking vets to save the Riding for Disabled Centre, Mali that the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA) ran in conjunction with another partner. Due to the financial situation worldwide, the partner was looking to pull their support and the future looked bleak, until VwH raised enough to secure the future of the centre.

Since then VwH have done two further tours and raised in excess of £280,000. The major benefactor has been SPANA, supporting their efforts to help working equines in some of the poorest countries in the world, and by helping the animal help the families so dependent on them.

Now VwH are planning their fifth Horsepower event, which will tour of the UK and British Isles, starting at the RVC and finishing in Cumbria.

They are raising money for Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust ( to equip the centre in Gambia that last year’s tour helped to build.


The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT) is a small charity which founded in 2002.

The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT) was set up in 2002 by the late Stella Marsden and her sister Heather Armstrong. With no tradition of horsemanship in The Gambia and a combination of poor management, high disease risk and poverty, farmers were investing comparatively large amounts of money for a working animal, only for it to die, too often within six months.

This was causing further hardship for farmers, as well as a serious animal welfare problem

Not only was this causing further hardship for the farmers, it was also creating a serious animal welfare problem and the veterinary services did not have the infrastructure or finances to be able to help the farmers.

GHDT believes in providing the Gambian people with the skills and knowledge to prevent and solve their own problems, creating a long term, sustainable solution. The charity relies heavily upon dedicated volunteers, and employs a team of local Gambian staff. Its aims are achieved through a variety of projects including educational programmes, community development, collaboration, veterinary treatments and an annual show.


Lazarus, the horse who started the Trust (inset) and as he is today

Last year’s VwH tour raised money to help build a centre for the trust in Gambia. This time round the funds raised will go towards equipping it.

Scottish horse owners have the chance to attend an VwH education event covering a wider range of topics by the very good, senior specialist vets, on Thursday 25 June (1-5.30pm) at BCF Technology Ltd, Strathclyde Business Park, Bellshill. Booking though:

Their facebook site is


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