“Whose opinion matters?”: Conference to navigate the horse-human partnership

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International equestrian experts are coming together to consider ‘Whose opinion matters?’ at a conference presented by World Horse Welfare.
International equestrian experts are coming together to consider ‘Whose opinion matters?’. © World Horse Welfare

Everyone in the horse world has an opinion – but who should you listen to, and is it best for the horse?

That’s the topic of the upcoming conference “Whose Opinion Matters?” hosted by international equine charity World Horse Welfare, and taking place on November 11 at the Royal Geographical Society, London.

In-person registrations close on November 1, but virtual attendees can register up to November 8.

The conference is hosting a stellar array of equestrian professionals and supporters, including royalty, members of parliament, veterinarians, and trainers, who will consider the many and complex facets of the horse-human partnership.

World Horse Welfare Chief Executive Roly Owers says the sheer volume of opinion in the horse world “can be both overwhelming and deafening”.

“ In horse sport, welfare has again sparked fierce debate in the media: from that photo of Gordon Elliot to revelations in Panorama to treatment of horses in Modern Pentathlon at the Olympics, but strong views can be found wherever horses come into contact with people. But whom should we listen to? How open are we to views that challenge our own way of seeing?  And when – if ever – should opinion overrule fact?”

How we manage and use horses has developed as understanding has increased, but some aspects of equestrianism are also entrenched in tradition. The line-up of speakers will explore this complex and evolving relationship and consider why it can be difficult to find and recognise the right advice and sources of information.

Speakers include:

  • Pammy Hutton, Dressage rider and trainer on ‘The powerful role of opinion in equestrianism’
  • Dr Monique Eloit, Director-General of the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) on ‘The importance of evidence in animal health and welfare’
  • Ed Chamberlin, ITV Racing Lead Presenter on ‘The media and opinion’
  • Jordan Headspeath, former World Horse Welfare Groom on ‘When opinion runs riot’
  • Charlie Unwin, a leading performance psychologist and mental coach on ‘Knowing your own mind’

The live discussion panel features representatives from a diverse cross-section of the equestrian world: well-known DJ and horse-owner Sara Cox; veterinary surgeon and MP for Penrith and The Border, Dr Neil Hudson; Camie Heleski, Equine Lecturer at the University of Kentucky; Mariano Hernandez-Gil from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Chris Tufnell, Vet and World Horse Welfare Trustee. The panel will consider the points raised in the morning’s sessions and take questions from the audience.

The charity’s President, Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, will provide her views at 1.25pm and the conference will run until 3pm.

The conference is being sponsored by Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, and is also supported by the Horseracing Betting Levy Board and MSD Animal Health.

» Register for the conference starting at 9.45am (GMT) on November 11

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