In circumstances where horse owners are unable to regularly ride or otherwise exercise their horses, caretakers may provide turnout opportunities for horses in a safe enclosure. If safe turnout space is not available, horses should be exercised to maintain physical health and mental wellbeing. Healthy horses should not be confined to a stall for extended periods of time without exercise. Horses owners and caretakers should consult with their regular veterinarian regarding minimum exercise programs for individual horses, dietary modifications to accompany decreased work, and later a safe return to fitness after an extended period of downtime. Racehorses in a training and/or racing environment are predisposed to health emergencies and perilous behavior if their exercise routine is abruptly suspended, posing significant risks to horses and handlers. Horses at racetracks and training centers should be allowed controlled exercise in an amount needed to maintain fitness, mental well-being and safety, while adhering to public health protocols that safeguard the welfare of those responsible for their care. Sport horses used in other types of equestrian competition have similar challenges and should be managed with the same considerations in mind. Approved by the AAEP board of directors, April 2020.

Resource Type

  • Position Statements


  • Horses
  • Welfare

Publish Date

April 1, 2020