“When does use become abuse?” is the question that will be explored by experts from across the horse world and beyond at World Horse Welfare’s 25th annual conference tomorrow (10 November).

The event will take place at the Royal Geographical Society in London and virtually online, thanks to the sponsorship of the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust.

The charity’s President, HRH The Princess Royal, is expected to attend the event which regularly attracts more than 600 guests to discuss issues that impact welfare across the horse world. This year’s event features speakers from the USA, Latin America, Europe and the UK.

A range of speakers from around the world will explore the complex topic including:

  • Mark Wentein, Chair, European Horse Network on ‘The horse in Europe: relevance and responsibilities’
  • Tamara Tadich, Associate Professor, Universidad Austral de Chile on ‘Getting the balance right for working equids’
  • Matt Brown, US five-star Eventer on ‘We all need to do better’
  • Lee Cain, Founder, Charlesbye Strategy on ‘A matter of opinion’
  • Claire Bessant, Former CEO, International Cat Care on ‘Cat welfare: When does use become abuse?’

The live discussion panel features representatives from a diverse cross-section of the equestrian world: Chaired by Nick Powell, Sports Editor of Sky News and comprising of Dr Sarah Coombs, Vet and World Horse Welfare Trustee; Dr Amber Batson, Vet; Professor Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer; Bluebell Brown, Royal Veterinary College and Lee Mottershead, Senior Writer, Racing Post. The panel will explore the theme further and take questions from the audience.

The charity’s President, HRH The Princess Royal, is expected to provide her views at 1:35pm and the conference will run until 3.30pm.

“The crucial link between truly prioritising horse welfare and maintaining our social licence to operate is getting more recognition in horse sport, but this concept also applies much more widely to all uses of horses, be it horse riding, carriage riding, tourism, therapy, conservation grazing, rewilding and even keeping horses as companions,” said Roly Owers, World Horse Welfare Chief Executive. “What was previously acceptable is often no longer considered so but where is the line now drawn, and who decides?”

Anyone with an interest in horses and animal welfare can register to watch the conference live here.

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