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.



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; and
  • 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.

Further information