Happy Horses Holiday Code

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

Follow these 10 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

10 simple steps

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Take a closer look

It's 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    Tell people about the Happy Horses Holiday Code

    • Tell people that you are following the code by sharing this page on Facebook.
    • Tweet this page with #ResponsibleTourism.

    Download a copy of the Code