Guidance

Code of practice for the welfare of horses, ponies, donkeys and their hybrids

This document provides advice on owning a horse, pony, donkey or hybrid.

Documents

Code of practice for the welfare of horses, ponies, donkeys and their hybrids

Details

Owning and caring for a horse can be a source of great enjoyment but is also a big responsibility with a long-term caring and financial commitment. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (“the Act”) requires you to ensure that any horse, pony, donkey or mule for which you are responsible, whether on a permanent or a temporary basis:

  • has a suitable environment to live in
  • has a healthy diet
  • is able to behave normally
  • has appropriate company
  • is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Breach of a provision of the code is not an offence in itself, but if proceedings are brought against you for a welfare offence the Court will look at whether or not you have complied with the Code in deciding whether you have committed an offence.

Published 8 April 2013
Last updated 16 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Information on a “suitably qualified person” added. Also added more information on choosing an appropriate horse; minimum sizes for stables; importance of humane, effective and safe training; use of restraint; the inclusion of body condition scoring and horse passports.
  2. Latest version of the code of practice for the welfare of horses, ponies, donkeys and their hybrids added.
  3. Published an updated draft of the code of practice for the welfare of horses, ponies, donkeys and their hybrids.
  4. First published.