Welfare – Our Point of View

Our Point of View

Equines are most healthy and happy when kept as near to their natural life as feasible. For this reason, we encourage that they should be given as much freedom to roam as possible, have contact with other equines and free access to forage.

With regard to hoof protection, extraordinary progress has been made in materials and technologies so that many equines can now work without the need for nailed-on shoes. Concordia always has in mind what is in the best interest of each individual horse, and whilst we acknowledge and respect that many owners and riders choose to keep their horses traditionally shod, we also welcome the rapid evolution towards metal free hooves.

We support the respectful training of horses with the emphasis on patience and empathy, listening to the horse, allowing the horse to carry itself and not using force. We recognize the sensitivity of horses and that ‘lightness’ is a key concept. We aim to use the lightest aids possible in handling and riding horses, with giving and empathetic hands and a balanced position when riding. We are in favour of the freedom to choose to ride with or without a bit in competitions and that when a noseband is worn, it should be fitted so as not to cause the horse discomfort or pain. We welcome scientific research and follow the guidelines of the International Society of Equitation Science (ISES) that there should be at least two fingers clearance between the noseband and the nasal mid-line of the equine.

We do not condone or promote any practices that restrict the horse’s natural outline or movement, either by using tight controlling equipment or any methods that hold horses in a ‘shape’, especially when done by force.

Draw-reins and other restrictive gadgets are increasingly becoming part of the competition horse’s wardrobe, and whilst we recognise that in educated hands these gadgets can be seen as a convenient shortcut, we question their use and believe that the very riders who are good enough to use them are the riders who don’t actually need them. We believe that spurs should only ever be used by very educated legs to make a signal more precise and never to inflict pain. However, as we are frequently seeing them being used to inflict pain even by the most accomplished of riders, we question their use, and spurs are not allowed in Concordia competitions.