As society continues to strengthen its voice for animal welfare, our use of the horse in sport and pleasure comes under more scrutiny. As an industry we must continue to investigate how horses cope with their environment so we can say they are living their best lives.

“Animal welfare means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment.”

OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code

This is a growing field of research and our researchers continue to set the bar from developing an on-farm welfare assessment for horses, understanding owners’ perceptions of horse welfare to investigating the use of various training aids. 

Merkies, KatrinaOntario Agricultural College, University of Guelph-Animal Biosciences
Coulter, KendraHuron University College at Western University - Management and Organizational Studies
Physick Sheard, PeterOntario Veterinary College, University of Guelph – Population Medicine

Areas of Equine Research

Ontario’s equine researchers investigate a wide range of issues involving horses and the horse industry. Click on a link below to see who’s working in that area.


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