International experts in the equestrian industry will come together to discuss ‘Whose opinion matters?’ when it comes to managing the many and complex facets of the horse-human partnership at World Horse Welfare‘s annual conference.

The event, which takes place next week on Thursday 11 November, is free to watch remotely and will feature a number of speakers as well as a live panel for questions.

Speakers include dressage rider and trainer Pammy Hutton, director general of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Dr Monique Eloit, ITV Racing presenter Ed Chamberlain, former World Horse Welfare groom Jordan Headspeath, and leading performance psychologist and mental health coach Charlie Unwin.

World Horse Welfare’s president, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, will also be in attendance.

‘Whom should we listen to?’

The speakers will explore how horse management and the use of horses has developed as understanding has increased, while some aspects of equestrianism have remained stuck in tradition.

They will also consider why it can be difficult to recognise the right advice and sources of information.

Talks include ‘The powerful role of opinion in equestrian’, ‘The importance of evidence in animal health and welfare’, and ‘The media and opinion’.

“The sheer volume of opinion out there can be both overwhelming and deafening,” said Roly Owens, chief executive at World Horse Welfare.

“In horse sport, welfare has again sparked fierce debate in the media: from that photo of [racehorse trainer] Gordon Elliot [sitting on a dead horse] to revelations in Panorama to treatment of horses in Modern Pentathlon at the Olympics, but strong views can be found wherever horses come into contact with people.

“But whom should we listen to? How open are we to views that challenge our own way of seeing? And when — if ever — should opinion overrule fact?”

Live discussion panel

A live discussion panel representing a diverse cross-section of the equestrian world will consider the points raised in the morning’s session, and take questions from the audience.

The panel includes radio DJ and horse owner Sara Cox, veterinary surgeon and MP for Penrith and The Border Dr Neil Hudson, University of Kentucky equine lecturer Camie Heleski, Vet and World Horse Welfare trustee Chris Tufnell, and Universidad Nactional Autónoma de México professor Mariano Hernandez-Gil.

The event will start at 9:45am with talks from the speakers, followed by the charity’s president HRH The Princess Royal providing her views at 1:25pm. The conference will conclude at 3pm.

It can viewed remotely for free. Register to watch here.

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