Horses in South Africa are used in a wide array of activities. They are very effectively utilised in poorer communities as draught animals, for general transport and as an agile means of tracking stock animals in remote and rural areas where motorised vehicles are inadequate or unavailable. Horses are also extensively used in sport and leisure and in some cases are considered champion athletes that can have large commercial values attached to them.

Source: Otto Koekemoer, ARC-OVR

International business environment

To find out about the international business environment :


South Africa: import and export

The export of horses from South Africa first go to Mauritius, then to the European Union, and from there to the USA, Australia or wherever. As can be imagined, this adds to the costs of equine exports. This is as a result of the protocols set in place by the World Health Organisation after an outbreak of African Horse Sickness in 2011. A two-year ban is put in place each time there is an outbreak, after which an audit is done. After several outbreaks an audit was scheduled in April 2020; however, the COVID-19 lockdown has caused an indefinite delay in the resumption of exports.

Previously, the horse racing industry employed about 60 000 people and contributed an estimated R3-billion per annum to the economy (Cameron, 2020).

Refer to the articles by Jooste and Cameron for more.

National strategy and government contact

African horse sickness (AHS) is a notifiable disease in South Africa – all suspected cases have to be reported to a State Vet. Cases have to be confirmed at the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) reference centre for African horse sickness at the ARC-OVR. Visit and for more information. A PDF on AHS can be accessed at

  • SA Equine Health & Protocols (SAEHP) Tel: 021 001 4363
  • Find the Western Cape Department of Agriculture‘s Veterinary Services webpages at
  • Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Find details of different directorates like Animal Health and Animal Production at (take the “Branches” option). Other relevant government departments include Trade, Industry and Competition; Higher Education, Science and Technology; and Sports, Arts and Culture. Find details of all government departments at

Associations involved

SA Stud Book Association Tel: 051 410 0900

The following are affiliated to SA Stud Book:

Other societies include the SA Warmblood Horse Society, Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of SA, Standardbred Breeders Association of SA, Trotteurs Francais Breeders Association of SA, SA Hackney Pony Breeders’ Society and South African Lipizzaners.

South African Equestrian Federation (SAEF) Tel: 011 468 3236

SAEF falls under the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI – visit, which governs the sport internationally. Most of the following are SANEF-affiliated bodies and groups:


Watching out for the welfare of horses:


Highveld Horse Care Unit Tel: 081 573 4093 Emergencies: 082 921 1644 This is the largest equine welfare organisation in the southern hemisphere, addressing all aspects of equine welfare and covering an area of over 4000 km2 – Musina to Kimberly. They have five inspectors whose work includes educating owners on how to care for their working horses/donkeys, and assisting with primary care: harnessing, wound treatments, deworming etc.

  • The Eastern Cape Horse Care Unit in Port Elizabeth deals mainly with working horses and donkeys in the many townships in the area. Call 041 366 1594, 072 357 2505 or click on the name for their website.
  • The Coastal Horse Care Unit is based in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • To find out about the Western Cape Horse Care Unit, visit (All SPCAs respond to and investigate cruelty to all species, including equine. Find details at

National Horse Trust Tel: 011 683 4388/9 A programme developed, unique to South Africa, to reduce potential neglect and deterioration of Thoroughbreds after their racing careers.


Rehabilitation of neglected horses:


Cart Horse Protection Association (CHPA) Tel: 021 535 3435 Report cart horse abuse: 082 6 599 599 Over the past years, the CHPA has established regular clinics, introduced the sale of subsidised feed, a farrier service and veterinary care. With 70% of income going directly to benefit the horses, the enforcement of relevant provisions of the Animal Protection Act and education of cart horse owners, CHPA has successfully improved the condition and standard of many cart horses on our roads today.

Training and research

  • Read about the AgriSETA General Education and Training Certificate: Equine and Equestrian Practices at
  • ARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research (ARC-OVR) Tel: 012 529 9111 As part of national efforts to control of African Horsesickness (AHS) in South Africa, the OVI fulfils two important functions – research and disease surveillance.
  • Beaulieu College Equestrian Academy Tel: 011 468 2114
  • Cedara College of Agriculture Tel: 033 355 9304/5 Equine Diploma, Training and facilities on site
  • Council of Equine and Equestrian Professionals Tel: 012 660 2696
  • Damelin Equestrian Academy Tel: 011 948 9801 / 082 871 5467
  • Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute Structured Agricultural Education and Training Tel: 021 808 7702/98 Equine Studies follows the EQASA qualification (Equine Qualifications Authority of SA). Modules 1-3 are studies in the first year and modules 4 & 5 in the second year
  • Equestrian Academy Tel: 021 903 9568
  • Equine Qualifications Authority of Southern Africa Tel: 044 871 5331
  • Equine Research Centre (ERC) Tel: 012 529 8068 The ERC was established to provide scientific and veterinary services to the horseracing and breeding industry. The Centre is situated within the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science at Onderstepoort.
  • Equine-Librium Tel: 044 533 9513
  • PCI Agricultural Services Tel: 072 011 0687
  • REC Equestrian Academy Tel: 072 247 2929
  • South African National Equestrian Schools Association (SANESA) Find provincial contact details on the website
  • South African Jockey Academy Tel: 031 769 1103 Satellite campuses in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng.
  • The School of Equine Management Excellence Tel: 033 263 1081
  • Tshwane University of Technology Department of Animal Science Tel: 012 382 5332
  • University of Pretoria (UP) Faculty of Veterinary Science Tel: 012 420 3111 See also the earlier-listed Equine Research Centre (ERC).

Other role players

Take a look at a network of equine industry business on the Equine South Africa website – visit  Also find role players on the general “Animal husbandry” page.

Websites and publications

Visit the websites listed earlier on this page.

  • Visit, website of Kejafa Knowledge Works, for publications which include: (i) The Complete Equine Veterinary Manual Tony Pavord & Marcy Pavord (ii) Die SA Boerperd (a full colour Afrikaans publication) (iii) Natural Horse Care Pat Coleby (iv) Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses (breeding, care, facilities) Heather Smith Thomas (v) Storey’s Guide to Training Horses (ground work, driving, riding) Heather Smith Thomas.
  • Call Horse Books Unlimited at 011 315 5333 for horse books, DVDs and CD-ROMs. Their website is
  • HQ, “South Africa’s Premier Equestrian Magazine”. Visit
  • A Guide to Animal Diseases in South Africa – Horses, Donkeys and Mules by Pamela Oberem is available from Afrivet. Visit
  • Find the “Horses” option at
  • Grandin, T. & Johnson, C. (2005). Animals in Translation. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Find books, DVDs and other resources at


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