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Our Conference

Our 2023 Conference was held on Thursday 9th November in-person in London and online.

Our 2023 Conference was held on Thursday 9th November in-person in London and online.

World Horse Welfare Annual Conference 2023 – ‘Horses and the Environment: Friend or Foe?’

Kindly sponsored by The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust

Horses evolved – as we all did – in nature, and then we domesticated them and bred them according to our needs, and used them to help build the civilisations, conurbations and cultures we have today. But with what impact on the environment? When do horses – and how we involve them in society today – benefit the environment, and when do we put it at risk? Can a horse be both nature’s friend and a foe?  Is there a link between good welfare and a healthy environment? And what is our role in striving to ensure our involvement with horses benefits the planet?


Welcome Dr Neil Hudson MP, Conference Chair 

Sponsor’s Introduction Nigel Payne, Trustee, The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust 

Opening remarks Michael Baines, Chairman, World Horse Welfare 

Keynote Roly Owers, Chief Executive, World Horse Welfare 

Addressing the environmental impact of horse sport Ruth Dancer, Director, White Griffin 

Horses, donkeys and building resilience to climate change in Senegal Dr Alfonse Sene, Director of Equine Development, Senegal Ministry of Livestock and Animal Production 

Horses and environmental policy: a view from Ireland Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Agriculture with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity, Ireland 


 Charity in Action

Wicken Fen: horses as a landscape-scale conservation grazing tool Carol Laidlaw, Conservation Grazing Ranger of Wicken Fen, National Trust 

Increasing Biodiversity at the yard-scale: challenges and benefits Jenny Rogers, Manager and Trustee, Ash Rescue Centre


Discussion Panel 

Closing address Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President, World Horse Welfare

Summing up Roly Owers, Chief Executive, World Horse Welfare 

Meet our speakers and panelists

Conference Chair – Dr Neil Hudson MP MA VetMB PhD DEIM DipVetClinStud PFHEA FRCVSMP 

Dr Neil Hudson is a veterinary surgeon who has worked in mixed practice in the UK and Australia. Neil has a PhD in Equine Gastroenterology and is an RCVS Diplomate in Equine Internal Medicine (DEIM).

Neil is a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA).

In 2019 Neil was elected as a Member of Parliament and is the only vet in the House of Commons. He sits on the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA)  Select Committee and has instigated Inquiries on subjects including Companion Animal Welfare, Rural Mental Health and Food Security. Neil is Vice-Chair of the APPG for Animal Welfare and member of the APPG for the Horse.

Neil is a member of BEVA and in 2021 was nominated by members as one of the BEVA 60 Faces Initiative. In 2021/22 Neil was a member of the BHA Steering Group on the use of the whip in horse racing. 

Ruth Dancer

Ruth Dancer is a Director at environmental sustainability consultancy White Griffin, which specialises in equestrianism and horse racing.

Ruth was formerly a commercial operations specialist at some of the best known sporting events and venues in the world, including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, England Rugby World Cup 2015, Formula 1 Bahrain, Wembley Stadium and Goodwood.

Ruth retrained in 2016 to follow her passion for the environment and has since then been instrumental in driving the sustainability agenda in the sector, with work including the creation of the BHA Environmental Sustainability report, York Racecourse’s leading environmental strategy and the 2023 BEF and Horse Sport Ireland 2023 report.    

Senator Pippa Hackett 

Senator Pippa Hackett is Minister of State for Agriculture with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity. She was appointed to this role in June 2020, only the third senator in the history of the state to be elevated to Cabinet.  

Senator Hackett was elected to the Agricultural Panel of Seanad Éireann in a by-election on 1 November 2019 and was re-elected in 2020.  She is also a former member of Offaly County Council. 

She holds a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Essex, a postgraduate diploma from University College Dublin, and a PhD from the University of Limerick. 

Minister Hackett has four children and along with her husband Mark, she runs a farm (Moat House Farm) near Tullamore in Co Offaly.  They produce organic beef and sheep, while they also have some bloodstock and forestry.  

Moat House Farm is situated on the site of a 12th century Norman motte and bailey identified on the ordnance survey map as “The Moat of Down”, hence the business name. 

Dr Alphonse Sene

Dr Alphonse Sene is Director of Equine Development, Ministry of Livestock and Animal Production in Senegal. He studied veterinary medicine at the Ecole Inter-Etats des Sciences et Medecine Veterinaires (EISMV), University Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar and qualified in 2002. 

Dr Sene joined the Ministry of Livestock and Animal Production in 2005 as Stud Supervisor and the Head of Equestrian activities division in 2011. In June 2019 he became the Director of Equine Development. He is involved in many aspects of equine development, welfare and policy in Senegal, as well the technical and administrative management of stud farms, the monitoring, and control of horse racing.

Dr Sene held the position of Vice President in charge of veterinary matters of the National Horse Racing Management Committee of Senegal between 2010 to 2018 and is the Animal Doping Focal Point of the National Anti-Doping Organisation of Senegal. He is a long-time supporter of World Horse Welfare’s equine development projects in Senegal.

Carol Laidlaw
Carol Laidlaw

Carol Laidlaw is a Lead Grazing Ranger working for the National Trust at one of Britain’s oldest and most bio-diverse nature reserves, Wicken Fen in East Anglia. Joining the Wicken team in 2001, Carol has managed the growth and establishment of the conservation grazing herds there. The herds of free-living horses and cattle are an integral part of Wicken’s landscape scale nature recovery project, which was started in 1999. Her role typically focuses on the welfare and upkeep of the animals, but additionally includes some practical conservation, consultancy work and engagement.

Carol has also completed an MPhil, researching the land-use, maintenance behaviours and social structures of the horses and cattle at Wicken.

Jenny Rogers standing close to a black horse in a field with her hand on the horse's face
Jenny Rogers

Jenny Rogers is Manager and Trustee of Ash Rescue Centre which cares for elderly rescue horses, runs a nature conservation site and rehabs wildlife. Jenny gained an HND in Amenity Horticulture and qualified as an Equine Herbalist at the NCTM. Having worked mainly in the creation of Wildflower meadows and sustainable gardens.

With 35 years of experience with horses, observing, studying and doing a variety of courses and clinics on everything from herd behaviours to land management, it is great to bring this practical knowledge into Ash Rescue Centre.

Ten years ago she began a small project of combining the needs of 10 elderly horses, with that of sustaining the natural environment that was essential to ensuring wildlife. Given the complexities of the differing needs of wildlife and domesticated horses many believed at the time this was not possible.

Ten years later Ash Rescue Centre stands proudly as an example of how this can be achieved. The charity currently cares for 32 elderly and very healthy domesticated horses on 100 acres, but perhaps more importantly Ash Rescue Centre now has a diverse and growing wildlife population and an environment suitable for medicinal plants to grow and flourish.

Nick Powell, Sky Sports TV presenter
Discussion Panel Chair – Nick Powell

Nick Powell is a double Royal Television Society (RTS) award winner. Nick is a Sky Sports News presenter and the Sky News Sports Editor. He joined Sky from Yorkshire Television in 1996.

With his Grand National coverage spanning two decades, Nick has an eye for racing but enjoys most sports. He studied Russian and German at Bradford University before completing a journalism post-grad at Cardiff.

De-Vos-Ingmar, President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale
Ingmar de Vos

President, of the FEI, Ingmar de Vos is a Belgian native and fluent in Dutch, English and French, Ingmar De Vos holds Masters degrees in political science, international relations and European law.

Having started his career as an advisor to the Belgian Senate, De Vos has since amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience across the equestrian sector, having held senior roles in the administration, governance and management of equestrian sport at national, regional and international level for over 30 years, including Secretary General at the Belgian Equestrian Federation, at the European Equestrian Federation which he co-founded, and at the FEI prior to being elected the 13th FEI President on 14 December 2014. He is currently in his third and final term, having run uncontested in 2018 and 2022.

De Vos is only the fourth FEI President to become an IOC Member and under his leadership, the FEI as an organisation has earned a strong standing in the Olympic community for its sustainability initiatives, advancing animal welfare, championing gender diversity, equality and inclusion, as well as promoting youth sport.

David Rendle BVSc MVM CertEM(IntMed) DipECEIM FRCVS

David Rendle is a specialist in Equine Internal Medicine who after 20 years in equine practice, now works as an independent consultant in equine medicine and therapeutics.

He is the immediate Past President of The British Equine Veterinary Association, chair of BEVAs Health and Medicines committee and was involved in the establishment of BEVA’s own sustainability working group.

He has particular interests in sustainable parasite control and antimicrobial stewardship. He also lives and works on a 200 acre upland farm on the edge of Exmoor National Park where he keeps a flock of Dorset sheep in addition to 2 horses and is implementing a number of ecological and regenerative farming initiatives. 

Thumbnail image of Agata Rzekęć
Agata Rzekęć

Agata is an agronomy engineer, working for the French Institute for Horse and Riding since 2019. Her work focuses on the environment and the sustainable development of the equine sector, which covers a wide field: resource management, adaptation of the sector to climate change, climate change mitigation, resilience, and more. As part of this, Agata has worked on an environmental footprint calculator adapted to equine farms, allowing equine owners to know their greenhouse emissions in order to reduce them, but also to raise awareness among the public.

Her engineering thesis concerned the environmental assets of equines, and she has continued working on this subject with the European Horse Network since, resulting in a number of publications on the green assets of equines. Since presenting her work at the first meeting of the European Parliament’s horse group in 2019 in Brussels she has continued to run various awareness-raising campaigns, most recently producing three videos with three State Studs: Haras du Pin in France, Marbach State Stud in Germany and Lipica State Stud in Slovenia.

Jenny Fernando

Jenny joined World Horse Welfare in 2019 as the Director of Finance and Administration.  She is a Chartered Accountant with more than 15 years experience working with and within the charity sector, holding various roles at Diabetes UK, VSO and Breast Cancer Care. 

Currently leading on World Horse Welfare’s sustainability initiatives, Jenny chairs the Charity’s Environmental Impact Working Group, whose initiatives to date include calculating and monitoring the Charity’s overall carbon footprint, bringing on board electric vehicles and increasing tree and hedge planting at the farms.  The interplay of equine, human and environmental welfare is a particular interest of hers. 

Jenny has a life long love of horses and owns a chestnut gelding called Sox who she explores the Norfolk countryside with. 

Sponsors and supporters

We would like to thank our headline sponsor, The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, and our supporters, the Horserace Betting Levy Board and Equine Register.

Conférence mondiale sur le bien-être des chevaux 2023

Les chevaux et l’environnement : amis ou ennemis ?

Jeudi 9 novembre 9h45 GMT

La conférence mondiale sur le bien-être des chevaux aura lieu le jeudi 9 novembre 9h45 GMT. Il s’agira d’un événement hybride (en présentiel à Londres et en virtuel), au cours duquel nous explorerons la question : « Les chevaux et l’environnement : amis ou ennemis ? ». Nous restons très reconnaissants à la Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust pour leur parrainage continu de notre conférence annuelle.

Un enregistrement de la Conférence en anglais sera disponible immédiatement après l’événement, et des versions sous-titrées en français et en espagnol seront disponibles peu de temps après.

Thème : Les chevaux et l’environnement : amis ou ennemis ?

Tout comme nous, les chevaux ont d’abord évolué dans la nature, puis nous les avons domestiqués et élevés selon nos besoins, les utilisant pour contribuer à la construction des civilisations, des agglomérations et des cultures que nous connaissons aujourd’hui. Mais quel impact ont-ils sur l’environnement ? Dans quelles circonstances les chevaux, et la manière dont nous les intégrons dans la société actuelle, profitent-ils à l’environnement, et quand le mettons-nous en péril ? Un cheval peut-il être à la fois l’ami et l’ennemi de la nature ? Existe-t-il un lien entre le bien-être des chevaux et un environnement sain ? Et quel est notre rôle dans nos efforts visant à garantir que notre implication auprès des chevaux profite à la planète ?

Nous sommes impatients d’explorer ces questions avec une liste exceptionnelle d’intervenants et de panélistes.

Parmi les intervenants figurent les personnalités suivantes :

  • Roly Owers, directeur général, World Horse Welfare
  • Ruth Dancer, réalisatrice, White Griffin
  • Dr Alfonse Sene, Directeur du Développement Équin, Ministère de l’Agriculture du Sénégal
  • Sénatrice Pippa Hackett, ministre d’État à l’Agriculture chargée de l’utilisation des terres et de la biodiversité, Irlande
  • Carol Laidlaw, gardienne des pâturages de conservation de Wickham Fen, National Trust
  • Jenny Rogers, propriétaire, Ash Rescue Centre
  • Son Altesse Royale la Princesse Royale, Présidente de World Horse Welfare

Groupe de discussion

Le groupe de discussion examinera les points soulevés lors des séances du matin et répondra aux questions du public.

Nous aimerions remercier notre principal sponsor, The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, et nos partenaires, le Horseracing Betting Levy Board (Conseil de la Taxe sur les Paris Hippiques) et l’Équine Register.

World Horse Welfare Conferencia 2023

Los caballos y el medio ambiente: ¿amigos o enemigos?

Jueves 9 de noviembre 9:45 GMT

La Conferencia de World Horse Welfare tendrá lugar el jueves día 9 de noviembre 9:45 GMT. Será un evento híbrido (en persona en Londres y virtual) en el que se explorará la pregunta ‘Los caballos y el medio ambiente: ¿amigos o enemigos?’. Seguimos muy agradecidos con la Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust por su continuo patrocinio de nuestra Conferencia Anual.

La grabación de la Conferencia en inglés estará disponible inmediatamente después del evento, y poco después estarán disponibles versiones con subtítulos en francés y español.

Tema: Los caballos y el medio ambiente: ¿amigos o enemigos?

Los caballos evolucionaron – como todos nosotros – en la naturaleza, y luego los domesticamos y criamos según nuestras necesidades, y los utilizamos para ayudar a construir las civilizaciones, las conurbaciones y las culturas que tenemos hoy. ¿Pero con qué impacto en el medio ambiente? ¿Cuándo benefician los caballos (y cómo los involucramos en la sociedad actual) al medio ambiente y cuándo lo ponemos en riesgo? ¿Puede un caballo ser al mismo tiempo amigo y enemigo de la naturaleza? ¿Existe un vínculo entre un buen bienestar y un medio ambiente saludable? ¿Y cuál es nuestro papel a la hora de esforzarnos por garantizar que nuestra implicación con los caballos beneficie al planeta?

Esperamos explorar estos temas con un destacado grupo de ponentes y panelistas.

Los ponentes incluyen:

  • Roly Owers, Director Ejecutivo, World Horse Welfare
  • Ruth Dancer, Director, White Griffin
  • Dr Alfonse Sene, Director de Desarrollo Equino, Ministerio de Agricultura de Senegal
  • Senadora Pippa Hackett, Ministra de Estado de Agricultura responsable del en el Uso de la Tierra y la Biodiversidad, Irlanda
  • Carol Laidlaw, guardabosques de pastoreo de conservación de Wickham Fen, National Trust
  • Jenny Rogers, propietaria del Ash Rescue Centre
  • Su Alteza Real la Princesa Real, Presidenta de World Horse Welfare

Panel de discusión

El panel revisará los puntos planteados en las sesiones de la mañana y responderá las preguntas de la audiencia.

Nos gustaría agradecer a nuestro patrocinador principal, The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, y a nuestros patrocinadores, Horserace Betting Levy Board y Equine Register.

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