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Open AccessReview

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

by Melissa Starling 1,*, Andrew McLean 2,† and Paul McGreevy 1,†
Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia
Australian Equine Behaviour Centre, Broadford VIC 3658, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Kirrilly Thompson
Animals 2016, 6(3), 15;
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)
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
MDPI and ACS Style

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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