The Sport Horse Welfare Foundation is established with horse professionals from 32 countries –

Veterinarians and equine scientists from around the world came together to form the Sports Equine Foundation (SWF), which focuses on the care of sports horses.

What do sports horses need to do well? The work of the Sport Horse Welfare Foundation aims to answer this question from a scientific point of view. Mr. Dr. Jane Williams is Director of Research at the University of Hartbury in England. She explained:

“Our goal is to work with the best in the field to create scientific and ethical guidelines for the training and welfare of sports horses, primarily to protect horses, but also to protect and enhance the reputation of the equestrian sport.

Current scientific knowledge about the welfare of sporting horses is very limited because we are dealing with animals who of course cannot verbally express how they feel. However, there are a large number of equestrian professionals around the world – jockeys, grooms, trainers, vets, scientists, farriers, owners and more – who have a wealth of experience and knowledge on the subject.

We want to draw on and review their expertise and compile these recommendations into a common and internationally recognized best practice agreement.”

More than 150 athletes and equestrian scientists participate in the project. With the ‘social license’ of equestrian sport increasingly questioned, the project’s work should contribute to ‘finding a common ground with critics of equestrian sport’, in the words of the German Equestrian Federation (FN). FN, like the European Equestrian Federation (EEF), is a cooperative partner of the Sport Horse Welfare Foundation.

EDF President Theo Ploegmakers: “We are pleased to work with Sport Horse and Child Care on this project. Promoting equine welfare is fundamental to our sport, but so far there is no consensus on what equine care means and what the standards are to be expected. The prominent researchers involved in this initiative are at the forefront of equine science, They are therefore in the best position to ensure that the actions we take are backed by science and proven to improve the environment and experience for our sporting horses.”

New Forces Secretary General Sonic Lauterbach says: “For FN, animal welfare and the welfare of horses in sport are of the highest priority. In Germany, through the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s guidelines, guidelines and regulations, we have set a standard that has not yet been set internationally. That is why we support the work of the Sport Horse Welfare Foundation. Our goal is to ensure The well-being of our partner’s horse in sport is based on sound science.”


SWF will use the so-called Delphi method in its work. Opinions are collected and coordinated in order to reach a consensus. This consensus then aims to provide scholars and practitioners with a solid foundation based on expert knowledge and experience.

The following experts will participate in the project on behalf of the German FN: Veterinarians Dr. Henrik Lagerhausen and Dr. Enrica Zumnorde-Mertens of the FN Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Care, Dr. Matthias Niederhofer from the veterinary clinic in Telgte and the veterinarian from the German ceremonial team Dr. Veronica Sens, Veterinarian and Physiotherapist from the German Event Planning Team as well as National Youth Coach Caroline Rost (Dressage).

The initiative has already received support from the European Equestrian Federation (EEF), national equestrian federations in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, the Sport Horse Research Foundation, World Horse Welfare and the University of Hartpury. SWF is a non-profit membership organization governed by Assoc. Mr. Dr. Jane Williams (UK), Dr. Caroline Munsters (Netherlands), d. David Marlin (UK) and Professor Dr. Michael Weishaupt (CH) is founded.

The full list of founding members and the press release that launched the initiative can be found at

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