New university degree on ethical equestrian training to help ‘challenge the status quo’

  • A new postgraduate equitation science degree will help graduates influence the development of ethical training policies and methods that “ultimately challenge the status quo”.

    Hartpury University, which hosted the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) conference 2022 this year, developed the course to “meet emerging equestrian challenges in both training and competition environments”.

    H&H has reported on the need for horse sport to keep its social licence to operate — essentially the public acceptance of involving horses in sport — and that part of this is demonstrating the sound ethical foundations of training and decision-making.

    The new course will use equine learning theory as a basis for “successful and ethical equitation, considering human competencies and their impact on horse welfare and wellbeing”. Human welfare will also be key, emphasising the unique relationship between human and horse.

    Hartpury University head of equine Catherine Porter said: “We’re very excited to be adding the MSc equitation science degree to our postgraduate equine roster for 2022, at a time when horse and rider welfare is at the forefront of our industry.

    “The course provides an exciting opportunity for students to focus on the practical application of equitation science in the real world, investigating the benefits of connection for both parties and developing the skills needed to promote positive affective states.

    “The programme will include a number of practical sessions and demonstrations to facilitate first-hand experience of applied equitation science and learning theory.”

    The course is one of five new postgraduate degrees being offered by Hartpury, where research is carried out also at PhD and undergraduate levels, which informs industry practice and the curriculum.

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