Horse Behaviour & Psychology

equitation science, how to horses learn, learning theory horses, tania millen, international society for equine science ises

What is it and how can it help horses and riders? Riders train horses to act in ways they deem positive, whether it’s jumping a jump, walking down a trail, or performing movements in an arena. But to train horses effectively and safely, riders, trainers, and coaches must understand how they learn and react. Over the past 15 years, equine scientists have researched the learning theory of horses — how horses process, retain knowledge, and learn. Equitation science applies this evidence-based learning theory of horses to horse training, and explains horse behaviour based on horses being horses – without attributing human emotions, ways of thinking, or behaviour, to them. It’s a burgeoning field that is changing the way many riders and trainers think and act.

ISES research on bits, do horses like wearing bits, stress in horses, international society for equitation science conference

New research has found that introducing the bit to a young horse for the first time can be a stressful process for them. However, this stress could be difficult for most people to identify, as the horse may not show visible stress behaviours.

stalled horses impact health, are horses okay isolated, alice ruet equine science mark andrews, housing horses in individual boxes

Horses are commonly housed in individual boxes. While this may be convenient and prevent injuries from other horses, it may also be detrimental to the horse’s welfare, especially if access to pasture is limited. A paper by Alice Ruet and colleagues investigated the effect of various management practices on the display of behavioural indicators of compromised welfare in housed horses.

how to use a horse whip, whip usage equestrian sports, british show jumping, hartpury college conference, equine guelph on whips

Whip use in equestrian sports is currently a highly debated topic across the industry. Two presenters, Jane Williams and Kirstin Spencer, at the 15th Annual International Equitation Science Conference held at the University of Guelph, Ontario, shared insight on whip use and its perception in riding sports. Previous research has focused mainly on whip usage in the racing industry; however, it is necessary to evaluate all disciplines in order to effectively address whip usage concerns and any welfare issues.

heavy rider horse, does my weight affect horse riding, hartpury college, horse psychology, horse behaviour

Equine behavioural and physiological responses to rider weight increases - New research should help shed more light on how increased rider weight may affect a horse during exercise under saddle, looking at lower rider:horse weight ratios, which are more common for warmblood horses.

Jonathan Field, Jonathan Field Purpose Camp, Build Confidence in Your Horse, Cone on a Barrel horse exercise, horse jump over log, improve technical horse skills, horse obstacles, increase confidence in horse

By incorporating lots of variety into our lives with horses, we create purpose. Purpose gives meaning to the everyday exercises that, if overdone, can make a horse sour. But with variety and purpose, we and our horses can both build confidence and have a lot of fun!

how does a horse show stress, university of guelph equine research, katrina merkies equine guelph

How can you tell when a horse is feeling stressed? It’s all in the eyes and the way their eyelids twitch, University of Guelph researchers have discovered. A horse will blink less and twitch its eyelids more when it’s under mild stress, the research team found – a new finding that could offer handlers a simple, easy-to-spot sign their animal is becoming agitated.

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