Why we care about the importance of the equine welfare domains
At Agria we want the very best for all animals. We’re unique – not simply because we’re the only UK provider of equine insurance offering lifetime cover – but because our caring culture is part of our DNA. Horses deserve the highest quality care, every day, not just when things go wrong. This is why Agria champions the ‘Five Domains’ of equine welfare, based on the Animal Welfare Act 2006. These extend beyond the basics required for a horse’s physical wellbeing but provide for positive mental health, helping to protect your partnership and special bond for life.
Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare
“World Horse Welfare has been spreading the educational word on welfare for almost a century, since our founder Ada Cole established us a campaigning charity focused on improving the welfare of horses within the horse-human relationship.
“The ‘Five Domains’ model, at the heart of Agria’s campaign, recognises that quality of life for any animal depends on their physical AND mental wellbeing. So, this means protecting horses and ponies from negatives, such as hunger, thirst and pain, but also giving them plenty of positive experiences. These are often summarised as the ‘Three Fs’: freedom, friends and forage.
“We applaud Agria for its focus on guiding horse owners on what their horses need to live well. It’s always good to meet an equine business that has horse care at its heart.”
What are the equine welfare pillars?
A horse’s ability to behave like a horse is crucial to its wellbeing. This can be broken down into how horses interact with humans, other animals and the environment. They are herd animals that enjoy company, mutually grooming, feeing safe in the company of others and having the freedom to run.
Providing a safe and comfortable home for horses is very important. They need to feel safe, comfortable and happy. A lack of space, proximity to hazards and an inability to manage temperature affects horses physically and mentally.
At its most basic level, health is being free from injury or illness. A healthy horse is more likely to be a happy horse, whereas an animal in poor physical condition may also be mentally distressed.
A physical ‘domain’ that is necessary for health and growth. A hungry or thirsty horse could experience a range of emotions including stress. Understanding a horse’s nutritional requirements is essential to its care; don’t forget feeing a horse more than it needs can also have welfare implications.
Just like humans, horses have mental health needs. It is important we recognise this and learn how to interpret signs of anger and pain, as well as relaxation and happiness.
Vicki Wentworth, Managing Director of Agria Pet Insurance
Read more on welfare for your horses
The benefits of giving your horse some time off
Why horse owners need to be aware of Sycamore and Acorn Poisoning