Collaborative efforts between the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) and leading dressage show sponsors World Dressage Masters (WDM) have resulted in a code of conduct that aims to ensure optimal horse-rider welfare and safety at equestrian events across the world.

World Dressage Masters recently approached the International Society for Equitation Science requesting the society develop ethical guidelines that promote and safeguard equine welfare during equestrian events. The unique inaugural joint initiative culminated in the publication of the Equitation Events Code of Conduct which is evidence based and aligned with current principles of learning theory in equitation science, as advocated by the ISES and supported by WDM.

Equitation Science provides a means to promote an objective, evidence-based understanding of the welfare of horses during training and competition and uses a multidisciplinary approach to explain horse training. Equitation Science applies valid, quantitative scientific methods that can identify training techniques that are ineffective or that may result in reduced equine welfare. The Equitation Events Code of Conduct highlights the most salient aspects relating to ethical and welfare concerns; and how these should be addressed during competitive events by organizers, sponsors, riders, trainers, grooms and stakeholders.

ISES Honorary President Dr Hayley Randle expressed that “Working together with WDM to develop the Equitation Events Code of Conduct has been a fantastic opportunity to embed science into practice. ISES hopes this is the start of many such progressive initiatives.”

WDM Managing Director John van de Laar adds: “We sincerely hope that equestrian event organisers, officials, riders, trainers and spectators across the world will consider adopting the Equitation Event Code of Conduct to ensure a welfare-driven, sustainable future for all horses.”