Welfare of horses: an introduction

Owning and caring for a horse can be a source of great enjoyment but is also a big responsibility with a long-term caring and financial commitment.

Horse's needs

You must take all reasonable steps to make sure that your horse:

  • has a suitable environment to live in
  • has a healthy diet
  • is able to behave normally
  • has suitable company
  • is protected from pain, suffering, injury or disease

It is your responsibility to fully understand the horse’s welfare needs and what is required of you to meet those needs.

In this section 'equine' refers to:

  • domestic horses
  • ponies
  • donkeys and hybrids (including mules)

If information relates to donkeys specifically, reference to donkeys will be made.

In this section about horses, a 'keeper' means any person having care and control of horses, whether on a temporary or permanent basis.

You will also find references to ‘experienced horse professionals’. These are people who, through qualification or experience, can provide expert advice on welfare and some aspects of equine health.

Information about owning a horse

For information you need to know about owning a horse, follow the link below. It includes legal requirements about horse, pony and donkey passports, housing, diet and disease:

More useful links

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