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Equitation Science / Behaviour

Registration open for 2019 Equitation Science Conference

February 2019

Planning is well underway for the 15th Annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference, being held at the University of Guelph, Canada’s largest agricultural university, on August 19-21, 2019.

Latest Research on Assessing Pain in the Ridden Horse

January 2019

The latest work on pain-associated behaviour in ridden horses, from two illuminating studies, was presented by Dr Sue Dyson at the Saddle Research Trust Conference on 8 December 2018. While one paper showed how heavier riders and unsuitable saddles can cause back muscle tension and pain in the horse, another disclosed that the ability to spot initial signs of musculoskeletal pain is now within the grasp of both trained and untrained assessors. Together the studies give the equestrian world better knowledge and tools to enhance the welfare and performance of ridden horses.

2019 International Equitation Science Conference will be held in Canada

November 2018

Preparations are underway for the 2019 International Equitation Science Conference: Bringing Science to the Stable. The event will be hosted by The University of Guelph - Canada’s largest and most renowned agricultural university and one of only five veterinary colleges in Canada. The conference will explore what science has uncovered about the unique horse-human connection under the title: Horse-human relationships: Where have we come from? Where are we now? Where are we going?

Do horses get stressed when bitted for the first time?

November 2018

New research has found that introducing the bit to a young horse for the first time can be a stressful process for them. However, this stress could be difficult for most people to identify unless they are taking physiological measures,­­ because the horse may not show visible stress behaviours. Introducing the bit is, traditionally, one of the most important training procedures in a young horse’s life. The majority of our performance horses are ‘bitted’, so this process forms a key part of the foundation training for many horses.

Licking and Chewing... Submission or Stress?

November 2018

Horses sometimes lick and chew during training and this has often been interpreted as a sign that the horse is learning or showing ‘submission’ to the trainer. However, a new study suggests that this non-nutritive licking and chewing behaviour is a natural behaviour that is shown when horses are recovering from a stressful situation. To gain insight into the function of licking and non-nutritive chewing behaviour in horses, a team of equine scientists from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences observed the social behaviour of feral horses under natural conditions. M.Sc.

Researchers Study the Effect of Different Rugs on Skin Temperature

November 2018

Many horse owners rug their horses all year round, however, a preliminary study, warns that the ambient temperatures expected and the type of rug needs to be carefully considered as horses can easily overheat.



To Whip or Not to Whip... That is the Question.

November 2018

Let me set the scene, let me paint a picture often seen in jumping classes, not only in New Zealand, but in most countries around the world. Half way through her showjumping round, ‘Sally’ canters her horse ‘Stormy’ towards the wall, at which point Stormy refuses the fence. Determined to get him over it the next time, Sally holds Stormy at the fence and gives him three good hard wallops with her whip. Upon presenting him at the fence a second time, Stormy jumps it clear and the round continues.

Your Spooky Horse Explained

November 2018

Improving your understanding of the inbuilt instinct for survival in the horse - how it is triggered and what it looks like - will improve your training methods, reduce the instances of injury to both, you and other people around the fearful horse and the horse himself. A question of survival 

Are You Over-training Your Horse?

October 2018

If you are repeatedly training your horse to do the same task every day, you could well be spending your time more productively. New research has found that horses have similar learning progress and remember a task just as well, when they are trained every three days, as when they are trained daily.

Equitation Science Conference Underway

October 2018

The 14th International Society of Equitation Science conference has begun! The world’s leading equine and welfare scientists have gathered in Rome to share their latest research at the 14th International Equitation Science Conference. This year’s ISES conference features one of the most exciting and varied programmes to date, with over 140 different plenary lectures, oral and poster presentations, workshops and practical demonstrations exploring the best of what’s new in equine science.

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