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

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

  • 1. Understanding horses’ happiness

    Research has highlighted how understanding when horses are expressing positive behaviour is just as important as recognising the negatives, when assessing quality of life. The project focused on understanding how equine quality of life was perceived, and how it can be measured. Key findings included that quality of life should be considered throughout horses’ lives, not just when making end-of-life decisions, and there is a need to consider both positive and negative experiences. It was highlighted there is a need for “collaborative working” to ensure that owners are considered during the research stages, when developing quality-of-life tools.

    Read more about the findings

    2. How hunting is helping a Gold Cup contender


    Santini, pictured with jockey Nick Scholfield.

    Santini is finding variety to be the spice of life in his preparations for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The 10-year-old finished second to Al Boum Photo in 2020, but pulled up in last year’s running, after which it was decided a change of scenery may do him good. He moved from Nicky Henderson’s yard to join Polly Gundry, who originally pre-trained the Milan gelding before he first joined Seven Barrows. Santini has been enjoying hunting and fun rides with Polly as part of his training.

    Find out more about how Santini is enjoying his varied routine

    3. Grooming goals

    Domino Bad Boy

    Lacey Smith’s two traditional show cob stallions Domino Bad Boy and Stanray Xrated possess some of the most enviable manes on the circuit. Lacey has owned the pair since they were foals, and both have impressive records in the show ring. “I get asked about how I maintain their hair, especially their manes, a lot,” she said. “But what many don’t realise is that a lot of it is down to breeding; the quality of hair comes from the bloodlines.”

    Discover the secrets behind keeping these glorious manes in tip-top shape

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