EBTA's view........

Horses and ponies have a very special place in the hearts of people throughout the UK. Owning an equine is a privilege for some and many more people have horses in their lives through riding schools, trekking centres, tourist attractions, attending equestrian sports and watching programmes about horses on TV.

The horse-human relationship is usually portrayed with idyllic images - riding through the British countryside, being 'at one' with the horse as he/she performs complex dressage movements, human and horse bravely tackling steep slopes and water jumps in eventing courses and horse and rider achieving gymnastic feats when show jumping. However, is equestrianism as idyllic for the horses as it is for the riders? Has the increased understanding we now have about the way animals learn and behave resulted in kinder methods of handling? In some cases it has, but there is still room for improvement, and the way that some horses and ponies are managed and trained can still be a cause of compromised welfare.

For people who want to learn more about horses, there is an abundance of resources available. However, sometimes books, trainers and products promote conflicting advice and information, making it difficult to make informed choices that always have the animals' welfare at heart. "EBTA's View" is a series of policy documents where we describe our position on various aspects of the equine world. We want to make it clear where our ethics lie and what we represent. We hope it will also stimulate discussion and encourage people to think about their own position on these issues. For more introductory or explanatory articles on the subjects, please see our Behaviour Basics and/or Articles sections. Over the coming months we will be adding more topics. If you would like to know EBTA's position on any additional issue then please contact us.

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