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Animals 2016, 6(3), 15;

The Contribution of Equitation Science to Minimising Horse-Related Risks to Humans

Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia
Australian Equine Behaviour Centre, Broadford VIC 3658, Australia
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kirrilly Thompson
Received: 28 October 2015 / Revised: 8 January 2016 / Accepted: 2 February 2016 / Published: 23 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
Full-Text   |   PDF [225 KB, uploaded 23 February 2016]


Equitation science is an evidence-based approach to horse training and riding that focuses on a thorough understanding of both equine ethology and learning theory. This combination leads to more effective horse training, but also plays a role in keeping horse riders and trainers safe around horses. Equitation science underpins ethical equitation, and recognises the limits of the horse’s cognitive and physical abilities. Equitation is an ancient practice that has benefited from a rich tradition that sees it flourishing in contemporary sporting pursuits. Despite its history, horse-riding is an activity for which neither horses nor humans evolved, and it brings with it significant risks to the safety of both species. This review outlines the reasons horses may behave in ways that endanger humans and how training choices can exacerbate this. It then discusses the recently introduced 10 Principles of Equitation Science and explains how following these principles can minimise horse-related risk to humans and enhance horse welfare. View Full-Text
Keywords: horse-riding; ethology; safety; equitation science; learning theory horse-riding; ethology; safety; equitation science; learning theory
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Starling, M.; McLean, A.; McGreevy, P. The Contribution of Equitation Science to Minimising Horse-Related Risks to Humans. Animals 2016, 6, 15.

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