Horse welfare

I have during this autumn attended two seminars regarding horse welfare especially with focus on dressage. I was invited as guest speaker. The two seminars took place in Sweden. The first organised by SCAW a group connected to the University of Uppsala and the second seminar was organised by NCED a group of North European dental veterinairians-
It turned out t be two very different apporaches to the subject of horse welfare. The Scaw group had invited some very knowleable people from the horse world. Trainers veteriairians and people from the dressage world among others some people from the Swedish Equestrian Federation. Unfortunately also some anti dressage activists that did not have the willingnes to listen and learn. This seminar became veru confrontative and that doeas in my oppinion not lead to any understanding of each others position and not at all to a development towards better riding and welfare of horses.
The second seminar with veterinairians that specialize in dental and mouth problems in sporthorses became a very good discussion betwen a representative from the FEI (International Equestrian Federation) and myself and the veterinairians. Both parties were willing to learn and understand. I certainly learnt a lot and the road towards better riding and training seemed to be possible if both parties listened to each other. 
It became clear to me after having been to both these seminars that if our sport shall gain and not loose public support we have to have good dialogs and cooperation between people with knowledge and good real backgrounds in order to get a better understanding of horse welfare and horse sport.