A divisive new law in France means that those wanting to own a horse in the country will require a certificate of knowledge.

The rule, which will apply within a year, aims to improve equine welfare and is applicable to those not already licenced under a governing body.

Further new legislation means it will be compulsory to register that a horse has undergone a neurectomy, a procedure that involves cutting a nerve or making it insensitive to treat foot conditions.

In addition, non-payment of livery fees where the stable’s owner is left to care for the horse will now be considered a form of abandonment, and ultimately the yard owner will have the power to auction of the horse.

Many Your Horse readers welcomed the idea of encouraging greater insight into horse management, but they had concerns that the certificate would make ownership even more costly, and would be tricky to enforce.

Others suggested the measures were “draconian” and people would be tempted to forge documents, and not necessarily care for their horse correctly once they gained the certificate.

Rider Marilyn Roberts thought it was important to have a good level of knowledge to keep a horse.

“You only have to read some of the questions people ask on Facebook to realise that they have no idea,” she said.

“I think more riding schools should offer stable management courses. Its a continuous learning curve and even those of us who have had horses for years could do with updating our knowledge.”

While Rachel Belle was concerned horses would still suffer at the hands of those who disregard their welfare.

“It sounds like it will just end up costing all the decent people even more to keep horses,” she said. “Where people care, they naturally want to learn.

“A certificate won’t solve the problem of people who just don’t care and will neglect their horses and animals.”

The new law was published in the Official Journal of the French Republic on 1 December, 2021.

Find out what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get the latest issue

Check out our latest subscription offer