PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Dadswell

Equestrian Sports New Zealand has teamed up with IRT New Zealand in a partnership that aims to put equine welfare at the forefront of its focus.

The partnership between the sports organisation and the international horse carrier will see both organisations working together to develop tools and resources that will support ongoing education around ensuring a focus on a ‘good life for the horse’. 

While the partnership takes an holistic approach that incorporates the wider equestrian sector, it also will build on initiatives already undertaken by ESNZ within the competitive disciplines of eventing, jumping, dressage, endurance and para-equestrian.  This includes supporting a number of key events on the equestrian calendar, demonstrating best practice and results for equine athletes, both horse and human.

The announcement comes at a time when equine welfare is increasingly becoming a focus worldwide as public awareness of the treatment and well-being of horses continues to increase.  IRT has been transporting horses globally for 50 years, working closely with government bodies and key industry stakeholders, to streamline the transportation process, reducing the travel time, stress and risk associated with flying horses around the globe.   

IRT has flown every New Zealand Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Team to the Olympic Games.  It has also played an integral role in the establishment of shuttle stallion shipments for dual hemisphere breeding that has enhanced the development of strong international bloodlines within New Zealand’s equine breeding industries. 

IRT’s Managing Director Richard Cole says that the partnership with ESNZ provides a synergy built on the expertise of both organisations.

“Over the past month or so we have had some fantastic discussions with ESNZ CEO Julian Bowden and from these, the idea of becoming the Official Welfare Partner evolved.

“Horse welfare is something that we hold in the highest regard at IRT when we are entrusted to transport horses to all corners of the globe. We have been industry leaders in this area and we look forward to assisting ESNZ achieve some excellent outcomes in this space,” says Richard Cole.

Equestrian Sports New Zealand Chief Executive Julian Bowden says he is pleased to partner with an organisation that has such a strong track record of knowledge and expertise around the management of equine well-being.

“We are excited about the opportunity to develop our Horse Welfare programme with the support of IRT. The well-being of the horse is a key focus for the team at IRT and this focus means we have fantastic alignment with regards to the outcomes we are aiming to achieve. We look forward to developing this partnership with the Richard and his team at IRT,” says Julian.

The partnership builds on a continuing relationship between ESNZ and IRT, that has directly supported New Zealand equestrians competing internationally and is now being broadened to benefit the wider equestrian community.