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Equitation Science / Behaviour

Is Leadership a Reliable Concept in Animals? An Empirical Study in the Horse…

August 2015

The concept of leadership is one that is frequently cited, but little understood when it comes to training horses. Indeed, even in literature, there are multiple interpretations of exactly what is meant by leadership in reference to animals. For instance, leadership can be assigned to the animal that departs first, the animal that occupies the lead position during travel or the one who recruits others to join the existing group.  

Laterality & Straightness at the Bowker Lectures

July 2015

Back to the future Laterality is a new term for an old concept. Laterality refers to the preference for using one side of the body over the other. In humans, it is referred to as left- or right-handedness, but horse trainers and riders of all disciplines know laterality as ‘the crooked horse syndrome’. Techniques designed to straighten the horse are well covered in centuries-old dressage texts and other horse training literature.

Managing Horses in Groups: Part 1

May 2015

Horses and People Editor Cristina Wilkins talks with veterinarian and pony breeder Tom Davis about his experiences managing a breeding herd as a single family group.  A passionate advocate of welfare for both horses and people, Tom explains the all-round benefits of allowing horses to express their social nature and social habits, and explains his approach to solving any logistical challenges. Feeding, pasture management, breeding and weaning will be covered in this new series. Why do you manage your horses as a single family group? 

Why Classical Equitation is Scientific

January 2015

By their simplest definitions, if the term ‘classical’ can be taken to mean ‘enduring’ and ‘scientific’ to mean the systematic organisation of knowledge, then there was perhaps no need for a presentation entitled ‘Why Classical Equitation is Scientific’. It’s obvious, isn’t it? Possibly to those with riding careers dedicated to seeking out trainers acknowledged as custodians of ‘classical’ techniques, philosophies and principles.

Smart Textiles Set to Revolutionise the Horse Industry

November 2014

When you bought your last saddlecloth, rug or girth, you probably looked at the brand, colour, price tag, shape and size, but the development of smart or e-textiles is set to make saddlery shopping a lot more technical.  Imagine buying a rug that predicts when your mare will foal, a saddle blanket that records and stores heart and respiration rate changes during your exercise sessions, or can tell you if your horse is stressed. What about a girth that beeps if it is too loose or a noseband that changes colour when it is done up too tight? 

The Equine Pain Face

November 2014

Horses may not be able to say how much it hurts in words, but researchers demonstrate their face tells all. Learn to recognise the signs of the equine 'pain face' with Karina Bech Gleerup in this illustrated article.

Embedding Equitation Science into teaching and practice of equestrian professionals

October 2014

The emerging field of Equitation Science aims to measure and interpret interactions of the horse-human partnership and gather scientific evidence that can be used to improve the management, performance and welfare of the ridden horse. An identified barrier to the progress of Equitation Science is that scientists and equine practitioners tend to occupy different domains using different technical language, therefore potentially leading to confusion and lack of uptake and successful transfer of theory into practical contexts.

Can equestrian professionals recognise signs of stress in the ridden horse?

October 2014

Presenting at the 10th International Society for Equitation Science conference, in Denmark, Nottingham Trent University researchers Carol Hall, Rachel Kay and Kelly Yarnell stated that the interpretation of ridden horse behaviour by equestrian professionals, vets, instructors and riders, was found to differ from that suggested by physiological evidence.

Welfare of riding school horses

October 2014

A better understanding of how horses are managed in different countries and in the various sectors of the horse industry is of great interest to equitation and welfare scientists around the globe. To this effect, researchers from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, set to investigate the management of riding schools in their country, to estimate the time horses are absent from work due to health issues, the frequency and type of health issues and to make any associations between management and time absent from work.  

Rugging Preferences

September 2014

Researchers from the Norwegian Veterinary Institute have successfully taught horses to use symbols to communicate their preferences for rugging, including having their rug put on, taken off or left as is. They further demonstrated their study at the 10th International Equitation Science Conference (ISES) - 'Equine Stress, Learning and Training' - held in Denmark on August 7-9th 2014, by having professional animal trainers carry out a 10-step training program.

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