One speaks of a ‘Social License to Operate’ (SLO) when any activity has society’s approval or consent.
Obtaining a social licence in equestrian sports means making the correct ethical choices as far as horses are concerned. Each one of us is responsible for a social license, assuming such responsibility by attributing value to the partnership between humankind and horses and proving we respect horses in every possible way.
The partnership between human beings and horses has extremely ancient roots and played many different roles as far as society’s evolution is concerned. Nowadays, in order to continue to exist in the future, equestrian sports must have the approval and consent of society. This means that the psycho-physical welfare of the horse must always come first and it is the responsibility of all those involved to prove this clearly and with transparency so as to strengthen the ‘social license’.
Mistakes made are there for all to see and paid for dearly as we saw at the Tokyo Olympic Games where an ill-considered action by a pentathlon athlete triggered a very strong reaction in public opinion. However, if all those involved in equestrian sports, competitors or amateurs, prove they are committed to ethical and respectful behaviour, public opinion will probably manage to be ‘trustful’ and accept, and perhaps even appreciate, equestrian sports. It all depends on us. It is our duty to pursue a new awareness. We need to be honest and take action to eliminate everything that damages horses.
No form of abuse can be tolerated.
«The FEI requires all those involved in international equestrian sport to adhere to the FEI Code of Conduct and to acknowledge and accept that at all times the welfare of the horse must be paramount. Welfare of the horse must never be subordinated to competitive or commercial influences». All this should not be done only to obtain a social license. It should be done because it is right and it is up to us horsemen and women.
Susanna Cottica, Editor in Chief of Cavalli & Cavalieri
From 2023 January/February issue: