Horses have played many roles in their relationship with humans throughout history — food source, religious symbol, wartime and industrial beast of burden, sporting pursuits and more. And for many people it is the bond and partnership between human and horse that are the prime factors of their enjoyment while spending time with horses.

Whether for sport, pleasure or a revenue source, we as individuals of the horse industry and we as owners all have a responsibility to our horses – the “duty of care”.

In order to provide the care that supports welfare of the horse (or donkey or mule), it is important that the caretaker has a good understanding of health, behavioural and welfare needs. Whether it is a pony owned by a child, or a horse owned or leased in the care of another person or staff – the duty of care falls on the owner of the animal. As horses can live well beyond 30 years, ownership is a significant commitment.

Time, financial ability, humane handling skills and knowledge of equine care and prevention of health concerns all tie into one’s ability to provide acceptable standards of care and support welfare of their horses. We must ensure that every horse has:

  •   adequate food and water for its needs
  •   care for all health issues and injuries
  •   protection from hypothermia (body temperature dropping)
  •   protection from hyperthermia (overheating)
  •   adequate shelter, ventilation and space

    We must all be familiar with our new Code of Practice and the standards set out in this document.

    Learn more about the Equine Code of Practice – visit – Duty of Care

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