AWRN Workshop on “How happy are equine athletes?”

Date: 30/03/2021



Summary of Workshop

The National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) in collaboration with The Horse Trust, World Horse Welfare and the University of Liverpool is holding a virtual workshop on Tuesday 30th March 2021 to discuss the concept of the happy equine athlete and how we can tell if the horses we are working with are indeed ‘happy athletes’. The aim of the workshop is to provide a platform for discussion and collaboration between representatives of the equestrian sporting disciplines (primarily dressage, eventing, showjumping, and endurance) and researchers investigating scientific approaches used to assess an animal’s quality of life (QoL).


This virtual workshop will be run on Zoom (9.00-17.00) and includes presentations by representatives from the equine welfare sector, academia, and equestrian sports. In addition, delegates will be invited to join Focus Group sessions to discuss the topics presented and their application within equestrian sport.


Draft Programme

09.00    Welcome                                                                         Dr Carol Hall (NEWC)

Session 1:  Setting the scene (Chair: Dr Carol Hall)

09.10    Collaboration, communication, and change         Dr David Marlin (President of NEWC)

09.20    Social licence to operate                                              Roly Owers (World Horse Welfare)

09.35    Ethical considerations in equestrian sport            Dr Madeleine Campbell (Royal Veterinary College)

09.50    Q&A with the session speakers 

10.00    Break   

Session 2: Equestrian sporting disciplines (Chair: Roly Owers)

10.15    The happy equine athlete                                         Göran Akerström (FEI Veterinary Director)

10.30    Dressage                                                                         TBC

10.45    Para Dressage                                                               Natasha Baker  

11.00    Showjumping                                                              TBC

11.15    Eventing                                                                        Rosie Thomas

11.30    Endurance                                                                    Antonia Milner-Matthews         

11.45    Q&A with the session speakers 

12.00    Lunch   

Session 3: Focus Group 1

12.45    Focus Group 1 – discipline specific breakout groups (x4)

13.45    Break   

Session 4: Assessing equine behaviour

14.00    Behavioural evidence of happy horses                   Dr Carol Hall (NEWC)

14.15    Equine sleep patterns and equine well-being       Kym Griffin (Nottingham Trent University)

14.30    Current approaches to assessing QoL in animals Liane Preshaw (The Horse Trust)

14.45    Developing context specific QoL assessments      Dr Fiona Cooke (The Donkey Sanctuary)

15.00    Q&A with session speakers        

15.15    Break   

Session 5: Focus Group 2

15.30    Focus Group 2 – mixed discipline breakout groups (x4)                 

16.30    Summary of Focus Group discussions                    Dr Carol Hall and Liane Preshaw

16.45    Workshop ends



Registration is now closed for this event. Places to attend will be confirmed as soon as possible.



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