• Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

Since its inception in 1977, as a forum for like-minded equine charities to share ideas and welfare concerns, the National Equine Welfare Council C.I.C. has become a nationally recognised and respected member body that unifies the sector on matters of welfare concern.

It is the NEWC’s mission to protect the welfare of the horse, pony, donkey and mule by ensuring that everyone who has an interest or association with an equine makes its health and welfare the overriding factor in all decision making.

It is NEWC’s mission to raise awareness of equine welfare issues and to help improve equine welfare standards nationwide.

NEWC membership provides an assurance to both the public and the industry that equine welfare is the priority. Through working collaboratively with the industry and its members, NEWC is committed to improving efficiency through sharing information and resources.

Streamlining education, regulation and enforcement initiatives are NEWC key objectives to ensure horse welfare standards steadily improve.

The NEWC network is very wide with over 70 members throughout the UK which include equine welfare charities large and small as well as a multitude of organisations from the equestrian and veterinary sectors of the equine industry.

Latest News

Free learning platform aims to improve donkey welfare

Donkeys across the world could experience better welfare, thanks to a new innovative free online learning platform from The Donkey Sanctuary.

Developed and run by donkey experts, The Donkey Academy has the potential to reach tens of thousands of people across the globe, providing comprehensive, up-to-date knowledge on donkey welfare.

Courses range from foundation to more advanced levels, providing a huge range of educational courses for donkey and mule owners, universities, veterinary colleges, carers and professionals alike.

Subjects for the courses cover a wide range of areas, from donkey behaviour and respiratory disease to donkey dentistry and hoof care.

A collaboration between The Donkey Sanctuary and Equitarian Initiative developed the first-ever online curriculum for universities focused on welfare and preventive medicine for working equids.

Joao Rodrigues, Lead for Welfare Assessment at The Donkey Sanctuary, adds: “Having the opportunity to provide training, knowledge and skills to these students, who live in a region heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, was an incredible experience.

“The students were training to be general veterinarians, but their curriculum contained almost no courses on equid medicine, despite a large number of working equids in the region.

“We hope that with this online course, these vets will now have the tools to help these animals and support the communities that rely on them.”

Fiona Cooke, The Donkey Sanctuary Head of Research, says: “All of our courses are built and developed by our experts in donkey care and welfare.

“They are developed based on the most up-to-date scientific knowledge and the expertise of people who have been working with donkeys and mules in many different contexts for many years.

“We understand the different needs of our audiences, so we are making sure that everyone can access the information that is relevant to them and the donkeys that they care for, work with or wish to know more about.”

For more information and to register for access to the courses, visit The Donkey Academy

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Understanding horses’ happiness is key to equestrian sport’s future

The need to understand how happy horses are in competition is key to improving welfare and keeping the sport’s social licence to operate.

New research - How happy are equine athletes? Stakeholder perceptions of equine welfare issues associated with equestrian sports - has been published following a workshop held in March during which representatives from the animal welfare sector and different equestrian disciplines discussed welfare in sport.

The work, funded by the Animal Welfare Research Network and facilitated by NEWC, aimed to understand perceptions of current issues, attitudes towards welfare assessment and whether there is scope for change in these areas.

During the workshop, participants watched presentations from industry experts about different aspects of sport horse welfare including the importance of social licence in the future of horse sport, the ethics of sport, and welfare measurement tools. Discipline-specific focus groups, made up of individuals including riders, judges and stewards, then shared their views on topics including whips and spurs, field turnout, young horse classes and the physical and mental demands on competition horses.

It was discussed that there can be “conflict” between the demands of competition, stakeholders involved in a competition horse’s team such as the owner, rider and vet, and the innate needs of a horse, such as social contact, turnout, and emotional health. It was also recognised there is a need to be able to measure welfare better and that current welfare assessment tools were not suitable.

Lead researcher and NEWC director Dr Carol Hall told Horse & Hound with the FEI promoting the importance of producing “happy equine athletes”, there is a need to look at whether this was being done, what can be done better, and how to recognise what a happy competition horse is.

“We hoped the workshop would start discussions between those involved in the sport and welfare researchers to develop a means of monitoring the ongoing quality of life of horses across the board,” she said.

“We had discipline-specific focus groups because we wanted people to really investigate within their own sports what the main issues and challenges are. Within the groups people were very aware that from an outside perspective some things might not look acceptable in competition but the point was made as well that what people see is often just a snapshot of that horse’s life.

“There are various welfare assessments but they are not appropriate for everyday use in sport, so the long-term aim is to develop a way to evaluate whether competition horses are living the best quality of life possible.”

The open-access research paper in Animals journal can be viewed in full here.

The full Horse and Hound article can be accessed here.

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NEWC invites College and University equine course providers to become members

The National Equine Welfare Council is inviting Universities and Colleges that include equine courses in their curricula to join us in our mission to raise awareness of equine welfare issues and work towards improving equine welfare standards nationwide.

NEWC was founded in March 1977 and was originally established to support equine welfare charities in the rescue and rehabilitation of neglected and/or unwanted equines. Since then NEWC has attracted membership from a range of organisations, including sports governing bodies and academic institutions. This increase in the diversity of membership has enabled us to engage with different sections of the equine sector with the potential to address a wide range of welfare issues.

Invitation to HE & FE equine institutions from NEWC President, Dr David Marlin

We believe that increased engagement with colleges and universities is key to achieving our aim to improve the lives of all equines. Colleges and Universities can find all the information about how to join NEWC and submit an online application form here.

The more people we can work with – potentially the better the future welfare of equines will be – and getting students on board is vital to achieve this aim.

In addition to promoting NEWC membership to educational institutions, we are offering students the opportunity to get involved with NEWC by becoming a student supporter. This opportunity is open to all students, regardless of whether or not their institution is a NEWC member. The annual subscription for this is £10 for students from NEWC member institutions; £25 if their institution is not a member of NEWC. Access to a private Facebook group is included, where students will be able to access equine welfare news and information, discuss research project ideas, find out about job and career opportunities within the welfare sector and much more. Interested students can email info@newc.co.uk for more details.

Joining is easy and NEWC membership provides assurance that your organisation puts improved equine welfare high on its list of educational outcomes. For the value that this offers in terms of student recruitment, retainment and career prospects, as well of course for the sake of all equines – don’t delay but join us today to make a difference!

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The Donkey Sanctuary launches new survey

Calling all UK and ROI-based professionals who work with and treat equines! 

The Donkey Sanctuary has recently started an ambitious 5-year project to look at all aspects of donkey ownership in the UK and Ireland. One element of the project is to ensure access to professional support and advice so that donkeys will be kept in stable, long-term homes with good health and welfare.

The survey aims to capture some baseline data to help inform the project by understanding the geographic distribution of professional service providers, and the training and/or experience they have working with donkeys. The advice that your industry can give to owners on the specific needs of the donkey is vital and therefore we would appreciate your help in collecting data for this survey.

The survey is very brief – it should take approximately two minutes to complete. We would appreciate it if you would fill out the survey and forward the survey link to any other equine industry professional service providers (farriers, barefoot trimmers, behaviourists, EDTs, nutritionists, physio, harness makers/tack fitters, vets, vet nurses) that you have contact with and who work in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

We greatly value your input in this process and would like to thank you for filling out the survey. Please click here to access the survey.

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New Redwings animation urges support for rescued ponies this Christmas

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has launched its latest fundraising animation, voiced once again by Stephen Fry.

Last year, the charity released a short animation narrated by the popular broadcaster telling the story of a long-term Sanctuary resident, blind Clydesdale horse Boo, which went on to be viewed by over 225,000 people online.

This year’s animation takes supporters back to the beginnings of Redwings in 1984 and how it has transformed into a national charity caring for more than 1,500 rescued horses and donkeys at its sites every day. Along the way, viewers will meet some of Redwings’ adorable residents to whom the Sanctuary has rescued and given a loving home over the years.


Stars of the animation include Shetland pony Sampson who was rescued in 2004 when he was just one year old, and lonely Wiggins the donkey who was sadly abandoned by his owner on a livery yard leaving the landowner to care for him.

All the rescued horses and donkeys featured in the animation are available to sponsor from as little as £2 per month, with every penny going towards their care and that of their fellow four-legged friends living at the Sanctuary.

Lynn Cutress, Redwings’ Chief Executive, said: “For the last 37 years we’ve worked tirelessly to help horses and donkeys in desperate need and, as a charity 100% funded by donations, we’ve only been able to do this thanks to the kind generosity of our supporters.

“We’re delighted that through this new animation we can show just what a difference their support has made to animals, like Sampson and Wiggins, whose lives would otherwise have been very bleak. We’re also thrilled that the wonderful Stephen Fry has once again helped us to tell these important stories.

“Sponsoring one of our rescued residents for yourself or as a gift for a loved one is a fantastic way to help us continue to look after the horses and donkeys in our care, ensuring they can enjoy safe and healthy lives this Christmas and into the future.”

To sponsor a Redwings rescued horse or donkey, call 01508 505246 or visit www.redwings.org.uk/adopt.

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How Happy Are Equine Athletes?

New paper reviews stakeholder perceptions of equine welfare issues associated with equestrian sport

The welfare of horses within equestrian sport is increasingly being scrutinised by both the public and those involved in the sector. To identify the main concerns and discuss the potential to improve the welfare of these equine athletes, a workshop involving participants from equestrian sports and animal welfare research was held as part of NEWC's AWRN-funded event ‘How Happy are Equine Athletes? Assessing Equine Quality of Life in Equestrian Sporting Disciplines’.

Participants from equestrian sports and equine welfare researchers discussed the main challenges in equine welfare and opportunities to promote positive welfare in equine athletes’ lives.

They concluded that the main challenges in equine welfare arise from conflicts between competition demands and the basic needs of the horse. To enable those involved in equestrian sport to monitor the impacts of management, training, and competition on the welfare of equine athletes, the use of formal welfare assessment tools was discussed, alongside interventions that would promote positive welfare across equine athletes’ lives.

The paper is free to access and can be downloaded here.

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The UK Human-Equine Interaction Register

You may be aware that a register of practitioners offering Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning is being created, with a proposed launch date at the end of 2021 - the Human Equine Interaction Register UK (HEIR). The aim is to provide governance and credibility across the industry and it is currently at the consultation stage.

As part of this process, there is a short survey ➡️ surveyhero.com/c/HEIRUK ⬅️ where stakeholders can indicate what form they think this should take - views are welcome from across the sector.

The survey is open until 31/10 & takes 10 minutes to complete - if you haven't already done so, please make your views known to ensure that the register is a valuable resource.

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Redwings asks ‘Do you remember your first horse?’ in new survey

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has launched a nationwide survey to find out more about people’s experiences of taking on their first-ever horse or pony.

Taking on the care of a horse for the first time is a memorable milestone and the charity is keen to discover why, when and how individuals made the exciting move from riding lessons or helping out with friends’ horses, to shouldering the responsibility for one of their own.

Past and present horse owners now have until 18th November to fill in the questionnaire, entitled the ‘My First Horse’ survey, which Redwings hopes will act as a nostalgic trip down memory lane for many.

To find out more and to take the survey, visit – survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90383102/46ed7eff18cf

The project is being supported by equestrian brands Equilibrium and Spillers, who have both donated items for a prize draw that all those who complete the survey can choose to enter, with a grand prize bundle including an Equilibrium Massage Mitt Hotspot and a Spillers branded saddlecloth, voucher and other goodies.

The launch of the new survey coincides with World Mental Health Day, taking place this Sunday 10th October, reflecting the significant contribution horses can make to a person’s physical and mental health.

Andie McPherson, Redwings’ Campaigns Manager, said: “We have a lot to learn about the thought processes and preparations involved when someone takes on their first horse.

“We know that horses can have a hugely positive impact in people’s lives but there’s a concern that not getting the right horse for you, or not having support as a new owner, could increase risks to the wellbeing of both horse and human.

“We’re keen to find out more so we can help support people at this exciting, but sometimes daunting, stage of their equestrian journey.”

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Straight from the horse's mouth - Redwings launches new podcast

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has launched a brand-new podcast to share stories of their rescued horses and donkeys, and conversations with their expert rescuers and carers.

This #InternationalPodcastDay on 30th September, the charity is celebrating by announcing its podcast series, called Sounds of the Sanctuary.

The weekly podcast takes listeners on a journey through the Sanctuary, with a spotlight each week on a rescued resident and their care, plus conversations with the vets, nurses, carers and support teams who make it possible.

Listeners can expect to go behind the scenes and discover more about Redwings’ facilities normally closed to the public, such as its specialist Reception Centre for new arrivals, Horse Hospital, Behaviour Centre and Rehoming Centres.

The charity has also produced a sister podcast, called Field Notes, involving sit down chats with Redwings’ experienced team, delving deeper into the equine care and welfare issues they frequently encounter and sharing their top tips along the way, from worming to land management, basic training to creating the perfect paddock.

The first three episodes of Sounds of the Sanctuary and Field Notes are already available to download from all major streaming platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The most recent episode features an update on Phoenix, the foal who was left with life-threatening burns after an arson attack, as his vet shares the latest news on his progress.

New episodes of Sounds of the Sanctuary will be released on Mondays, and Field Notes on Wednesdays. Listeners can also subscribe to the series to ensure they never miss an episode.

Redwings Communications Manager, Stephanie Callen, said: “We’re so excited to share this project with everyone. The Redwings podcast presents a chance to hear directly from our hard-working equine welfare teams and meet our rescued residents – so it’s straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak!

“From the vets and nurses who help our rescued horses back onto their hooves, to the carers and maintenance teams who tend to their daily care, and the rehoming teams who find them loving new homes - this podcast brings a unique insight into life at the Sanctuary which we hope will be enjoyable to Redwings fans, new supporters and horse owners alike!”

To find out more about Redwings’ new podcast and the Sanctuary’s work, please visit redwings.org.uk.

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Equine Grass Sickness Online CPD Course

The University of Edinburgh and the Equine Grass Sickness Fund are launching a continuing professional development (CPD) online course on 1st November 2021.

The course explores all aspects of the often-fatal disease, Equine Grass Sickness (EGS). An understanding of the aetiology, epidemiology and difficulties with veterinary diagnosis gives horse owners an understanding of disease development. 

The nursing of chronic cases also has its challenges and the course gives information on nursing horses in the equine hospital environment and tips for nursing and ongoing rehabilitation of a horse at home. 

There are some risk factors for the disease that have been identified, which may help reduce the risk of the disease occurring, until the elusive cause is found.

The course costs £120 for 3 months access and 35 CPD hours. It can be undertaken at your own pace and includes lectures with audio recording, videos, a reading list containing peer reviewed open access journal articles and voluntary self-test quizzes. Information on how you can get involved with future research is also included.

Find out more and enrol via: edin.ac/vet-egs-cpd

Together we will seek the cause and reduce the risk of EGS!

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