NEWC Advice

You can use the filters below to choose advice articles based on Equine Health; Equine Welfare and the Law; and Equine Behaviour, Management and Training.

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Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Equidae

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Abandoned, Stray and Fly-grazed

Fly-grazing, straying or abandoned horses present numerous difficulties for landowners, the public and the horses themselves. For example, horses may present a risk to public safety, particularly when left on public land, such as parks; and private land, such as residential property. The impact that horses have on the land can be considerable, particularly in […]

Animal Welfare - Unnecessary suffering and the duty of care

Prior to the Animal Welfare Act 2006, people only had a duty to ensure that an animal didn’t suffer unnecessarily.  The Animal Welfare Act 2006 now imposes a broader ‘duty of care’ on anyone responsible for an animal. Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act defines five basic needs for an animal's welfare. An owner […]

Atypical Myopathy

Atypical Myopathy is a potentially fatal condition in horses caused primarily by the ingestion of sycamore seeds but possibly also sycamore seedlings and leaves. This is due to a toxin called hypoglycin A which is primarily found in the seeds but can also be present in seedlings and leads to damage to the horse’s postural […]


Biosecurity Biosecurity refers to measures designed to limit or stop the spread of disease. It is important that we consider the risk of diseases in our horses and how we can help to reduce spread to safeguard health and welfare. Biosecurity is relevant now more than ever, with increasing global networking and movement of horses […]


Breeding Whilst all sectors should take steps to reduce their breeding, it is important not to underestimate the contribution of individuals – those people who perhaps breed because they have a much-loved mare, because they want the experience of producing a youngster, or to give an out-of-work mare a role. Whilst having a foal may […]

British Horse Council, BEF, BHA - who are they and remit

British Horse Council The British Horse Council was formed in 2018 to combine the work of the British Horse Industry Confederation and the Equine Sector Council for Health & Welfare. The British Horse Council is the channel through which all parts of the UK’s equine industry can join forces. Where consensus exists, they will engage […]

Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Equidae

Equine Codes of Practice in England, Scotland and Wales provide a fundamental basis for assessing if an individual horse, pony, donkey or mule is a concern. They summarise the legal responsibility under the Acts and provide guidance on how keepers are expected to meet the needs of their animal. As such, they are effectively a […]


Colic is the term used to describe clinical signs of abdominal pain or discomfort in the horse. Colic accounts for one in three emergency vet call outs to horses. Recognising the earlier signs of colic means veterinary treatment can start sooner. Most cases can be resolved relatively quickly with appropriate treatment, but some will be […]

Cushings Disease

Cushings Disease Cushing’s disease, or Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) is a chronic, progressive condition caused by an imbalance in the hormones produced by the pituitary gland. The disease commonly affects horses and ponies over the age of 15 and due to rising life expectancy rates, it is becoming increasingly prevalent.  Signs can often vary […]


Whether you are a professional, an owner or just a donkey lover, find out more about donkeys and how to care for them properly with The Donkey Sanctuary. The Donkey Sanctuary - knowledge and advice The Donkey Sanctuary - advice for owners The Donkey Sanctuary - advice for professionals

Equine Behaviour

Horses, ponies and donkeys are all social animals but there are subtle species-specific differences in their behaviour. For details of donkey behaviour and how this differs from horse/pony behaviour see How to understand donkey behaviour | The Donkey Sanctuary. Horses naturally live in either family groups (often referred to as harems, consisting of a stallion, […]

Equine Dental Technicians and other paraprofessionals

Equine Dental Technicians A wide variety of people perform equine dental procedures, qualified Equine Dental Technicians, Veterinary Surgeons and some inexperienced people who have had minimal training, but nevertheless perform very advanced dental procedures. Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, only qualified Veterinary Surgeons, registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) are permitted […]

Equine Management

Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 ( (AWA) requires you to ensure that any horse, pony, donkey or mule for which you are responsible, whether on a permanent or a temporary basis:  has a suitable environment in which to live has a healthy diet (including fresh clean water)  can exhibit normal behavioural patterns […]

Equine Training

All horses, ponies, donkeys and mules require training to enable them to be handled safely and ensure that husbandry practices do not have a negative impact on their well-being. As far as possible, all interactions with human handlers and carers should be positive and new procedures introduced gradually to allow the animal to habituate fully […]

Equine Welfare Standards for Providers of Equine Assisted Services (EAS)

The NEWC Code of Practice and Member Standards The National Equine Welfare Council in collaboration with The Human Equine Interaction Register (HEIR) has developed a code of practice for providers of EAS to protect and enhance the welfare of participating equines. The following code includes the NEWC member standards for EAS providers, which is underpinned […]

Exotic Equine Infectious Diseases

Exotic diseases are infectious diseases that are not usually seen in the UK population. This may be because they have never been present in the area, for example if the climate does not support the specific species of biting insect that normally spreads the disease, or because disease control measures have been introduced to eradicate […]

Grass Sickness

Grass Sickness Equine Grass Sickness (EGS) is a frequently fatal disease, affecting grazing horses, ponies and donkeys. However, there have been a few cases where equines with no access to grass have developed EGS and hay has been found to be the cause in those rare incidences.  A great deal of research has been put […]

Horse Passports

The Equine Identification (England) Regulations 2018 came into force on the 1st October 2018.  The regulations followed the introduction of the Central Equine Database (CED) which became operational in March 2018. The legislation was primarily introduced to protect the human food chain, however, it may have secondary benefits in terms of enabling the identification of […]


Laminitis is an extremely painful condition affecting 1 in 10 horses/ponies every year1 and can cause permanent damage to the hooves. Laminitis can affect any horse, pony, donkey or their hybrid at any time of the year and not just in spring – there is no ‘safe season’. Laminitis affects structures called sensitive lamellae that […]

Mud Fever

Mud fever can range from a mild skin irritation to very painful infected sores.  It can cause swelling and lameness. It affects the lower legs, commonly the back of the pastern but can move up the leg. It starts off as matted hair with dry crusts, caused by the inflamed skin weeping. It is caused […]

NEWC Guides: Cutting Costs not Care, and Responsible Rehoming

Member charities of NEWC have collaborated to produce two practical guides; one to help equine owners find ways to cut costs without compromising on care and another on making the difficult decision to rehome a horse, pony or donkey. Equine charities are continuing to receive large numbers of calls from owners seeking alternative homes for […]

Obesity and Weight Management

Monitoring and managing your horse’s weight is an important part of horse ownership, particularly if you own a “good doer”. Ensuring that your horse does not become overweight means that your horse is at less risk of developing Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS), laminitis, arthritis, and other chronic health conditions.  Maintaining your horse at a healthy […]

Parasites / Worming

With a few exceptions worms are species specific which means that they can only survive and their lifecycle complete in certain animals.  Redworm, roundworm and tapeworm are the biggest pathological threats to horses and the parasites for which you should test regularly.  Pinworm, bots, lungworm and liverfluke may also need to be considered in a […]


Ragwort Ragwort is a common weed many of us will see thriving on wasteland, road verges and railway land, and if left to grow can spread easily and quickly onto neighbouring horse pasture.  The danger is that ragwort contains toxic compounds which can cause poisoning to horses if eaten in any state. Horses are particularly […]


Rain scald is a non-contagious skin condition caused by the same bacteria as mud fever (Dermatophilius Congolensis) but the infection is typically found in places along the horse’s neck, back and hindquarters rather than the lower legs.  Affected horses are typically those who are in poor condition or immune suppressed like those diagnosed with Cushing’s […]

Reporting a welfare concern

At all times our member organisations are required to operate within the law.  They DO NOT have the authority to remove an equine from their owner.  Only the Police or an authorised Local or National Authority Inspector have powers under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to remove animals and only if they are certified to […]

Respiratory Disease

Respiratory disease is common in horses of all ages and types and can have a variety of different causes including infectious pathogens such bacteria or viruses or non-infectious causes such as allergies. Some of the more common infectious diseases in horses in the UK that cause respiratory disease include strangles, equine influenza and equine herpes […]

Retirement / End of life

Putting a horse to sleep (also known as euthanasia) is sadly something that many horse owners must face at some point when owning or caring for a horse, pony or donkey. There are many reasons why a horse may have to be euthanised, including illness, an accident, change in owner’s circumstances or because old age […]

Starting a New Equine Welfare Organisation

The work of equine welfare charities usually falls into three categories: 1. Sanctuaries or Homes of RestHorses, ponies and donkeys stay in the care of one organisation for the rest of their lives. They are often old, may be unsound and need appropriate care in a peaceful environment. 2. Rescue, Rehabilitation and Re-homeThese are centres […]


Strangles is one of the most common diseases diagnosed in horses worldwide, with over 600 outbreaks estimated to occur throughout the UK each year. Strangles can affect any age, sex or breed of horse and remains a widely feared disease because of its debilitating effects and its potential economic impact on equestrian businesses. Strangles is […]

Sweet Itch

Sweet itch, also known as Summer Seasonal Recurrent Dermatitis or Equine Insect Bite Hypersensitivity, is the most common allergic skin condition in horses. Sweet itch can affect all breeds and types of horses, ponies and donkeys and can be genetic meaning some horses are at an increased risk of developing the condition. Some breeds for […]


Recent studies have found that up to 70% of horses have undiagnosed dental problems. This is a real welfare concern for our horses as dental problems can seriously deteriorate unseen until the horse shows clinical signs. Horses are stoic animals, which mean they can endure pain for long periods of time without showing signs, especially […]


Tethering is the practice of securing a horse to an area with a long rope or chain tied from its headcollar/neck strap to ideally a stake in the ground. Seeing horses tethered can be upsetting for many people.  There are acceptable standards of tethering that are recommended in the Codes of Practice to ensure the […]

Transporting horses

Transport of Animals (Cleansing and Disinfection) (England) (No 3) Order 2003  Any person transporting horses shall ensure that:   They are loaded onto a means of transport which has been cleansed, and where necessary disinfected   Any soiled litter and excreta are removed as soon as practicable  There are no exemptions for transporting your own horse in […]


Vaccination is an important tool, alongside good biosecurity practices, for protecting the health and welfare of our horses and controlling and preventing the spread of infectious disease. Vaccines work by triggering the immune system so that it is ready to fight off any natural disease that might be encountered in the future. Vaccination not only […]

What is welfare?

Welfare is a description of an animal, or human’s state of wellbeing and can therefore be either negative or positive. Poor welfare is often described in terms of ‘cruelty’, ‘abuse’ or ‘neglect’. Meanwhile good welfare is associated with the needs of an animal, both psychological and physical, being met. In fact, welfare is much wider […]

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