British Dressage Equine Welfare Review

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Fri, 01 Dec 2023 13:58

Alongside today’s publication of the 2024 Members’ Handbook, British Dressage is pleased to release its Charter for the Horse and revised equine welfare policies.

At British Dressage our vision is to ‘bring people and horses together in harmony’ and as part of this we constantly strive to achieve even better standards of horse care and well-being, at all levels of the sport.

In consultation with World Horse Welfare, we’ve recently conducted a full review of our policies and processes around horse welfare. As a result of this work, we’re proud to release the first edition of the British Dressage Charter for the Horse.  The Charter is comprised of ten commitments to our equine partners, each integral to optimum horse welfare and good horsemanship.

Everyone involved in the sport of dressage, regardless of their individual role, has a duty to adhere to these key principles, not just when competing in the arena. Our relationship with the horse extends far beyond creating a harmonious picture in front of the judges – and it is essential that all members understand and exemplify these values in their own actions and behaviours.

We’ve also revised our Code of Conduct for Horse Welfare, with twelve sections on how to apply good knowledge of horse care; from travelling and fitness, to tack and equipment and veterinary procedures. We know that everyone involved in the sport of dressage has a shared love of the horse, but we actively encourage all members to become familiar with the Code of Conduct, and put this into practice on a day-to-day basis, to maintain the highest standards of care at all times.

The British Dressage Charter for the Horse and Code of Conduct for Horse Welfare are available to view in the 2024 BD Members’ Handbook, available to members from Friday 1 December, but we have also produced a separate Equine Welfare booklet, to ensure that this remains front and centre.  Every member has a part to play in promoting the positive role that horses have in our lives to demonstrate how our sport always puts the horse first.


BD Chief Executive Jason Brautigam commented: “Horse welfare is at the heart of everything we do in British Dressage, so it’s crucial that our equine welfare policies capture this ethos.  With over 19,000 members, it’s incumbent on us as the National Governing Body to lead the way by promoting best practice across the sport.  Whether riding, coaching, or officiating, our members need to be equipped to recognise and fulfil the highest standards of horse care. With this in mind, we’ll be continuing to develop further training and education in this vitally important area next year and beyond.

“For now, I encourage all members to follow our new Charter for the Horse, and carefully read the expanded section on equine welfare. The physical health and mental well-being of our equine partners must remain the highest priority for everyone that owns, trains, or competes horses, from grassroots to Grand Prix. We must collectively be able to demonstrate that not only do we love our horses, but we provide them with the best care throughout their lives, before, during and after their sporting career.”