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Abstract - Julie Fiedler

How important is public trust for the future of the horse sport sector?

Welfare is the common ground that can bring together people from diverse equestrian and racing interests to improve horses’ everyday lives and performance. Reflecting on the markers for a functioning horse sector, such as national standards and plans for welfare, transport, biosecurity, and traceability, provides some guidance on where to go next. But is this enough? Without acknowledging the changing societal expectations towards animal welfare, horse activities risk losing relevance, a real threat to long-term sustainability. By exploring ideas such as developing industry-led concepts of animal safeguarding and practical, measurable improvements for events and businesses, we can shape our collective future with horses. Public trust is forward looking. It’s not only what is said could be done, and to what standard, but the ‘doing’ of welfare that will maintain the horse sector’s Social Licence to Operate.