The Long Riders' Guild

World Horse Welfare CEO asked to reject funds raised from Mongol race

Mr. Roly Owers, when you were named Chief Executive of the influential World Horse Welfare charity, you agreed to extend what had previously been a British mission to protect the horse into an international effort. As you well know, horses enrich our lives by giving everything and asking for nothing in return.

“We are an international charity dedicated to caring for horses,” your website declares and goes on to state, “In total, we invest around £7.5 million a year in our work and make it our business to know about horses, both as sport and leisure animals, as well as working beasts.”

It is indeed ironic then that a race, which may turn out to be the world’s biggest horse-abusing event, is being used as an excuse to raise funds for your organization.

One of the contestants in the non-sanctioned endurance race in Mongolia wrote that she is raising funds fora charity a bit closer to home. The Cart Horse Protection Association, in association with The International League for the Protection of Horses, an incredible initiative that not only rescues and cares for horses found in diabolical conditions, but also educates cart horse owners on how to better care for their animals."

While it may be that neither you, Mr. Owers, nor any of the officers of the Cart Horse Protection Association, are aware of how your organization’s reputation have been attached to this highly debateable race, nevertheless it might be deemed an act of cynicism if either foundation was seen to accept funds from such an event.

Regardless of what discipline or mounted activity we prefer, all riders know that we can never compromise our vigilance when it comes to the care and welfare of our horses. There is no room for ethical ambivalence when faced with an ethical equestrian emergency of this magnitude. As someone who has not only ridden most of your life, but ventured overseas to ride in Jordan, the Guild is confident that you will direct your communications officer to issue a public statement confirming that the World Horse Welfare organization will strengthen its social responsibilities by not accepting any funds associated with the Mongol derby.

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