A group of eminent equine scientists launches an international initiative to establish best practices and clear guidelines for the training and management of sports horses. They founded the Sport Horse Welfare Foundation (SWF), where they will discuss what sport horses need to feel good. KNHS is one of the national equestrian associations supporting the project.
“We live in a time when the sport of equestrianism is increasingly in the spotlight and the welfare of competition horses is regularly checked. Opponents of equestrian sports express concern about the welfare of participating horses, while equestrian athletes believe they take good care of their horses and optimum performance can only be achieved when the horse is enjoying Healthy and happy. Controversy rages, yet both parties have one important thing in common: They both understand the importance of equine care,” according to KNHS.
Good level of luxury
A group of eminent scientists around the world has come to the conclusion that in order to sustainably protect the well-being of sports horses, it is necessary to determine what sports horses need to achieve a good level of well-being. The Sovereign Wealth Fund will consider this question.
protect and improve
Co-founder Dr. Jane Williams, Head of Research and Senior Lecturer at the University of Hartbury in the UK said: “Our aim is to work with the best professionals in the field to define the ultimate ethical training and welfare scheme for sport horses. Primarily to protect participating horses, but also to protect and improve the reputation of the equestrian sport. Evidence The current scientific on the welfare of sport horses is very limited because we are dealing with animals, which of course are unable to verbally express how they feel.Nevertheless, there are a large number of equestrian professionals around the world – jockeys, grooms, trainers, vets, scientists, grooms, owners and others – They have a wealth of experience and knowledge on this topic. We would like to access and evaluate their expertise to come up with recommendations that will enable us to build a common and internationally approved Best Practice Agreement.”
Over 150 highly experienced equestrian professionals from 32 countries and equine scholars will unite in this unique and pioneering collaboration. The group is made up of experts from different equine disciplines and different types of professionals from multiple (equine) fields. By bringing together the opinions of scholars, practitioners, and riders, it is hoped that a clear framework for guiding principles will emerge.
Discussion about equestrian sport
Explains one of the founders, Prof. Dr. Lars Robestrove (Uppsala University). “The goal is for them to come to a consensus about the sport horse’s need to feel good. Their statement will form the basis of the discussion around equestrian sports. It helps opponents to better position what they see in equestrian sports, but it also gives riders the tools to take better care of their horses. Ultimately, horses will benefit. in equestrian sport.
Need more evidence
Rolly Owers, CEO of World Horse Welfare explains: “More evidence is urgently needed to explain how to protect or improve the welfare of sport horses in their daily management and training. The work of the Welfare Fund is very relevant. Those involved in equestrian sports, as well as other horse owners can Benefit from new information and data generated by the Sovereign Wealth Fund. Using this information, they can make informed decisions to ensure they are putting the welfare of the horse first. This also gives them objective evidence to demonstrate the welfare of horses and communicate with a wider audience, so that the sport of equestrianism remains socially acceptable.”
Extensive project support
The sovereign wealth fund has already received support from the European Equestrian Federation (EEF), Sport Horse Research, World Horse Welfare and the University of Hartbury. The initiative is also supported by equestrian federations in Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Fenna Westerduin responds to the initiative on behalf of the KNHS: “KNHS is proud to be a project partner of the Sport Horse Welfare Foundation. It is important that we have a broad consensus on what horseback riding is and how you can see it. The welfare of horses in equestrian sport should always be number one, all over the world.”
The SWF Foundation was founded by a large group of scholars, including the Dutch Dr. Caroline Munsters and Professor Marianne M. Silhouette van Oldrotenburg-Osterbahn. With KNHS as a partner, the Netherlands is making an important contribution to the project.
Promote the well-being of horses
Theo Ploegmakers, President of EEF, a partner of SWF: “We are pleased to work with SWF on this project. Promoting equine welfare is of paramount importance to us, but as yet there is no agreement on what equine welfare means and what the standards are. Leading researchers involved In this initiative, equine science is at the forefront of equine science, and therefore they are better equipped to ensure that the measures we take are not only proven in practice, but also backed by science.”
The project started in early 2022 and preliminary results are expected at the end of August. These results will be presented at the EEF International Meeting in September 2022.
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