General News

New Guidelines Document to help Horse Rescue Organizations

By March 6, 2017 No Comments

A new document has been released to help provide support and important information on care standards for those involved in equine rescue, retirement and adoption/rehoming facilities in the province of Ontario.

The document, “Ontario Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue, Retirement and Adoption/Rehoming Facilities” has been developed by a working committee composed of several provincial groups and associations to provide information to assist horse rescue, retirement and adoption/rehoming facilities.  The working committee, called the Ontario Equine Welfare Information Group,  included representation from Equestrian Canada, Equine Guelph, Ontario Association of Equine Practitioners (OAEP), Ontario Equestrian Federation (OEF),  Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA), Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association/Ontario Racing, Ontario Veterinary College, Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The information in the document provides important support for those wishing to provide a better life for unwanted horses by running rescue or rehoming farms or for those who are providing sanctuary or retirement places.  It includes information on nutritional management for thin or starving horses, body condition scoring, working with an equine veterinarian to identify and manage the most common issues these horses may face, and other helpful information.  It also incorporates the standards from the Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines and self-assessment guides to ensure compliance to the standards of welfare.

“Our goal in creating this document is two-fold:  to provide quality information for rescue organizations in their efforts to rehabilitate and rehome horses and to protect the welfare of our most vulnerable equines.  “Ontario Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue, Retirement and Adoption/Rehoming Facilities” used in combination with the “Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines”, will accomplish both.”- Dr. Mary Bell, Equestrian Canada


Digital copies of the document can be obtained from following websites:


Equestrian Canada                

Equine Guelph                        




Ontario Racing                       


Whispering Hearts                 

Horse Rescue




For information on the Canadian Equine Code of Practice:


(a) I agree to abide by OHHA's constitution and by-laws and appoint and grant OHHA the right to act as my sole and exclusive agent and representative for the purposes of negotiating and executing contracts with all racetracks in the Province of Ontario and executing agreements relating to racing with any other group, body or association and I assign and transfer to OHHA, during the time I am a member, all my intellectual property rights, throughout the world, including copyrights, personality rights, and any causes of action related thereto, that I may own, arising from or related to my racing activity.

(b) I agree and consent to the terms of the Privacy Agreement of the Ontario Harness Horse Association, a copy of which is published on the Ontario Harness Horse Association's website and available to me in print on request.