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  • Writer's pictureAmy Haldane


I promised myself I'd write more about the ISES ( International Society of Equitation Science) Conference that Disa and I attended at the end of November so finally here it is! Loved going back through the photos and proceedings to see how much information and fun was packed into a few days.

Conference was at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga – and hats off to all the staff and organisers for making it a really wonderful and welcoming experience. There were attendees from over 17 different countries and most states of Australia of which there was a great mix of presenters, researchers, practitioners and people

like myself whom are just interested in what’s going on in the equine world.

The theme of the Conference was “ Equitation Science in Practice : Collaboration, Communication and Change, which was selected to reflect global recognition of the need for change within the Equine Industry.

After a meet and greet the night before, Day One Kicked off around “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” reflecting on the past and early research (ers) , moving through a range of engaging talks Looking at the future, overviews of the equine industry, where science is at now, the current scientific limitations, the use of technology and the desire to find ways to effectively communicate to produce change. The scientists did a great job of presenting their research to us “ average” humans in engaging and hilarious ways. They have realised to get the message across to the people on the ground is important – otherwise the research becomes something lost in a scientific journal.

Day Two there was an opportunity to see Equitation Science in practice – educating humans and horses. Slapping on a huge amount of sunscreen we all braved the 34 degree heat , melting and sweating our way around the university’s’ horse facilities to watch some practical demos : Foundation training of 3 week old thoroughbred foals, Learning theory and training of young riders and Handling and training for hoof trimming. We were able to cool down a bit afterwards with the “Cork and Fork” festival in Wagga Wagga where we got to network and chat horses a bit more!

Stuck in my brain from Day 3 is the paper - “ Do you understand me or should I shout louder?, Bringing about human behavioural change in the equine industry. Over the day we delved into overviews of industry, welfare issues, human and horse behavioural change, which opened up some amazing discussions on how does science do its bit to promote change, how we can influence change, what things inhibit change and how to effectively communicate the need for change.

We got wined and dined, laughed, danced, debated, asked lots of questions, listened and learnt, met some incredibly interesting people from all over the world and honestly I felt like my brain was going to melt out of my ears at the end of each day ( it wasn’t just the heat) . Disa and I also managed to sprinkle a little bit of Icelandic horse magic around the conference. Luckily because of the group dynamic many people were well aware of the awesomeness of the breed and there were also some icelandics being used in the research presented ( from Sweden), but it was great to be able to come away with some new friends and contacts.

I was so happy to get my nerd and LOVED spending three days hanging around a heap of other people just as interested in how Science can help to make the lives of horse and humans better. Next ISES conference is in ROME 2018

Thankyou to Disa for suggesting I go along and massive congratulations to all involved!

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