ISES Conference Kicks off July 18

The 9th International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) conference, this year located in the United States, kicks off Thursday, July 18, and continues through July 20. This year's conference theme is “Embracing Science to Enhance Equine Welfare and Horse-Human Interactions,” and The Horse staffers will be in attendance to bring you all the latest equitation science news and research.

Conference co-chair, Camie Heleski, PhD, said, “This conference is open not only to scientists in the field of equitation science, but practitioners who hope to enhance their understanding of the field. If you are a horse trainer, lesson instructor, veterinarian, farrier or other equine practitioner with a passion for enhancing the welfare of horses in their interactions with humans, this is the conference for you! You will have three days to interact with like-minded participants, and I assure you, you will leave the conference motivated to spread the word and learn more about how the correct application of learning theory (training psychology) can enhance the welfare of horses and the safety of those who work with them.”

The conference will feature keynote addresses on varying themes, including "Advancing Evidence Based Practice and Learning in Equitation" and "What About the Other 23 hours?" among others.

The former lecture will be co-presented by Natalie Waran, BSc (Hons), PhD, and Hayley Randle, PhD. Waran explains, "Examples of our reliance on dogma, or 'the way it was always done' can be found in almost every profession, even when those practices are contradicted by new and improved information, and where there are obvious risks to the health and welfare of those involved.

"The challenge and opportunity for equine practitioners is to embed a new tradition of equine management, training, and performance based upon evidence gained through rigorous use of the scientific method, understanding of the application of learning theory and a recognition of the importance of an ethical sustainable approach to the use of the horse," she says.

Later, Jan Ladewig, DVM, PhD, will address "What About the Other 23 hours? How does what we do during the other hours when we are not training impact behavior and welfare?" Ladewig says, "Undoubtedly, the best thing we can do to improve the welfare for numerous riding horses is to change housing conditions from individual housing to group housing. However, a range of research is needed on how riding horses are kept, how often they get out on pasture, how much they locomote, etc., before we will be able to convince horse owners that such a change actually is an improvement for the horses welfare."

For more information on the 2013 ISES conference, visit

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