The Happy Horses Holiday Code

By following this straightforward advice you can quickly assess the condition of a horse or donkey, help to promote better working conditions – and ensure a safer, more comfortable ride for you and the animal.

There are lots of ways for you to share the Brooke's Happy Horses Holiday Code:

  • Download the code, make some copies and share with family and friends
  • Tell people that you are following the code by linking to this page (just copy and paste it) from your Facebook wall
  • Tweet this page ( using your Twitter account and the hashtag: #ResponsibleTourism

Match sizes – horses and donkeys in developing countries are not always as strong as you might think, so always match your size to that of the animal and ensure that your weight is evenly balanced when riding.

Pay a fair price for the ride - encouraging owners to undercut each other only devalues the work of the horse or donkey – and means both owner and animal must work even harder to earn a living wage

One person per animal – no horse or donkey should carry more than one rider. The animal must accept your weight without discomfort and be able to start, stop and move easily. If it stumbles, staggers or appears to be struggling in any way, please get off.

One wheel per person when riding in a carriage - two people in a two-wheeled cart and so on. Carriages should be driven at a walking pace only or it can run into the animal when it stops.

Take a closer look – it is important to look past the decoration or carriage and choose an animal that is fit and healthy - with a good covering of flesh, rather than prominent hip bones, backbones or pelvis.

Avoid using animals with sores and wounds - check places where equipment could rub such as the mouth, shoulders, spine and belly. Wounds might be hidden under a saddle or harness, so if you are concerned, ask to check.

Read the comfort signs – a healthy animal will have a high head position, with eyes open and ears forward. It will also stand evenly, so look at all four legs for signs of pain or injury and check for cracked or misshapen hooves.

Speak out - if you see an owner mistreating his animal, by riding it hard or whipping it, we urge you not to use their services - and explain why.

Offer praise - if an animal seems well looked after, please praise the owner and tell him why you have chosen to give him your trade.

Report mistreatment - if you see an animal being severely mistreated, consider making a formal complaint to your tour operator, tourist police or the local authorities.

Follow these ten simple steps and you can:

  • Help prevent animal suffering
  • Help promote animal welfare
  • Enjoy a safer, more comfortable ride
  • Provide valuable income for local people

Follow the Happy Horses Holiday Code

Follow the Happy Horses Holiday code and ensure that any animal you ride on vacation is well cared for. ©The Brooke

Ensure that your horse, donkey or mule is well-fed and has plenty of water to drink

Ensure that your horse, donkey or mule is well-fed and has plenty of water to drink. ©The Brooke

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