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Equitation Science / Behaviour

Racehorse Medication Ethics at the 2017 Breeders Cup

December 2017

In the midst of Australia's Spring Racing Carnival, Americans celebrated their own Thoroughbred racing end-of-year Championships under rules that allow horses to train, as well as race, on a cocktail of pharmaceutical medications. Veterinarian and journalist Dr Sid Gustafson reports from the 2017 Breeders' Cup in Del Mar, California, for Horses and People Magazine on racehorse medication ethics.

Equitation Science Focuses on Collaboration at International Conference

January 2018

When trying to instigate change for the betterment of horses and people, to challenge long-held beliefs and values, and to introduce new checks and balances to sacred traditions, it is a brave pioneer who dares to peep above the parapet and lead the way. But, the best pioneers are also able to harness the power of collaboration and prove the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. A common theme echoed throughout the recent International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference Down Under 2017, which took place in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, is what ISES Hon Fellow, Prof.

How to Play the Breeder's Cup Lasix

December 2017

Since pre-race Lasix is allowed in America, the drug is listed on the program so the players (punters) can effectively parlay the Lasix horses.   Having practised as an attending Thoroughbred and Standardbred veterinarian back in the day, and subsequently following the medication notes on the forms of racehorses through time, I developed a sense of how to 'play the Lasix'.   I know better than to gamble where so many permitted drugs are allowed - with so many unknown consequences.   Highland Reel is getting Lasix and so will be favoured over Ulysses in the Turf.

The Science of Selection

November 2017

In last month’s issue, we visited Victoria Police’s Mounted Branch. This month we’re staying on the subject of police horses, with an interview with Marc Pierard, an equitation scientist from Belgium. Marc is conducting ongoing research into the horse selection criteria that could be used by mounted police units - and his work is likely to have multi-faceted benefits for horses and their riders.

When we know better, we do better!

October 2017

Horses today live longer, healthier lives than ever before. We selectively breed horses to jump higher, run raster, move more flamboyantly... But the question many horse lovers would like to know the answer to is this: Are they happy? Are the domesticated lives we provide our horses fulfilling? How do we know what great quality of life means to the horse, and how can we measure it and, of course, could we do better?

Scientists Question the Relevance of Leadership and Dominance in Horse Training

July 2017

The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) has released a position statement on the use and misuse of man-made concepts in horse training, particularly dominance and leadership, warning they may jeopardise the creation of a harmonious relationship with the horse and may compromise its welfare.

Series: Setting Good Ground Rules Series


Setting Good Ground Rules Part 1 - Introduction

September 2009 by Elsa Willans-Davis

Australian Equine Behaviour Centre - Elsa Willans-Davis is a full-time trainer at the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre in Broadford, Victoria. She is adept at training and teaching all facets of the AEBC training system from foundation training through to problem solving, dressage and jumping.

Setting Good Ground Rules Part 2 - Stop and Go

October 2009 by Elsa Willans-Davis

Australian Equine Behaviour Centre -   In this Part 2 of our series I will explain how I train the basic responses of “go forward” and “stop” from the ground. Before you start

Setting good ground rules Part 3 - Park

August 2012 by Elsa Willans-Davis

Many people wrongly expect the horse will know he is supposed to stand still when he is tied up or is in a horse box, when in reality we should first train every horse that once you ask him to stop, he should not move nor follow you until you ask him to do so with your lead rope or reins. This is what we call 'Park'.  

Setting Good Ground Rules - Part 6 Head Control

May 2010 by Elsa Willans-Davis

Australian Equine Behaviour Centre - Head control The prerequisites to training head control in hand are training your horse to go, stop, step back, and park at obedience level (see parts 1 – 5 of the series).

13th International Equitation Science Conference Announced

May 2017

Equestrian people from all over Australia and the world will travel to the Land Down Under in November 2017 to attend the annual ISES conference; this year being held at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia from Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25th November, 2017. The theme 'Equitation Science in Practice: Collaboration, Communication & Change' will provide opportunity to consider how the use of horses from leisure, to work, to sport, goes hand-in-hand with horse welfare. 

Equine Behaviour: An Introduction

April 2017

As most horse lovers know, our modern-day horses evolved from a five-toed forest-dwelling mammal that was about the size of small foxes. In the intervening 60 million years, the horse’s morphology has changed radically to better suit running fast over the savannahs and grasslands they now inhabit in the wild.  Despite this, horses are still, in many ways, scared little critters scuttling through the undergrowth trying to avoid being eaten by something bigger. 

We recommend: Horses Hate Surprise Parties

December 2016

Horses Hate Surprise Parties: Equitation Science for Young Riders is the first book to present the scientific principles behind horse training in a simple and easy to understand format. Suitable for both young and not so young riders, the book provides clear explanations of horse behaviour and an easy to follow blueprint for training on the ground and under saddle. 


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