Sunday, August 15, 2010

Equitation science discussed in Sweden

Horse welfare and rider safety can be enhanced by the application of new technology to the training of both horse and rider. That was one of the messages to come out of the 6th International Society for Equitation Science conference held recently in Sweden.

In the past few years there has been a growing interest in equitation science (the science of horse riding and horse training.) A selection of recent research, covering a wide range of topics, was presented at the conference, held this year at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala.

Presentations covered training and education of horses and riders, from both a scientific and a practical perspective, and highlighted the importance of a thorough understanding of learning theory and physical capacities of the horse to safeguard horse welfare and human safety.

The first day focused on the mental and physical capacity for training and learning in both horses and humans.

The conference, attended by almost 200 delegates, also included practical demonstrations which took place at the Swedish National Equestrian Centre at Strömsholm.

Teachers from Strömsholm and the national stud at Flyinge demonstrated their approach to teaching young riders and training horses. Scientists from SLU presented examples of ongoing research projects, and showed how emerging technologies can measure important variables such as the pressure under saddle and the distribution of lameness.

The last day focused on the latest research in the field of horse welfare and human safety and, in a final panel discussion, the conference explored how these two topics can positively affect each other.

Abstracts of the presentations are available in pdf format for (free) download from the ISES website.

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