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Horse Welfare

Moving Welfare Forward

December 2016

Animal welfare science has, since the 1970’s, relied on the concept of the Five Freedoms as a means to make sense of what an animal might be experiencing and what its welfare might be.  However, since that time, welfare scientists have also argued that freedom from thirst and hunger, discomfort, pain, injury and disease, freedom to express normal behaviour, and freedom from fear and distress represent an unachievable Nirvana, and could even give the wrong impression of how animals, and even we humans, experience the world. 

Do What You Do, Better

October 2016

Centaur Biomechanics founder Russell Guire has dedicated his life to studying the biomechanics of horse and rider interaction. His research has ranged from analysing the effects of mounting on the horse’s back to developing the Fairfax Performance Girth, Team GB’s ‘Secret Weapon’ for London 2012. 

Letting Go: Responsibility vs Emotion

October 2016

Humane destruction is possibly the least discussed topic of horse ownership and, by far, the most sensitive. Even so, every horse owner should give this issue some considered thought, so they will be prepared if the time comes. It’s probably fair to say the majority of horse owners will one day be faced with the upsetting, yet inevitable, situation of having to put a horse down. What do you need to know? 

Horse Welfare: The State of Play

August 2016

The wellbeing of Australia’s horses, particularly those associated with the racing industry, horse sports and recreational associations, is under public scrutiny like never before.  As the Australian Horse Industry Council states on their webpage: “Often people think of horse welfare as concerning only what is commonly described as a ‘welfare case’ - a horse which has very poor body condition or treated very badly. There is, in fact, much more to welfare than extreme cases of neglect.”

The Re-Homing Dilemma

August 2016

It would be ideal for every horse to retire to rolling green paddocks with horse companions and an attentive owner but, regrettably, this is often not possible. Realistically, the horse industry will never be able to eliminate the problem of unwanted horses. Horses will always age, sustain career ending injuries, not perform up to expectations or not be attractive enough. There are options to explore to resolve this dilemma that any horse owner may face. Above all, you should ensure the horse’s health and welfare are at all times paramount to every other consideration. Private sale

Speaking Volumes - Horse Welfare by the Book: Part 2

July 2016

Author and animal welfare advocate Jane Duckworth shares some recommended reading on horse care, management and training with the horse at its centre. The best guide to horse care in Australia and New Zealand is still ‘Horse Sense’, written by Peter Huntingtton, Jane Myers and Elizabeth Owens (1). First published in 1992, then a new edition was released in 2004. We no longer have to rely on overseas publications written for different conditions. This is a best-selling reference book for good reason. The horse care bible for Australia and New Zealand.

Speaking Volumes - Horse Welfare by the Book: Part 1

June 2016

Author and animal welfare advocate Jane Duckworth shares some recommended reading on horse care, management and training with the horse at its centre. Horse welfare is about ‘quality of life’. Unfortunately, welfare cannot be measured. In addition, a particular individual’s perception of a situation may differ from another. 

RunHappy... Horse Racing in America

June 2016

Sid Gustafson reports from the Breeders’ Cup in America and gives an insight into permitted pre-race medication for the people and horses of Australia...


June 2016

In this article, Dr Rachel O’Higgins examines the current understanding of stereotypies - a group of behaviours which are commonly referred to as ‘stable vices’.  As Dr O’Higgins explains, horse owners must change the way they think about stereotypies; instead of being offensive, they need to be recognised as a horse’s coping mechanism induced by frustration and brain dysfunction. 

Horses in Saleyards

April 2016

Public auctions held at physical saleyards are a traditional method of selling horses on to new owners or to the slaughterhouses. The horses range from Thoroughbred yearlings through to aged children’s ponies, unhandled equines of various breeds, broken down trotters and much in between.


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