British Dressage launched the new policy at the Horse & Hound Winter Championships

British Dressage introduced a new welfare policy at last weekend’s winter championships,which included notices alerting competitors that welfare stewards were overseeing the warm-up areas.

BD chief executive David Holmes explained: “The stewards will be responsible for ensuring that competitors are meeting the welfare standards laid out in our rulebook.”

The announcement follows correspondence in Horse & Hound last autumn, when spectators expressed concern at the treatment of some horses at the national championships at Stoneleigh.

Desi Dillingham, chairman of BD, commented: “We are very proud of dressage’s reputation as a sport that actively promotes and celebrates the beauty and athleticism of the horse. But we have to bear in mind that we live in a new era when public perceptions of horse welfare have changed.”

BD is considering employing stewards to attend a broader range of shows and issue warnings to riders if necessary and/or make recommendations to the disciplinary committee, a process already employed by the BSJA.

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