Sporthorse Welfare Foundation

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The International Dressage Trainers Club joins with the Sporthorse Welfare Foundation to secure sport horse welfare

The International Dressage Trainers Club (IDTC) is happy to announce that they will join the Sporthorse Welfare Foundation (SWF) in their project to come to a consensus on sport horses’ health and welfare. That statement will form the foundation of the discussion about equestrian sports. In this research project a huge number of equestrian professionals around the world – riders, grooms, trainers, veterinarians, scientists, farriers, owners and more – are consulted to share their wealth of experience and knowledge on sport horse welfare. The SWF wants to access and review their expertise and distil these recommendations to create an internationally approved shared agreement on best practice. The IDTC is helping the SWF to approach these experts, especially the riders and coaches, and get them involved.

EEF partners with the Sporthorse Welfare Foundation for new horse welfare project


The EEF is excited to announce a new partnership with the Sporthorse Welfare Foundation. The foundation is an international research group committed to enhancing horse health, performance, and welfare, and improving horse-rider relationships through high quality and inclusive research, education and increasing understanding.

The EEF will be working on a specific research project to find consensus about what the essential aspects of sport horse management and training are to safeguard the welfare of the sport horses involved. Ultimately working towards creating clear guidelines and advice to bring a global standard for sport horse welfare.

The foundation will bring together a group of over 150 equestrian professionals and scientists from 32 countries. The group contains experts from different disciplines and different kinds of professionals from multiple fields; riders, grooms, trainers, veterinarians, scientists, farriers, owners and more: there are so many people with a wealth of experience and knowledge about this subject. The method used is called a Delphi-design, in which expert’s opinions work to identify a consensus position, and the scale on which this study takes place, is unique in this debate. Consensus provides scientists and practitioners with a solid foundation based on the knowledge and experiences of experts in the field.

As the top-level sport evolves, we are aware the demands on our equine athletes are changing and it’s central to the EEF’s mission to ensure horse welfare remains the top priority. This project will explore all areas of an elite sports horses’ life, from competition, travel, training, nutrition, and home environment to find unanimity on the key factors and identify the best requirements for the horse.

The SWF is now in proudly in partnership with the European Equestrian Federation and the national federations of Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, as well as Hartpury University, the Sport Horse Research Foundation and World Horse Welfare.
Additional information can be shared with interested federations who may wish to make a larger contribution and become a partner of this project. Please contact 

EEF President Theo Ploegmakers said; “We are delighted to be working on this project with the Sport horse Welfare Foundation. Ensuring horse welfare is central to our purpose but to date, there is no consensus on what horse welfare means and the standards we expect. The researchers involved from the foundation are world-leading and are able to place science at the centre to ensure the measures we take are proven to improve the environment and experience for our elite equine athletes.”

Founding researcher Dr Carolien Munsters said; “This is a groundbreaking project to bring much-needed clarity to the area of horse welfare. Currently, the term is incredibly broad and different nations are working towards different standards. We want to use research and evidence-led practice to agree on a global definition and standards with all key stakeholders, that all nations can then adapt and work towards to optimise welfare for our equine athletes.”


EEF: Founded in 2009, the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) is the representative body for the European based National equestrian Federations. Working closely with the Federation Internationale Equestre (FEI) and the National Federations, the EEF works to maximize the potential and development of equestrianism throughout the continent. The EEF is committed to promoting the sport equestrianism and its good practices, developing the sport across Europe, and providing leadership for a collective European voice in the sport.

Sporthorse Welfare Foundation: The Sport horse Welfare Foundation is non-profit international research foundation committed to enhancing horse health, performance and welfare, and improving horse-rider relationships through high quality and inclusive research, education and increasing understanding.


Financial support of research projects is always very welcome. If you as a federation or organization also want to support the initiatives of the SWF or want more information about supporting options, please send an email to:


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