Heart for horses

Marijke Akkerman © DigiShots

We all thoroughly enjoyed Indoor Friesland in the past month. A fantastic event that has finally returned to the WTC Expo in Leeuwarden after a fourteen-year absence. It’s so great that there are companies to make this possible and that there were people to man the Board and put their backs into it. The Friesian horses and the wonderful ambiance have given us so much pleasure. And particularly in these last few years it is something we have all so thoroughly missed. And above all, it makes us eagerly look forward to the Stallion Inspection in January, finally after three years a hall filled to the rafters with spectators. Events like this connect people and provide inspiration for equestrian sports and breeders. But unfortunately there was a small group of people who chose to disrupt the event by venting ‘their opinion’ about animal welfare. Naturally, every person is entitled to their own opinion but expressing opinions must to be done in a fair way.

The KFPS is part of the the working party of the Sectorraad Paarden (Equine Sector Council, ed.) and together we discuss topics like framing of the equestrian sport by animal welfare parties. These activist parties, who often thank their existence to sponsoring, tend to manipulate facts, which affects the people in professional husbandry as well as amateur horse lovers. Nowadays animal welfare appears to be more important than human welfare. In the Sectorraad the studbooks join forces with every studbook devising their own animal welfare policy plan. The KFPS catches the eye with our attitude of common sense that made us tackle many issues in the past and prompts us to look ahead. Animals have to be free from hunger and thirst, from discomfort, pain, injury or disease. Nor should they suffer from anxiety or chronic stress and must be able to express their natural behaviour. That feels like normal to us and we do it out of love for the horse. In the past year we became stricter in maintaining the rules involved in grooming and when temperatures are too high we no longer go ahead with events or we adjust the time schedule. Everyone knows that horses that are feeling well perform better in the sport or at inspections, but that also applies to breeding because looking well after your horse makes for better fertility.

When I’m enjoying horse sports in a jam-packed WTC I see happy horses brimming with energy and with ears pricked forward. The sport triggered many words of praise, as well as fine and good stories in the newspapers and on Social Media. This is how we present a fair picture to the general public, subject to the motto ‘be good and tell it’. After such a fine evening in Leeuwarden it is no problem at all to promote all these matters.

Marijke Akkerman

Director KFPS

 

 

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