The Past, Present, and Future of Equitation Science

Through good research and communication, equitation science can continue to evolve in a positive manner with the goal of improving equine welfare and horse and rider interactions.
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Equitation science
The developing field of technological research tools is helping take the human—and, therefore, human error—out of data collection. | Photo: Photo: Courtesy BPLC Unit

Throughout the years, there’s been a lot of tension. A lot of pressure. Sometimes it’s been stressful. And occasionally, the communication hasn’t been very clear. But by applying the right theories, equitation science has resulted in positive changes for the horse-human interface.

No, not just rein tension, not just saddle pressure. Not just communication through cues, and not just learning theory. While the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) has addressed all these issues and more over its 13-year history, the organization has also dealt with its own challenges.

Tension in the face of traditional views on equitation. Pressure to have reliable data. Stress in interpreting that data objectively. Communicating results to the industry in a way that gets the real message across, without it getting misconstrued. These are all challenges that ISES has and continues to face, in the past, present, and almost certainly the future. But change is happening, says a leading equitation scientist, and the results are unquestionably positive, especially for horse welfare

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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