Commitment to Ethical Training and Animal Welfare

The United States Working Equitation Association (USAWEA) is fully committed to compliance with both the letter and the spirit of all Human Safety, Health and Welfare laws as well as Animal Welfare laws and all the regulations stemming from these laws.

1. USAWEA accepts the FEI Code of Conduct and expects all those involved in this equestrian sport to acknowledge and accept that at all times the welfare of the horse and all animals at the competition must be paramount and must never be subordinated to competitors’ or commercial pressures.

2. At all stages during the preparation and training of competition horses, welfare must take precedence over all other demands; this implies the highest standard in horse management, training methods, farrier care, tack use and transportation.

3. Horses and competitors must be fit, competent and in good health to safely compete at Working Equitation events. This includes medication and/or surgical procedures which might compromise welfare or safety. Mares over 6 months pregnant should not be competed.

4. USAWEA affirms that equestrian events must not prejudice horse welfare. Attention must focus on arenas, ground surfaces, weather conditions, stabling, site safety and the fitness of the horse for competition. The miss-use of natural or artificial aids is not tolerated.

5. It is the responsibility of the owner/exhibitor to ensure that horses receive proper attention before, during and after their participation in Working Equitation Events. This embraces skilful equitation, effective equine husbandry, proper veterinary intervention, and adequate care at all times.

6. USAWEA  encourages all involved in equestrian sports to acquire the highest level of competence in their respective areas of expertise.

In deference to this Code of Conduct, all equestrian performances at USAWEA events aspires to reflect best practice in the care of all stock and the ethical training of all horses which compete. It is necessary that the horse exhibits a quality of posture and performance that accurately reflects a systematic program of training, appropriate to its age and peer standard in order that it may ultimately demonstrate its genetic potential. That being said, all horses in stables, at practice, in warm-up and competition must exhibit positive and social behavior that is the a reflection of:

a. Freedom from hunger and thirst
b. Freedom from discomfort
c. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
d. Freedom to express normal behavior
e. Freedom from fear and distress

USAWEA is committed to making every reasonable effort to avoid and prevent accidents and to protect the welfare of not only the horses but all animals and persons involved.

To achieve this:

  •  USAWEA applies a zero tolerance policy to any evidential transgressions of animal welfare standards for any animals (no matter what species) present at the competition.
  • Exhibitors must accept primary responsibility for the welfare of their own stock and the health and safety of themselves and those around them.
  • While many of those entrusted with show duties are volunteers, this in no way diminishes their individual or collective responsibilities or that of the show committee in support of them.
  • All those who work with or among horses should appreciate the implicit risks involved and exercise a duty to act with due consideration for the welfare, health and safety of all 
  • Everyone has a duty to report any potentially unsafe situation, dangerous activity or accident immediately to the show management and, where possible and appropriate, react to reduce or remedy the attendant risk.
  • During events all stables, exercise areas and competition arenas should have superivision/visual surveillance from time to time to monitor that the  commitment to animal welfare is adhered to.

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