Public concerns about the involvement of horses in sport are set to go under the spotlight today (21 June) in an online event hosted by World Horse Welfare.
During the meeting, leading equestrian figures will discuss public perceptions of the involvement of horses in sport and what more equestrian sports need to do to ensure continued public support.
It comes after a survey commissioned by World Horse Welfare found that more than half of the UK population (60%) believes there should be more safety and welfare measures for horse sports.
The first-of-its-kind survey, which received more than 2,000 responses, also found that more than half of people feel that equine welfare should be better prioritised in communications.
Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, said the survey findings “should be a wake-up call to everyone involved in equestrian sports".
“I am afraid that the results of our survey reflect the reality of the UK public’s perception of welfare in horse sport, but we can and must turn this around," he said.
“As a charity that supports the responsible involvement of horses in sport we are, today, bringing together leaders in racing, polo and equestrianism to encourage a deeper conversation on how the different equestrian sports can work better together to address this issue and ensure the long-term sustainability of their respective activities.
“Horse sport can rebuild that trust with the public and maintain support - its social licence to operate - and have a bright future, but only if it opens itself to change. We look forward to having these conversations and importantly, seeing action.”
Joining the discssion will be Madeleine Campbell, senior lecturer in human-animal interactions and ethics at the RVC, Pippa Funnell MBE, Olympic eventer, and Dr Barry Johnson, chair of British Racing’s Horse Welfare Board.
Christian Landolt, dressage rider and eventer, trainer and FEI ground jury member and David Morley, Chair of the Hurlingham Polo Association Pony Welfare Committee, will also be on the panel.