ETA Standards

*** The Equestrian Travel Association acknowledges the variation in horse care practices across countries and regions, as well as the potential lack of resources to meet the ETA’s standards of care. In light of this, we understand that some potential members seeking Bronze, Silver or Gold Memberships maybe unable to fulfill all the requirements. Therefore, we will handle such situations on an individual basis, taking into account the specific circumstances. 

  1. Horses will be treated with dignity and respect at all times by (stated equestrian facility) staff, volunteers and guests
  2. Treatment of horses involving force and intimidation will not be tolerated
  3. Vaccines to prevent infectious disease will be administered as required by your region.
  4. Dental check-up and necessary treatment to ensure proper and adequate food digestion
  5. Veterinarian care as necessary for vaccines, to treat injury and illness and to prevent unnecessary pain and preventable suffering
  6. Hoof care maintenance and trimming to ensure horses can perform a full range of motion, does not suffer lameness or become infected with thrush or white line disease
  7. Fresh, palatable, and nutritious food with adequate nutritional value that is free from contamination and insects in sufficient quantity with consideration for the animal’s condition, age, breed, size and work level shall be provided
  8. Horses are grazing animals, therefore, the basis for all diets should be grass and/or hay. Horses must be fed free choice hay or pasture. If this is not possible, they must receive a minimum of 1 to 2 pounds of hay per 100 pounds of body weight daily
  9. Grains are used to supplement weight and energy. Mixed grain diets are readily available from feed stores and should be fed at the rate of 0.5 to 1.5 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight. If grain exceeds 5 total pounds daily, it is recommended that the grain be divided into two feedings. Grain should be stored in a clean dry covered container in a dry building to ensure that it does not get mold or become infested with insects
  10. Feeding space should be adequate for the number of horses fed. Horses should not be fed on the ground to avoid waste contamination, ingestion of sand and/or dirt, increased possibility of colic, parasite infection and disease transmission. Certain conditions (i.e. geriatric. lactating, in training, pregnant or working horses) may require the horse to be fed separately and with a special grain mix to maintain body condition
  11. Equines should score, by a veterinarian, no less than a 3 and no more than 8 on the Henneke Body Condition Scoring Chart to be considered of adequate weight
  12. Water is the most critical and essential nutrient for horses. Horses must have water to maintain normal body functions. The amount of water a horse will drink in a day depends on body weight, stage of production (i.e. growth, work, lactation), environmental effects and individual variation. Most horses will drink 5-10 gallons of water per day
  13. Working horses will require a substantial increase (20 – 300%) in their need for water
  14. Free choice water is best for horses. If not possible, they should be allowed to drink their fill at least three times a day.
  15. Water should always be clean, fresh, potable, and free from algae, insects and other contaminants.
  16. Space available to the horse must be safe and free from standing water, accumulated waste, sharp objects and debris
  17. Horses should be allowed daily exercise and have freedom of movement as necessary to reduce stress and maintain good physical condition
  18. It is advisable to provide natural or artificial shelter to provide shade from direct sunlight. Any artificial structure should be adequate for the size and number of horses to avoid fighting among the animals. Individual stalls should be large enough for a horse to stand upright in a normal position, turn around and lie down comfortably. The shelter should also be adequately ventilated to help prevent respiratory infections and should be free of hazards that might cause injury. Any shelter should have adequate lighting that mimics a natural light cycle. The area should have good footing and be well drained.
  19. Stall size typically ranges from 12ft x 10ft for miniature breeds to 14ft x 14ft for all but the largest draft horse.
  20. Corrals for horses that are not ridden daily should be no smaller than 12ft x 20-30ft to allow then enough room to stretch their legs
  21. All fencing for corrals, pens and paddocks must remain in good condition to avoid injury to horses from broken boards.



  1. Genuine care and comfort of guests – It is of paramount importance in the enjoyment of a ride that guests have the skills to do it safely at the pace intended. Each equestrian facility will make every effort to ensure that all riders are well matched to the ride and the difficulties are explained as clearly as possible.
  2. ETA Members are committed to safe, ethical and professional practices and standards
  3. Provide quality service and facilities for guests
  4. Anticipation and fulfillment of each guests needs
  5. Create a unique, memorable, and personal experience for guest
  6. Professional appearance, language, and behavior
  7. Protect the privacy and security of each guest
  8. Meeting and exceeding guest/visitor expectations leads to positive word of mouth and potentially repeat visitation.
  9. Upholding quality and standards to influence visitor satisfaction, their length of stay and expenditure, and their likelihood to visit again or refer the destination to a friend or relative; and these are the fundamentals of sustainable visitation.


The physical demands of any equestrian activity are significant for both horse and rider. Physical demands can result in injury to horse or rider when the rider’s weight is excessive and cannot be positioned and carried in tandem with the horse’s conformation and gait. It is recommended that the weight of a rider does not exceed 20% of the weight of the horse.

1. Each facility will establish weight limits for each horse in the herd and make it a policy not to exceed the established weight limits.

2. Each facility is required to publish a maximum weight limit in their literature and rules while enforcing this rider requirement.


The comfort and well-being of the horse should always be the top priority when it comes to tack fitting. Proper saddle and bridle fit promotes better performance, prevents discomfort or injury, and ultimately enhances the overall experience for both horse and rider. Each Gold Member business needs to ensure proper tack fitting.

  1. Evaluate the horse’s conformation: Understand the horse’s conformation, including their build, size, and any unique characteristics. This will help in selecting the appropriate size and type of tack.
  1. Take accurate measurements: Measure the horse’s head, neck, girth, and any other relevant areas for proper tack fitting. This will ensure that the tack you choose is the right size for the horse.
  1. Choose quality tack: Invest in well-made, durable tack. Good quality tack is designed to fit properly, provide comfort, and last longer, reducing the risk of accidents or discomfort.
  1. Check for appropriate pressure distribution: When fitting a bridle or saddle, make sure the pressure is evenly distributed. There should be no excessive pressure points that could cause discomfort or potential injury.
  1. Ensure proper clearance: Tack should provide adequate clearance to avoid rubbing or pinching. Check that the bridle, bit, and any other tack does not press against the horse’s sensitive areas, such as the withers, ears, or mouth.
  1. Consider the rider’s comfort: While fitting the tack, consider the comfort of the rider as well. Ensure that the saddle, bridle, and other equipment are suitable for the rider’s size, discipline, and riding style.
  1. Regularly assess fit: Tack fit can change over time due to factors such as the horse’s growth, muscle development, or changes in weight. Regularly reassess the fit and adjust as necessary.
  1. Educate staff and clients: Train your staff to have a good understanding of tack fitting principles and techniques. Educate clients about the importance of proper tack fit and provide guidance to help them choose the right tack for their horses.
  1. Offer professional assistance: When needed, provide access to professional saddle fitters, bridle makers, or equine veterinarians who specialize in tack fitting. Their expertise can ensure the best possible fit for the horse and rider.
  1. Regular maintenance and checks: Encourage regular maintenance of tack, including cleaning, conditioning, and checking for any signs of wear or damage. Replace worn-out or damaged tack promptly to maintain safety and comfort.

By adhering to these standards, you as an equine business can ensure that the tack used on their horses is properly fitted, promoting the well-being and performance of both horse and rider.


Using a mounting block when mounting on a horse is crucial for the safety and well-being of both the horse and the rider. Every Gold Member needs to implement the use of a mounting block when customers are mounting. Using a mounting block:

  1. Reduces strain on the horse’s back: Mounting from the ground can put excessive strain on the horse’s back, especially if the rider is heavy or lacks sufficient strength. Using a mounting block provides a more even distribution of weight and reduces the risk of causing discomfort or injury to the horse’s back.
  1. Minimizes the risk of falls: Mounting from the ground can be challenging for riders, especially if the horse moves or shifts unexpectedly. This can lead to unbalanced positions, loss of control, and potential falls. A mounting block offers a stable and secure platform, reducing the risk of accidents and falls during the mounting process.
  1. Promotes proper alignment: Mounting from a higher position, such as a mounting block, allows the rider to align their body properly before getting on the horse. This ensures that the rider’s weight is evenly distributed, reducing the likelihood of putting excess pressure on specific areas of the horse’s back.
  1. Easier for horses with back or leg issues: Horses with back or leg issues may find it uncomfortable or painful if a rider mounts from the ground. Using a mounting block makes it easier for these horses to accept the rider’s weight and minimizes the risk of exacerbating any existing injuries or conditions.
  1. Builds trust and confidence: By using a mounting block, riders can approach the horse calmly and with less physical effort. This helps create a positive and relaxed environment, fostering trust and confidence between the horse and the rider.
  1. Suitable for riders of all ages and abilities: Mounting from a lower position can be challenging for riders with limited strength, flexibility, or mobility. A mounting block provides a safe and accessible option for riders of all ages and abilities to mount and dismount the horse with ease.
  1. Prevents damage to saddle and equipment: Mounting from the ground can put unnecessary strain on the saddle, stirrups, and other equipment. Using a mounting block helps avoid potential damage or wear to the equipment, prolonging its lifespan and reducing the need for frequent repairs or replacements.

Overall, using a mounting block is an essential practice for the safety and comfort of both the horse and the rider. It promotes proper alignment, reduces strain and risk of falls, and creates a positive and balanced experience during the mounting process.