Qualification “a huge step forward” in ensuring local authority officers have the knowledge and confidence to approach equine welfare issues. Photo by George Donnelly. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Horse Trust and Lantra Awards have launched a new qualification for the equine welfare sector.

The Level 3 Diploma in Equine Legislation, Welfare and Field Skills is aimed at people employed by or volunteering for organisations that play a role in:

  • investigating allegations of welfare compromise
  • enforcing welfare and other equine specific legislation
  • responding to situations where equids are found in distress or straying, abandoned or fly-grazed
  • caring for and rehabilitating equids experiencing welfare compromise

People undertaking welfare roles in equine organisations could previously not achieve a regulated qualification relevant to their role. This qualification enables those achieving it to demonstrate they are able to perform their role professionally, safely and to the required industry standard.


The diploma covers three core subject areas:

  • legislation
  • welfare assessment
  • handling

There are four pathways to choose from, each containing a number of optional units that enable the learner to tailor the qualification to their role.

Liane Preshaw, The Horse Trust’s director of knowledge and skills, said: “We are thrilled the qualification has been now been launched.

“The diploma units are structured to reflect current evidence, not only on subjects such as worming and the nutritional management of severely malnourished equids, but also behaviour and how horses learn, and how this influences how we should handle them.”

The qualification was developed in consultation with statutory organisations, veterinary surgeons, nutritionists, equine behaviourists and animal and equine welfare charities.


As one of its charitable outputs, The Horse Trust will offer bursaries to support those organisations that may struggle to find the funding to put their employees or volunteers through the qualification.

Carolyn Madgwick, senior trading standards officer (animal health), said: “This qualification will be a huge step forward to ensure local authority officers have the knowledge and confidence to approach equine welfare issues, an area where training has in the past been very limited.

“It will also ensure the numerous agencies that may be jointly involved in cases concerning large numbers of equines are aware of their responsibilities, which in turn will result in precise, consistent and comprehensive prosecution reports.”

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