‘Changing Times’ at World Horse Welfare Annual Conference 2018


Diverse range of speakers set to debate change and development across the equine sector

conference 2018

‘Changing Times’ is the theme for this year’s World Horse Annual Conference which will take place on 31st October at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Speakers from across the international equine sector will cover a wide range of topics from the changing trends in equine training methods to the world behind the phenomenon of Gypsy cobs and the possible impacts of Brexit, to the importance of boosting people’s welfare in order to boost equine welfare.

A discussion panel featuring five renowned equine vets will cover a diverse spectrum of issues including the topical debate about rider weight, the unique role of vets in enhancing equine welfare through working with their clients, the challenges presented by hard to reach communities and the developments in understanding of equine behaviour which raise the question of how we define modern horsemanship.

Each year the conference is live-streamed on YouTube, but for the first time ever this year, the day’s action will also feature on Facebook Live with added opportunity for interaction and questions from online audiences. 

World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, said:

“This year’s theme of ‘Changing Times’ is a progression from the past couple of years where we have focused on the world’s Invisible Horses where we wanted to consider the ever-developing debate around the shifting ways in which we manage, treat, understand, care for, protect and perceive the millions of equines undertaking thousands of different roles around the world – and how the changing world around us might impact their welfare.

“We are delighted to be joined by such an interesting and eclectic mixture of speakers and panellists who all bring unique expertise, experience and knowledge to the discussions of the day.

“Each year, our live streaming grows in popularity with viewers tuning in from around the world to see the day’s proceedings and by using Facebook Live we hope to further grow this reach whilst also providing the opportunity for enhanced engagement from those online audiences – and what better way to represent changing times.”

Online audiences can submit questions for the conference discussion panel by emailing: press@worldhorsewelfare.org in advance of 5pm on Tuesday 30th October or by using #ChangingTimes on social media. To watch live click here or Facebook Live at: www.facebook.com/worldhorsewelfare

The full programme for the day can be found below:

9:45am – Conference opened by World Horse Welfare Chairman Michael Baines
10:00am – World Horse Welfare Chief Executive Roly Owers gives his view on Changing Times
10:10am – Why we need to help people if we want to help horses: Utam Kaphle, Executive Director of Animal Nepal
10:25am – Equestrian sport: the good, the bad and the ugly – and where next? Richard Davison, former Olympic dressage rider and World Horse Welfare Trustee
10:40am – What is the deal with these Gypsy cobs? Andrea Betteridge, Founder of the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association
11:50am – Seismic shifts? A perspective on Brexit – Tim Collins CBE
12:00pm – Charities, trust and the broad horizon ahead: Joe Saxton, nfpSynergy
12:10pm – Q&A – see above to find out how to get involved
12:20pm – Discussion Panel: An embarrassment of vets on ‘changing times’

Julian Rishworth, Ebony Escalona, Ben Mayes, Gemma Pearson and Sarah Coombs

Chaired by Nick Powell, Sky News Sports Editor, the discussion panel will focus on a number of key topics as outlined below:

  • The Great Yorkshire Show has adopted a relatively strict policy with regards to rider weight.  How serious an issue is it where riders are mismatched to their mounts?
  • Despite the digital revolution owners still place great trust in their vet.  Given the pivotal role vets play in enhancing equine health and welfare how can they improve communication with their clients?
  • Equine welfare charities have seen a surge in cases involving hard to reach communities over the past few years.  What more could vets be doing to meet this growing challenge?
  • Our understanding of equine behaviour has been transformed over the past few years.  Do artificial aids such as whips and spurs have a place in modern horsemanship?