At All Heart Horse Farm we believe in happy, healthy horses.
A happy and healthy horse starts with a diverse team of equine professions: vets for great medical attention, an equine dental specialist to keep teeth healthy and in good working order, a farrier who keeps horses' feet (and thus legs) balanced and comfortable, our saddle-fitter who maintains proper saddle-fit, our equine chiroprator who helps keep our horses' muscles and bones aligned and loose.
And very importantly, our trainers who help horses understand their owners, owners understand their horses, and riders ride better.
As a minimal starting point, in addition to the equine professional services above, horses must have correct feed, as much safe, stress-free turnout as possible, and "horse-friendly" stalls.
For years, the governing bodies of our sport (i.e., FEI, USEA, USDF, USHJA) have published codes of conduct for the welfare of the horse. For example, the USHJA states, "In the interests of the horse, the competence of the rider is considered essential." (USHJA, 2007 Owners Resource Guide.) And the FEI states, "Horses and competitors must be fit, competent and in good health before they are allowed to compete." (FEI Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse). However, in the last few years, the FEI has moved forward with the concept of "happy equine athelete" to respond to the many problems seen at competitions -- Researchers are now striving to objectively recognize "happy" and "unhappy" horse behavior. Please take the time to read the published article by Christa Leste-Lasserre (citation below)...it is the beginning of what will hopefully be a kinder and happier world for our equine partners.
(Researcher: Strive to Recognize Happy Horse Behavior; by Christa Leste'-Lasserre, published in The Horse, January 8, 2013; Article #31172)
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