As the welfare of horses in sport and the future of these sports have never been so closely examined, the ability to provide evidence-based ethical, sustainable equitation will define horse welfare and the use of horses in sports in the future.
What Is Equitation Science?
Equitation science emerged in 2006 to combine learning theory, psychology, biomechanics and ethology to examine the salience and efficacy of horse training methods.
ES is the knowledge and application of:
- The latest technology to scientifically measure our understanding of the impact training and performance has on horses.
- How learning theory and ethology are embedded into training methodologies to enhance practice.
- Techniques/methods used in training, riding and managing horses to facilitate the advancement of horsemanship and improvement of equine welfare.
The Purpose of Equitation Science?
To understand the global horse behavioral wastage tragedy and acknowledge it as a result of unclear interactions and the sometimes impossible expectations placed on horses.
A reappraisal and restructuring of contemporary horse-training within the framework of established and empirically tested principles of learning is needed
“Equitation Science provides a fundamental understanding of the way horses think and presents a system of modern training that has the welfare of the horse at its core – it must be the foundation work for the next generation of professional and amateur riders and trainers. Riders will ride better, trainers will train better and have happier, healthier horses” - Wayne Channon, International Grand Prix Rider
Taken and adapted with kind permission from McGreevy and McLean’s (2010) Equitation Science. Wiley-Blackwell, pp271-272:
Vets Learn More About Equitation Science at National Conference
The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) dedicated a stream to Equitation Science at the 2009 Congress. Speakers included Paul McGreevy, René van Weeren, Jean-Marie Denoix plus many other experts in the newly emerged field of Equitation Science. The day was enlightening, giving vets a better understanding of the behavioural influences on training and competitive success. The interactive lively panel discussion involved clinical examples and cases which filled the dedicated equitation Science hall to capacity.
Vets Urge Focus on Equitation Welfare
“I believe Lisa is the ideal person to deliver equitation science to the veterinary universities and continuing professional development providers. Having watched Lisa lecture and teach through her clinics, I am convinced that equitation science should, and has to be introduced to every veterinary student and veterinary surgeon in the UK. Equitation science will have a massive impact on horse welfare in the UK and worldwide, and cannot be ignored.” - Wayne Ashton BVM&S GPCert(SAP) MRCVS
Here’s what the experts say…
“…Equitation Science measures only the measurable. The intense and undoubted rapport we share with our horses will continue to complement our understanding of effective approaches to training and will never be threatened by scientific findings. Far from objectifying the horse in any way, Equitation Science emphasises effective techniques, and identifies irrelevant and abusive training practices.” - Paul McGreevy, Associate Professor
“Equitation Science will help anyone involved with horses to understand them more and to be more effective in their training and education.” - Yogi Breisner, British Eventing Performance Manager