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Equitation Science / Behaviour

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

05/26/2017

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. 

Two Hearts: Researchers Measure the Coupling of Horse and Human Heartbeats During Interactions

December 2016

For the first time, a research team from the University of Pisa has measured the synchronisation of heart beats that occurs during horse-human interactions using smart textiles.   Ethologists and engineers from the University of Pisa, Italy, teamed up to measure heartbeat synchronisation induced by the emotional stimulation that occurs during horse-human interactions. They did this by aligning and comparing the respective heart rate variability (the time interval between heartbeats) via a wearable ‘smart fabric’ system.   

Training Principles Revised and Updated

October 2015

A revised version of the Horse Training Principles was presented at the recent conference of the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) which was held in Vancouver, Canada.  The revision of this important document is in line with the society’s aim to continually reassess and improve the welfare of horses in its interactions with humans as knowledge and experience expand, and new research and technology become available.  

Eye Wrinkles: A Window to the Horse’s Soul?

October 2015

Horses display many different facial expressions and their eyes are highly expressive, mainly thanks to the wrinkles that form above the eye ball.  Wrinkles above the eye ball within the inner brow area result from the contraction of the underlying inner eye brow raiser muscles. Eye wrinkles are common in horses, but differ in number and shape between horses and within individuals.

Series: The Facts About Contact

08/12/2015

The Facts About Contact Part 3 - Measuring Lightness, Self Carriage & Gaits

January 2010 by Dr Amanda Warren-Smith

In Part 1 of this series The Facts About Contact, we discussed the measurement of rein tension (used to measure lightness) and in Part 2 we discussed measuring rein tension as well as head carriage.  Now in Part 3, we are going to combine those measures with measures of the horse's leg movements.

Series: Boost Your Dressage Scores with Learning Theory

08/12/2015

Boost Your Dressage Scores: Part 2

May 2015 by Manuela McLean, NCAS Level 2 (Dressage Specialist), BSc (Biology), DipEd, Australian Equine Behaviour Centre

In Part 2, Manuela McLean continues making sense of the current judging system against the backdrop of learning theory and the equitation science shaping scale helping you develop clear strategies you can build on to improve your next competition performance.

Boost Your Dressage Scores: Part 3

July 2015 by Manuela McLean, Australian Equine Behaviour Centre

In Part 3, Manuela McLean discusses incorrect responses, which judges would mark between 0 and 3 and how to re-train them to boost your next dressage performance. Do you want to avoid scores between 0 and 3? Read on...  Dressage judges play an important role in the education of both riders and their horses.

Boost Your Dressage Scores: Part 4

July 2015 by Manuela McLean, Australian Equine Behaviour Centre

Part 4: Obedience. Do you want to improve on marks of 3 to 5? Read on... as Manuela McLean continues to explain the judging scale against the backdrop of learning theory and the equitation science shaping scale, helping you develop clear training strategies to boost your scores!

Boost Your Dressage Scores: Part 5

August 2015 by Manuela McLean, Australian Equine Behaviour Centre

Part 5 - Developing rhythm. In this part, Manuela continues up the judging scale to the qualities that will award you marks of 5 and above, when rhythm is established, is self maintained and the transitions are smooth, the marks should rise to a 6. Your marks will move on to 7 when, as well as showing rhythm, your horse is also straight.

Boost Your Dressage Scores: Part 6

September 2015 by Manuela McLean, Australian Equine Behaviour Centre

Dressage judges play an important role in the education of both riders and their horses. The marks and comments they provide can inform rider and coach of the level of training achieved and any areas that need more work. But, can you turn them into clear training strategies and boost your dressage scores?  

Boost Your Dressage Scores with Learning Theory: Part 7

June 2016 by Manuela McLean, Co-Director, Equitation Science International & Australian Equine Behaviour Centre

Dressage judges play an important role in the education of both riders and their horses. The marks and comments they provide can inform rider and coach of the level of training achieved and any areas that need more work. But, can you turn them into clear training strategies and boost your dressage scores? 

Boost Your Dressage Scores: Part 8

November 2015 by Manuela McLean, Director, Equitation Science International

Dressage judges play an important role in the education of both riders and their horses. The marks and comments they provide can inform rider and coach of the level of training achieved and any areas that need more work. But, can you turn them into clear training strategies and boost your dressage scores?  

Boost Your Dressage Scores: Part 9

January 2016 by Manuela McLean Director, Equitation Science International

Dressage judges play an important role in the education of both riders and their horses. The marks and comments they provide can inform rider and coach of the level of training achieved, and any areas that need more work. But, can you turn them into clear training strategies and boost your dressage scores?  

Boost Your Dressage Scores with Learning Theory: Part 10

June 2016 by Manuela McLean, Co-Director, Equitation Science International & Australian Equine Behaviour Centre

Dressage judges play an important role in the education of both riders and their horses. The marks and comments they provide can inform rider and coach of the level of training achieved, and any areas that need more work. But, can you turn them into clear training strategies and boost your dressage scores? 

Boost Your Dressage Scores with Learning Theory: Part 11

March 2016 by Manuela McLean, Co-Director, Equitation Science International & Australian Equine Behaviour Centre

Dressage judges play an important role in the education of both riders and their horses. The marks and comments they provide can inform rider and coach of the level of training achieved, and any areas that need more work. But, can you turn them into clear training strategies and boost your dressage scores?  

Boost Your Dressage Scores with Learning Theory: Part 12

April 2016 by Manuela McLean, Co-Director, Equitation Science International & Australian Equine Behaviour Centre

Dressage judges play an important role in the education of both riders and their horses. The marks and comments they provide can inform rider and coach of the level of training achieved and any areas that need more work. But, can you turn them into clear training strategies and boost your dressage scores?  

Boost Your Dressage Scores with Learning Theory: Part 13

May 2016 by Manuela McLean, Co-Director, Equitation Science International & Australian Equine Behaviour Centre

Dressage judges play an important role in the education of both, riders and their horses. The marks and comments they provide can inform rider and coach of the level of training achieved and any areas that need more work. But, can you turn them into clear training strategies and boost your dressage scores?  

Boost Your Dressage Scores with Learning Theory: Part 14

June 2016 by Manuela McLean, Co-Director, Equitation Science International & Australian Equine Behaviour Centre

Dressage judges play an important role in the education of both riders and their horses. The marks and comments they provide can inform rider and coach of the level of training achieved, and any areas that need more work. But, can you turn them into clear training strategies and boost your dressage scores?  

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