The Health and Welfare of our Horses

For the love. Of the horse. Of the sport. Of family.

Reining is a sport that allows riders of all ages to unite and share their love of and devotion to the horse. They're driven by the passion they feel for these kind, beautiful four-legged athletes. To compete successfully in Reining, our horses must be in excellent health and tip-top condition. They are cared for and treated as a member of the family, and that relationship is the essence of our involvement in Reining.

The NRHA supports the rights of horse owners to manage their personal property and trainers to manage the horses entrusted in their care in their best interests with the caveat that their horses are always treated humanely and with dignity, respect and compassion.

To that end, NRHA is dedicated to the following:
  1. At all times, the welfare of the horse must be considered paramount.
  2. The well being of the horse shall be considered above the demands of the breeders, trainer, riders, owner, dealers, organizers, sponsors or officials.
  3. All handling and veterinary treatment must ensure the health and welfare of the horse.
  4. The highest standards of nutrition, health, sanitation and safety shall be encouraged at all times.
  5. All riding and training methods must take into account the animals well being and therefore must not include any technique or practice considered by the NRHA to be abusive.
  6. NRHA approved shows should establish adequate controls to protect the welfare of the horse.
Show Stewards Program
The NRHA Board of Directors approved the Show Stewards Program at its August 2009 meeting to observe the stable and schooling areas to ensure that the grounds are safe and to monitor these areas to ensure that proper animal welfare practices are being used by all exhibitors. NRHA Show Stewards serve as liaisons between exhibitors, show management officials and judges. In addition, Stewards will field any complaints of unsportsmanlike conduct, abuse or reports of rule violations, etc. Find more information in the Stewards Program here.

Animal Welfare and Medications
The NRHA Board of Directors voted to approve an Animal Welfare and Medications rule in July 2011, including a multi-phase testing and research policy. Due to the overwhelming response from the NRHA membership throughout a series of Town Talks, the Board agreed this course of action is in the best interest of the reining horse and the organization as a whole. The information gathered in the multi-phase research process will provide a solid foundation for the future.The Animal Welfare and Medications Rule can be found in the NRHA Handbook.

NRHA Policy 11-07-27: Animal Welfare & Medications Policy (for areas excluding Europe)
NRHA Policy 12-11-36: NRHA European Region Animal Welfare and Medications Policy
Medications Report Form
Medications Time/Dosage Recommendations
Example List of Forbidden Substances
Example Classification of Substances

Welfare Resources
Using Protective Leg Equipment

Horse Health Resources
American Association of Equine Practitioners

News on Legislative Issues
American Horse Council
Animal Welfare Council