Not trimming whiskers, and other things the horse world is talking about right now

Horse & Hound’s daily debrief, brought to you every weekday morning

  • 1. Great Yorkshire banning the trimming of whiskers

    I do love the Great Yorkshire Show (GYS). Not only is it a great show, but its organisers are not afraid to take a stand on issues they feel are key for horse welfare, however much it may upset potential competitors. Having previously put limits on rider weight, GYS has now ruled that animals are not to have had their sensory hairs trimmed if they are to compete at the show, in all disciplines. The Welsh Pony and Cob Society (WPCS) has also introduced a rule, to apply from January, banning the trimming of sensory hairs on welfare grounds. Whisker-trimming was banned by the FEI in July and that British Dressage and British Eventing have followed suit, but it was thought it would take a while for showing to follow suit. GYS and WPCS have proved us wrong on that score.

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    2. The challenge facing RDA centres

    Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) groups are still struggling to find suitable horses and ponies for their participants to benefit from riding – and waiting lists continue to grow. In April H&H reported that the charity was facing a nationwide “crisis” to find horses and ponies. Tragically, seven months on, the situation has not improved and too many riders are missing out on the benefits that riding bring.

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    RDA horses

    3. How can equestrianism ensure its social licence?

    At the FEI general assembly (14-17 November), World Horse Welfare CEO Roly Owers, who can always be relied upon to make sensible comment, shared a quote by American philosopher Bernard Rollin to explain the issue facing the equestrian world: “Society basically says to professions it does not understand well enough to regulate: ‘You regulate yourselves the way we would regulate you if we understood what you do, which we don’t. ‘But we will know if you don’t self-regulate properly and then we will regulate you, despite our lack of understanding.’” FEI president Ingmar de Vos added that the social licence to operate is “probably becoming the most important priority on our to-do list”, and is looking for riders’ input and suggestions.

    Find out more

    Social licence: Horse sport must demonstrate sound ethics to survive

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