New guide promotes good horse care

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A set of principles on the care of all horses across the state is open for public consultation.

On a recent visit to Ascot to meet trainer Luke Fernie and one of his stable favourites Wild Belle (pictured above), Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the Standards and Guidelines for the Health and Welfare of Horses in Western Australia aimed to enhance horse welfare.

“These proposed standards and guidelines have been developed in consultation with experts in horse management, welfare, and veterinary science to help ensure all animals receive appropriate husbandry and care,” she said.

“We welcome the help of the WA community to improve the health and welfare of horses in our State.”

Racing and Wagering WA Head of Veterinary Services Dr Judith Medd said the racing sector supported and provided input to the project.

“This has the potential to raise levels of care for horses by clarifying best practice to everyone in the horse community across the state,” Judith said.

“We are proud of our high standards in racing and will consider adopting this code of practise into our rules.

“The rules of racing are effectively laws that govern the actions of all people in the sector and include regulations on the care and treatment of racing animals.”

Related: Focus on complete care for racehorses

Head of Animal Welfare Dr Anna Smet said the document promised to be a useful reference source for all people caring for horses, including those with retired racehorses.

“These new standards will help to ensure the wellbeing of horses retiring from the racetrack continues to be supported when they move on to new homes and equestrian activities,” Anna said.

“Horses have a cherished place in the lives of many West Australians, whether as working partners, living lawnmowers or paddock ornaments so a set of minimum care standards as well as guidance to protect and promote horse welfare is an important resource.”

Public consultation on the standards and guidelines is open until 19 December 2022 at More information is available by email at

Susan de Ruyter