A new strategic approach and 24 new recommendations from the Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission (EEWB) for the FEI will be submitted and discussed at the FEI Sports Forum on Monday 24th April. They are now available to view on the Commission’s website HERE.

Maintaining a ‘Social Licence to Operate’ requires an ongoing pro-active approach from the equestrian community through commitment to a trusted equine welfare strategy. The independent EEWB was founded in June 2022 to address equine welfare issues of public and equestrian concern to ensure the welfare of the horse is paramount, and Social Licence is maintained.

The Commission’s presentation at the April 2023 Sports Forum in Lausanne represents the second phase of its work, after conducting detailed surveys last summer of public opinion in 14 countries and almost 28,000 equestrians from 116 countries, and making initial six initial Recommendations at the FEI General Assembly last November in Cape Town.

The Strategic Approach being presented this month — entitled A Good Life For Horses — lists the core actions and objectives required to ensure that horses, specifically those involved in sport, lead a good life, and to ensure ongoing public and equestrian support.

The Commission has further drafted 24 Recommendations for the FEI to consider and discuss, and they will be presented on Monday 24th April by the Commission’s Chair, Professor Dr Natalie Waran (NZL). They include ways in which the FEI can lead in setting standards for equine welfare, embed equine welfare within its structure and ways of working, become more pro-active and transparent about horse involvement in sport, and be more open to external scrutiny.

Examples of the Recommendations that will be discussed include:

  • To publicly commit to defining, promoting and ensuring A Good Life for Horses as the fundamental tenet of an FEI Equine Wellbeing Strategy.
  • To continue to develop the use of ethical, evidence-based practices in horse training, management and performance.
  • To ensure that all FEI stakeholders commit to an FEI Equestrian Charter’
  • To establish and promote an equine ethics and wellbeing education programme for all equestrians, requiring FEI stakeholders to complete at least two core modules related to equine wellbeing and Social Licence to Operate preferably within their first year of association with the FEI.
  • To empower officials through improved mandatory training and ongoing professional development in relation to equine welfare.
  • To establish and implement a process for ensuring high standards of welfare and investigating risky practices for horses when ‘outside of competition’ through establishing something similar to human athlete checks under the WADA code.

Prof Nat Waran says: “The Commission has worked hard to develop a proposed vision and strategic approach to ensure a ‘Good Life for Horses’ and to sustain equine participation in sport now and into the future. We are looking forward to engaging with equestrian stakeholders at the FEI Sports Forum to discuss the draft recommendations, and hearing different views about what we have proposed.”

Find out more about the Commission HERE