AWRN Workshop on “How happy are equine athletes?”
Summary of Workshop
The full title of the event is “How happy are equine athletes? Assessing equine Quality of Life in equestrian sporting disciplines”. It will take place on Zoom on Tuesday 30th March 2021.
The use of animals in sport is the source of much debate. The inclusion of three equestrian disciplines in the Olympic Games in 2021 is evidence of the global importance of the sport, but this high-profile event will also attract further public scrutiny. It is therefore timely for those involved in researching and promoting improvements in equine welfare standards to engage with the equine sporting sector to discuss the International Equestrian Federation’s ambition that horses should be “happy athletes”. In a rapidly changing social and economic environment this goal has never been more important.
The National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC), in partnership with The Horse Trust, World Horse Welfare and the University of Liverpool, wish to facilitate this discussion. An evaluation of approaches to assessing equine quality of life, with a view to developing measures that are applicable across the sector, is underway. However, there are specific challenges within equestrian sport and the involvement of stakeholders from the outset is imperative. A context-specific approach is required to ensure that measures are relevant and feasible within sporting contexts, and to promote engagement and uptake within equestrian sport.
The aim of this workshop would be to provide a platform for discussion and collaboration between representatives of the equestrian sporting disciplines and those involved in the development of validated measures of equine quality of life. The proposed goals are to:
• Gain a better understanding of the current practices and guidance within equestrian sporting disciplines that protect or improve equine welfare
• Evaluate the potential usefulness of current approaches to assessing equine quality of life, and inform the development of measures relevant to the equestrian sports sector
• Plan future collaborative initiatives that will promote consideration of equine quality of life in the sporting context and provide evidence of how to recognize a ‘happy equine athlete’
Further information and registration for this event will be circulated to the AWRN mailing list as soon as it is available.