Our Projects

Health & Welfare

As the community of sport horse breeders and studbooks across the world, the health and welfare of our horses is very close to our heart.

Find out more Past Events

Supporting the production of happy

Equine Athletes

We recognise that as individual breeders and as organisations we can influence a wide range of aspects of welfare and that the breeding and support of the happy equine athlete is our ultimate aim.

We support the long term soundness and comfort of all sport horses by carefully selecting our stallions and broodmares to ensure their offspring have correct conformation and are free from genetic diseases.

By rewarding breeders who produce healthy and athletic horses of good character and temperament, studbooks promote the highest standards in horse management.

As an organisation, we support health and welfare by providing a forum for the exchange of knowledge, through webinars, seminars and workshops. On this page, you will find more information about past initiatives and up-and-coming events and opportunities.

We are also delighted to work with and support the important work of our partners across the world, including World Horse Welfare.

    • USA 2023
    • Germany 2022
    • Hungary 2018
    • Sweden 2017
      • USA 2023

        During the General Assembly in Orlando (USA), a workshop was held to collect information and feedback from the members for the WBFSH project to produce a welfare statement.

        Dr Jane Williams and Lorna Cameron from Hartpury University made a presentation to introduce the workshop.

        A background on SLO and welfare were presented, with the concept of horses having a good life aligned to Mellor’s Five domains model. The WBFSH Welfare Statement project and the project aims were introduced, with an explanation of the research-based approach to practice and sustainability.

      • usa-workshop
        Workshop Summary
      • Germany 2022

        The WBFSH General Assembly in Dresden in 2022 saw a range of interesting presentations and discussions centred on the topic of Equine Welfare.

        With growing pressure on the entire equine industry to maintain its social license and to continue to increase horse welfare standards, several topics in Dresden were dedicated to welfare-related issues.

        Dr Henrike Lagershausen (GER) presented the latest German guidelines on the handling and use of horses from an animal welfare perspective and effects on the start of training for young horses. This due to growing pressure of how young horses are started, and in particular how stallions are prepared for the stallion selections. Her presentation focused on starting of training and housing of young horses, what the current discussions in Germany are, as well as the impact on equestrian sport and breeding sector (especially selection-system of stallions, licensing and preparation).

        Bérengère Lacroix (FRA) presented the preliminary results of a study carried out in France under Anne Ricard (“Survival study”), on the projected sports longevity of horses of a particular population, by analysing the selection methods of 2- and 3-year old SF horses. 3.541 horses born between 2006 and 2018 were taken into account in the analysis, the horses having only achieved CSO, and excluding horses having done both show jumping and eventing.

        A workshop was held about animal welfare and megatrends, asking delegates to consider the following four questions:

        • 1. What are the main welfare issues in starting to work young horses, and where do you see the greatest potential for abuse
        • 2. How would an ideal young stallions selection process look like in the context of welfare?
        • 3. What regulations are already in place in your countries to protect the welfare of foals and young horses?
        • 4. What other animal welfare issues will affect horse breeding in the near future, and what should be regulated or forbidden
      • Hungary 2018

        The WBFSH General Assembly in Hungary in 2018 saw a range of interesting presentations and discussions centred on the topic of Equine Welfare.

        We are able to explore how studbook gradings and selections can have a direct impact on welfare. Examples included a presentation on stallion selections by Gábor Bódó, professor of equine surgery at the Veterinary School Budapest [link to stallion selections presentation], as well as an introduction to screening for hereditary diseases such as WFFS through DNA testing by Sofia Mikko from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

        We also considered the direct impact breeders can have on welfare in how they manage their horses, a topic that was explored by Janne Winther Christensen from Aarhus University and president of International Society for Equitation Science who spoke about the maternal transmission of behaviour.

        The global relevance of welfare considerations in sport horse breeding was explored by Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, in a thought provoking presentation, which formed the basis for further group work and discussions among the assembly participants whose outcomes are summarised here.

        Workshop Summary

      • Sweden 2017

        The European Championships 2017 took place in Gothenburg, Sweden.

        This provided an excellent opportunity for the Swedish Equestrian Federation (SvRF) to host a day of seminars on the subject of the welfare of the horse, und the Heading of "From the horse's perspective – to establish how sport and breeding can interact with the scientists to secure the welfare of the horse".

        The event was organised in cooperation with the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) and the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH).

        Attendance was free of charge, with many of the sessions open to the general public.

        Download a summary of this interesting seminar.

        Download Summary