September 17th is to be designated World Horse Day from next year in a new initiative by the World Horse Welfare organisation which will be supported by the FEI, it was announced yesterday.

WHW Chief Executive Roly Owers outlined the move at the FEI General Assembly in Montevideo. “We will celebrate the first World Horse Day at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon next year, launching a joint campaign to create a day as a celebration of the importance, contributions and societal value of horses,” he said.

World Horse Day will be a day of tribute to all horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. The FEI and WHW will call on all national federations to assist in spreading the word about the initiative.

“Horses are the most versatile of all animals that humans have ever domesticated, and have contributed, and still contribute, more to civilisation, society and economies than any other animal,” Mr. Owers continued.

“The more the world realises how useful, intrinsic and relevant horses are to all of our lives, the more they will understand that horses do not just belong in fields, but are celebrated and cherished for their multitude of partnerships with mankind. That will help show the passion of equestrianism for this incredible, unique and much loved animal.”

Also at the assembly, Longines announced its support for the retraining of retired racehorses for equestrian competition in countries where access to suitable horses was limited, as part of the FEI Solidarity programme.