The care and welfare of horses at sporting and competitive events

The Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada is a not for profit organization focused on raising awareness and providing education for the humane handling of horses throughout all their stages of life.


Whether it is a rodeo, horse shows, racing, western horse events, jumping, eventing, parades, exhibitions, educational exhibits or therapy all those involved have a responsibility to ensure the care and welfare of all animals involved.


Horse owners, event organizers, veterinarians, judges and officials, organizations and associations, all have a role to play in ensuring horses are treated humanely and with respect. Responsibilities include:

  • Owners – ensure animals are appropriate for the sport, they are fit to participate, transport, and the animal’s, medical, nutritional and hydration needs are met.

  • Event organizers – ensure facilities, equipment and courses are safe and handlers are qualified.

  • Veterinarians – work in partnership with owners and event organizers to ensure the animals are healthy, fit and receive immediate and appropriate attention as needed.

  • Judges and/or officials – the welfare of the horse should be paramount in all facets of competing, know and enforce rules in an unbiased manner that are in place to ensure proper treatment of animals.

  • Organizations and/or associations – deliver and promote science-based education, develop and ensure animal care standards are in place and enforced at events including but not limited to acceptable biosecurity practices.


We strongly encourage all events organizers to develop standards and animal care programming to minimize inherent risk to animals participating in sporting and competitive events.


HWAC can assist in the development of animal care standards and programs for equine events. Contact us for details.

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