Is Britain still a nation of horse lovers? Equine charity World Horse Welfare hopes to find out with its “Great British Horse Survey”, launched today (Friday, 3 September).

Having experienced a 57% rise in calls from the public in the past five years, the charity wants to find out what welfare issues arise the most.

“The survey is about making us more relevant to the equine community,” said World Horse Welfare’s Roly Owers.

“It will guide us on what the main welfare issues are perceived to be.”

The charity is touting the survey as the first of its kind, should the goal of 30,000 responses be achieved.

In the questionnaire, the public is asked to comment on topics from overweight horses, regulation in equine sports industries to vaccinations.

The public was last canvassed on the horse industry in 2006, in the British Equestrian Association’s (BETA) “National equestrian survey”. But that did not cover welfare.

Lee Hackett from the National Equine Welfare Council said:“One of the biggest issues is that people have very different ideas about welfare, which often don’t tie in with what is and isn’t legal.”

• The survey is available at www.horsesurvey.co.uk

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (2 September, ’10)