Pandemic positives, horses’ happiness and other things the horse world is talking about

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

  • 1. The positives of the pandemic

    When sport restarted after the first lockdown in 2020, a raft of measures was introduced to ensure all participants were safe, and to allow events to run. Many of the ideas and schemes forced into place by Covid have been kept as they have benefited organisers, riders and others.

    Find out what’s stayed and what’s gone, and why

    2. Horses’ happiness

    Understanding horses’ happiness in competition is key to better welfare — and our sport’s future.

    Research has been published after a workshop involving representatives of the animal welfare sector and different equestrian disciplines, on welfare in sport.

    It was discussed that there can be “conflict” between the demands of competition, stakeholders involved in a competition horse’s team such as the owner, rider and vet, and the innate needs of a horse, such as social contact, turnout, and emotional health. It was also recognised there is a need to be able to measure welfare better and that current welfare assessment tools were not suitable.

    Find out more about the research, and what it means for horse sport

    3. Festive hunting was back

    The Essex with Farmers & Union Hunt at its “Boxing Day” meet on 27 December

    Covid restrictions meant Boxing Day and New Year’s Day meets were among the many casualties of the pandemic last year. But as in England, there were no restrictions on numbers at outdoor gatherings, this year, they were back in style. Hunts and thousands of supporters braved miserable weather on Monday, 27 December to carry on the tradition, nearly 17 years after the Hunting Act came into force. Many Welsh hunts had to be cancelled again owing to Covid restrictions, while numbers were limited in Scotland.

    “We hope that next year, meets can return to their full glory which can mean crowds hit hundreds of thousands.”

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