EVERY week The Irish Field does what it sayes on the proverbial tin – ‘We are all about the horse’. Those six words feature on the main front cover of every issue we print, they can be readily found just under the main masthead.

A few years ago at the Equine Summit, then CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, Brian Kavanagh, was asked what he saw as the biggest future threat to racing.

His response was swift and straight as an arrow in flight and no....racing prize-money levels did not feature in it at all.

Mr Kavanagh pointed right away to horse welfare as the biggest issue and spoke of how the racing industry must proactively lead from the front, with what must be gold standards when it came to this vital area. This, he said, was where the social licence - essential public acceptance - lay.

This week’s statement from the Royal Dublin Society and Showjumping Ireland (see adjoining article with full unedited statement) is particularly welcome as it places horse welfare and good horsmanship at the front and centre of all equestrian life and sport.

“Horse welfare is paramount and must be at the core of all equestrian pursuits and sporting occasions. It is the responsibility of all those involved in the sport – competitors, parents, trainers, officials, organisers and volunteers - to safeguard it for future generations...”

I couldn’t agree more myself with the sentiments expressed and those particular words quoted from the RDS/SJI statement should be to the fore of the minds of all involved with equine sports. There is no place to stand on the sidelines, or turn a blind eye, when it comes to equine welfare issues.

Don’t for a single moment think that the all-important social licence for the very existence of, and future continuance, of animal-related sports in an ever-evolving modern society can ever be taken for granted.

It’s truly up to each and everyone of us, involved through our various respective roles, to always safeguard horse welfare and in doing so, we can collectively help future-proof equestrian sport for the good of all involved.