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.