Horse Welfare Protocol

The Australian Horse Welfare Protocol delivers a broad horse welfare position for Australia, providing clarity and direction through committing signatories to a set of principles and reviews.

Eligible horse recreation, sport, breeding or other horse industry pursuit or interest organisations, animal welfare agencies, government or recognised equine educational or research organisations, located within Australian territories, are invited to become a signatory.


The Australian Horse Industry Council (AHIC) is a participant organisation in the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) along with other national horse organisations, including the Australian Racing Board, Harness Racing Australia and Equestrian Australia.

Horse industry stakeholders are working with Animal Health Australia (AHA)towards development of Horse Welfare Standards and Guidelines, which is a strategic goal in the AAWS.

Early in 2011, Dr Mike Bond CEO Animal Health Australia, briefed the AHIC Industry Advisory Committee. The key message related to the lack of progress on the development of Horse Welfare Standards & Guidelines, a goal of the AAWS.

A collaborative decision of the group decided to progress horse welfare through development of an Australian Horse Welfare Protocol (AHWP), based on a similar model achieved in the UK. Following a process of adaptation, review by expert opinion and a consultation process the AHWP was finalised in August 2011.

About the Protocol

It is acknowledged that horse organisations have different skill bases amongst their members, a varied range of resources, will each have a differing financial status and core business focus. The Australian Horse Welfare Protocol provides an opportunity to sign up to eight foundation principles which primarily seek from organisations a commitment to the continuous improvement model. The AHW Protocol will also support a pathway to achieving the AAWS Horse Welfare Standards & Guidelines.

Annexure A contains minimum horse care and welfare standards and guidelines, with each further annexure providing useful contacts and links to assist organisations to share information related to horse welfare with members. It is proposed that each annexure will be reviewed annually.

The AHW Protocol signatories will be invited to renew periodically, after each annual review process.

The Protocol is “owned” by the signatories and as such signatories have opportunity to provide comment, review and input into what may be accepted each year through the annual review process.

The Australian Horse Industry Council acts in an administration role only.

How to Become a Signatory

An organisation is eligible to sign up if it is:

  • A legal entity
  • Has the core purpose of the organisation to support horse recreation, sport, breeding or other horse industry pursuit or interest, or is an animal welfare organisation, a government agency or recognised equine educational or research organisation located within Australian territories.
  • A business servicing horse owners
  • Has formally recorded Minutes of meetings, or other recognised records. Dated records or letters need to state that the organisation supports the Australian Horse Welfare Protocol. The records will serve as a record should an enquiry be made.

Step 1: Download the Protocol here

Step 2: Complete the certificate - download the AHWP Certificate here in pdf or here has a word document.

Step 3: Sign, scan and send a copy of the certificate to:

Step 4: Display your certificate once an acceptance notification has been received.

On review of meeting the eligibility criteria, organisations will be listed on the AHWP signatory list. This list validates currency of any certificate. The list will be posted periodically on the AAWS website and

How to provide input for the annual review

Feedback, suggestions, notification of new research to consider or ideas for amendments can be accepted at any time. Submissions, containing your name, organisation and full contact details can be sent to Please ensure an acknowledgement receipt is received.

Additional Resources

The AHIC IAC committee has developed a Pocket Guide for Horse Organisations & Clubs – Horse Welfare. It will help organisations on their pathway to continuously improve governance and operations in relation to horse welfare.

General Inquiries

Australian Horse Welfare Protocol Administrator

Australian Horse Industry Council