Minimum Care Standards for Horses

Minimum care standards describe just that: the very minimum care horses require. Here’s how they can help law enforcement personnel, horse owners, and prospective owners alike.
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minimum care standards for horses
Minimum care standards are science-based guidelines that describe just that: the very minimum care horses require, including sufficient food and water, appropriate veterinary and hoof care, a safe space to move, fresh air, and shelter or protection from weather. | Photo: iStock

Every year, animal control officers respond to countless tips alleging horse maltreatment. In such cases, authorities evaluate the horses and their living scenarios based on the state’s minimum horse care standards. Here’s a closer look at what these minimum standards entail and how they can help law enforcement personnel, horse owners, and prospective owners alike.

Just the Basics

Minimum care standards aren’t laws—those must be written into the state’s criminal code after they’re introduced, reviewed, and passed by the state legislature and signed into effect by the governor. Rather, they’re horse care guidelines established by industry members.

“For example, when the Maryland minimum standards were created many years ago, we brought together the entire equine community, including the Maryland Horse Council, horse welfare organizations, and veterinarians,” said DeEtte Hillman, equine programs director for Days End Farm Horse Rescue, in Woodbine, Maryland

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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