The emerging field of equitation science aims to measure and interpret interactions of the horse-human partnership and gather scientific evidence that can be used to improve the management, performance and welfare of the ridden horse.

An identified barrier to equitation science's progress is that scientists and equine practitioners tend to occupy different domains using different technical language, therefore potentially leading to confusion and lack of uptake and successful transfer of theory into practical contexts.

Education is fundamental to bridging the gap between equitation science and the larger equestrian community in order to develop an understanding and appreciation of scientific tools, terms and methodologies used in equitation science research. Degree level equitation science education is therefore essential for producing future professionals capable of encouraging sound ethical, evidence based practice within the equine sector.

Presenting at the 2014 International Society for Equitation Science conference, held Aug. 7-9 in Denmark, Natalie Waran, BSc (Hons), PhD; Gemma Pearson, BVMS, MRCVS; and Bryony Waggett, MSc, from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, identified the veterinary profession as a provider of equine medical practitioners.

“In order to bridge the gap between theory and practical application it is essential that we find ways to encourage dissemination of good practice, through knowledge transfer within both the classroom and the clinic,” Waran said.

The presenters described how the university's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Science (RDSVS) has recently integrated equitation science i