The Equine Forum was created following the NPA workshops to which a number of people with an interest in horses or specialised knowledge of horses were invited, to discuss various matters arising from the Draft Recreational Management Strategy documents which had caused so much anxiety and emotion within the horse community associated with the New Forest.
As has been made clear in both the Constitution and the Position Statement, the Equine Forum is totally independent from the NPA, and indeed a number of its members are from the various pressure groups who did not in any way support the first plan. However, it was realised that the best way forward for the New Forest equine community was to endeavour to work with the NPA to try to find ‘middle ground’ and develop strategies and guidelines which will fulfil our common desire to protect the Forest and the equine interests in it.
The Forum is drawn from a range of groups and interests including Commoners, equine businesses, people who simply keep and ride horses and ponies for pure pleasure, professionals such as a farrier and a veterinary surgeon, and conservationists. Please click here for the current list of members
Looking ahead, the members of the Forum hope that its role might be extended to include guidance to the NPA on equine-related matters including specific guidelines on planning issues and the creation of a dedicated website offering advice on a variety of equine topics related to the New Forest, including a notice-board facility where upcoming events such as cycle races, endurance rides or car rallies which might have an effect on normal horse-riding activities can be publicised in a single portal.
In summary, we on the Equine Forum are happy to give our time and expertise to preserve the Forest and improve horse keeping in the Forest, whatever the purpose of keeping the horses or ponies.
The members of The New Forest Equine Forum welcome the opportunity to work with the New Forest National Park Authority, in support of efforts to secure agreement over such matters as pasture management and a code of practice for use of the open forest. The New Forest Equine Forum appreciates the use of The National Park Authority premises as a venue, and the provision of secretarial support.
The members of The New Forest Equine Forum do not however view this or any other equestrian considerations as placing an obligation on them to fulfil any New Forest National Park Authority expectations that might be detrimental to the welfare of equestrians, whether they be individuals or linked to commercial enterprise. Neither does The New Forest Equine Forum feel that they should be targeted as an interest group, on the misplaced assumption that recreational equine numbers, equestrian forest access and equines grazing fields are any more relevant to sustainability than other ‘impact’ activities.
The New Forest Equine Forums’ thinking will, inevitably, be guided by what is fair and just, in terms of those they represent, the environment and other members of our society. The New Forest Equine Forum, therefore, is viewed by its members as providing a structure for partnership working that will be widely and mutually beneficial.
1. The New Forest Equine Forum is an independent body and membership is voluntary.
2. While the New Forest Equine Forum appreciates the secretarial assistance and the provision of a venue, as offered by the New Forest National Park, this is only accepted on the basis that this support does not prejudice the Forum’s independence.
3. Members of statutory bodies may be present at meetings, on the understanding that their roles are consultative and advisory.
4. The New Forest Equine Forum will provide opportunities for the flow of views, information, recognition of issues, and suggestions and actions for resolution of issues. As Forum members encompass a wide range of equine expertise, when deemed necessary, it may also contribute in an advisory capacity to the New Forest National Park Authority, and others, providing a source of local expertise and advice. Forum members will, inevitably, continue to support those whom they represent.
5. The New Forest Equine Forum will consider matters relevant to issues arising within the New Forest National Park boundaries. However, this may be extended after discussion between the members of the Forum.
6. The New Forest Equine Forum will seek to establish and maintain links with all other forums, or similar organisations, within the New Forest National Park, along with Parish and District Councils, and will seek representation at meetings of these organisations if it is deemed appropriate.
7. While it is recognised, and welcomed, that Forum members will contribute to the Forum views from a wide variety of personal and representational experiences, if representing The New Forest Equine Forum, it will be expected that it is the consensus views of this organisation that are expressed and promoted.
8. Meetings will be held at least quarterly unless the Chairman and Deputy Chairman agree otherwise.
9. When a minimum of six members are present this will be deemed to form a quorum. If less than six members are present the meeting can proceed but no decisions can be made.
10. The New Forest Equine Forum will establish ‘specific issue groups’ when deemed appropriate.
11. If a member has a specific personal interest, either direct or indirect, in a matter to be discussed, then he or she should disclose that interest at the appropriate point in the meeting. ‘A specific personal interest’ is defined as ‘one which might affect a member’s well-being, financial position or business’. This will be recorded in the minutes but will not necessarily prohibit that member from taking part in the discussion but will prohibit them from voting.
12. A Chairman and Deputy Chairman will be drawn from the New Forest Equine Forum members and will be elected annually.
13. The Chairman will always seek to guide the Forum to achieve decisions on the basis of consensus, only resorting to voting when it appears necessary to achieve a majority decision or establish a relative level of support or otherwise. In a ‘last resort’ situation the Chairman will have an additional casting and final vote.
14. All members of the New Forest Equine Forum will be able to vote on the matters discussed unless they have declared an interest.
15. All agendas, minutes and reports relating to the New Forest Equine Forum will be available to the public.
16. The Constitution will be reviewed as required.
V4 Amended 16 September 2013
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Connecting the central southern equestrian community.