In the heart-warming universe of equestrian activities, nothing makes us happier than witnessing the genuine well-being of our trusty steeds. Ensuring their physical and emotional health isn't just about complying with a rulebook – it's an ethical pledge we commit ourselves to. Following an immensely uplifting stride in this direction, let's dive into how the British equestrian world recently unified behind a groundbreaking horse welfare charter.

Unleashing the Charter for the Horse

Marching ahead with equine welfare in its heart, the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) in collaboration with its 19 member bodies and other industry leaders launched the "Charter for the Horse" on March 18, 2024. This milestone has only amplified the BEF's commitment to endorse the highest standards of equine welfare, wellbeing, and ethics.

The Essence of the Charter

Inspired by the FEI Equestrian Charter created by the independent Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission (EEWC), the Charter for the Horse was shaped to be adopted by anyone and everyone having a connection with horses and other equids. Divided under six major sections, namely, empathy, care, respect, consideration, ethics, and learning, this charter lays down a structured approach towards ensuring our four-legged companions' needs are met at all times.

Shaping a Better Future for our Horses

Preparing the charters took a good deal of dedication, but the end result was worth the effort. Taking a step back from the glamour of equestrian sports and inspecting the wellness of equine participants helped the creators of the charter to focus on what genuinely matters - the horses' wellbeing. The charter, in essence, appeals to everyone in the UK who interacts with, owns or rides horses at any level and for any purpose.

Turning Guidelines into Actions

The remarkable initiative propelling the horse industry towards higher welfare standards, relies on the internationally recognised "three Fs" - freedom, friends, and forage and the five domains welfare model. These frameworks emphasise that nutrition, physical environment, health, behavioural interactions, and mental state are vital for ensuring a positive living experience for an animal.

It is one thing to pen down rules, but the real change surfaces when these guidelines translate into actions. Enforcing regulations is a challenging endeavour, one that requires close collaboration between governing bodies, sports committees, and horse owners. Nevertheless, with the rise of such all-encompassing welfare charters, it looks like a brighter horizon awaits our faithful equines.

In Conclusion

As we slide into the tack and take the reins of our lovely equines, we obtain a wealth of experiences and fond memories. Moving forward, let us ensure that these experiences remain equally joyful for our trusty steeds. Through initiatives such as the Charter for the Horse, let's stride towards a future where equine well-being isn't merely a checkbox but rather a heartfelt promise we make to our horse companions.

Horse lovers unite! Download and sign the new Charter for the Horse to display on your tack room walls, noticeboards, and social media accounts. Let's proudly show our commitment to our horse's life-long well-being!

Source: Jones, Eleanor. (2024, March 19). British equestrian world proudly unites behind new horse welfare charter. Horse & Hound.