National Welfare Code

National Welfare Code of Practice

In the summer of 2009, the AHC hosted the “The Welfare of the Horse” forum in Washington, DC. as part of the AHC’s National Issues Forum. The Forum featured speakers from segments of the horse community as varied as competition, sport, work and entertainment. Speakers and panelists discussed the many welfare and safety initiatives that various segments of the horse industry have in place or are instituting.

Many associations have undertaken studies, reviews, and initiatives that indicate their commitment to the welfare of their horses. The Welfare Code of Practice is simply a continuation of that effort and is not intended to replace or pre-empt those activities or any rules and regulations specific to a particular segment of the industry.


The AHC drafted the Welfare Code of Practice in fall of 2009. The Code outlines in generic terms what it means for an organization to be committed to the responsible breeding, training, care, use, enjoyment, transport and retirement of horses.

Organizations supporting the Code address equine welfare and responsible care: (1) by supporting a uniform Code of Practice regarding the responsible breeding, training, competing, care, use, enjoyment, health, transportation, and retirement of horses; and (2) by initiating communication with the public, the media, federal and state officials and within the horse community regarding these issues.

National Endorsements of the Welfare Code of Practice

Currently, the AHC’s Welfare Code of Practice has been adopted by fifty four (54) different national groups. They include:

  • American Association of Equine Practitioners
  • American Association of Professional Farriers
  • American Competitive Trail Horse Association
  • American Endurance Ride Conference
  • American Farriers Association
  • American Paint Horse Association
  • American Quarter Horse Association
  • American Riding Instructors Association
  • American Saddlebred Horse Association
  • American Warmblood Registry
  • Appaloosa Horse Club
  • Arabian Horse Association
  • California Professional Horsemen’s Association
  • Canandian Association of Professional Farriers
  • Certified Horsemanship Association
  • Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA)
  • EQUUS Foundation, Inc.
  • Florida Thoroughbred Breeder’s and Owner’s Association
  • Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH)
  • Harness Horsemen International
  • International Walking Horse Association
  • Kansas Horse Council
  • Kentucky Horse Council
  • Kentucky Thoroughbred Association
  • League of Agricultural and Equine Centers
  • Maryland Horse Council
  • Masters of Foxhounds Association
  • Michigan Horse Council
  • Minnesota Horse Council
  • Missouri Quarter Horse Association
  • National Cutting Horse Association
  • National HBPA, Inc.
  • National Reined Cow Horse Association
  • National Thoroughbred Racing Association
  • National Walking Horse Association
  • New York State Horse Council
  • North American Short Pony Registry
  • North American Trail Ride Conference
  • Pal-O-Mine Equestrian Center
  • Pennsylvania Equine Council
  • Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International
  • Pinto Horse Association of America
  • The Pyramid Society
  • Texas Quarter Horse Association
  • Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
  • U.S. Dressage Federation
  • U.S. Eventing Association
  • U.S. Equestrian Drill Team
  • U.S. Equestrian Federation
  • U.S. Polo Association
  • U.S. Trotting Association
  • Virginia Horse Center Foundation
  • Walking Horse Owners’ Association of America

AHC Position

The AHC encourages all members of the equine industry to support and endorse the Welfare Code of Practice as yet another indication to the public, the media, federal and state officials and the horse community that the industry “Puts the Horse First.”

View AHC’s National Welfare Code of Practice Here