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Science Corner

Myth Busters: Part 1

March 2015

Charles Sturt University students explore some of the key areas of research into equine health and performance. While they demonstrate that further research is needed, their reviews show how the relationship between horses and people can work towards a deeper understanding of equine science and doing the best for the horse. Do bitted bridles cause pain and misbehaviour?  By Judith Matusiewicz, Charles Sturt University 

Foraging behaviour in pastured horses: Is variety the spice of life?

February 2015

Australian researchers investigating the behaviour of domestic horses at pasture have found that, given the opportunity, horses will seek and consume a range of non-pasture species (e.g., parts of trees, woody plants and shrubs). This is the first published data on the behaviour of domesticated horses at pasture and their interaction with the available vegetation.

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.  

Improve Your Riding and Confidence

September 2014

One man’s vision to bring horse owners and world-class practitioners, physiotherapists, saddlers, psychologists and coaches together resulted in the conference aimed at meeting the needs of the British horse owner. Titled ‘Improve Your Riding and Confidence’, the conference was the brainchild of Russell Guire, founder of Centaur Biomechanics, a company specialising in horse and rider performance analysis. 

Desensitised Mares Raise Calmer Foals

September 2014

Can mares transmit habituation to scary or novel objects to their foals? Janne Christensen, PhD, from Aarhus University in Denmark presented 'Social transmission of habituation from mares to their foals'...A report from the 10th International Equitation Science Conference (ISES) - 'Equine Stress, Learning and Training' - held in Denmark on August 7-9th 2014.

Is Elastic Fantastic? The Impact of Elastic Inserts on Rein Tension

September 2014

Is elastic fantastic? The impact of elastic inserts on rein tension...A report from the 10th International Equitation Science Conference (ISES) - 'Equine Stress, Learning and Training' - held in Denmark on August 7-9th 2014. Elastic has been used over the years to achieve ‘give’ and flexibility in equestrian equipment, such as girths and reins. The reins provide a physical means for the delivery of signals/aids from the human to the horse.

New study links ill-fitting saddles with back pain in both, horses and riders

August 2014

Ill-fitting saddles are not only associated with back muscle asymmetry, a stilted gait and back pain in the horse but they are also associated with back pain in the rider.  These are the key conclusions from a new study looking at saddle fit, back shape and horse as well as rider health.

Motion technology aids horse rider assessment

August 2014

New research by Elizabeth Gandy, a senior lecturer in the University of Sunderland's Department of Computing, Engineering and Technology, shows the horse riders’ balance, symmetry and poor posture could be improved by an innovative body suit that works with inertial motion sensors, commonly used by movie makers and the video game industry. The XsensTM MVN body suit demonstrates positive results as a method of assessing rider asymmetry that leads to back pain and injury risk.

UK Veterinarians Warn of Impending Multi-Drug Resistance in Worms

August 2014

A recent paper published in the International Journal for Parasitology has confirmed that egg reappearance periods after treatment are shortening - an early indicator that worms are developing resistance to anthelmitic drugs. The lack of any new worming compounds on the horizon is driving researchers to find better ways to manage worms in domestic horses.  

The Back and Beyond: Part 2

July 2014

In this month’s article, Lisa Ashton summarises two other top presentations from the 7th Horses Inside Out Conference, which was held at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, United Kingdom.  Titled ‘The Back and Beyond’, the conference gave 200 therapists, saddlers, coaches, veterinarians and practitioners the chance to immerse themselves in two days of presentations that highlighted how a deep understanding of anatomy and biomechanics is not just for therapists, but should be a part of every horse owner and trainer’s education.


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