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The University of Southampton

The scientific approach to horse training

Published: 19 March 2008

Science has much to offer in advancing techniques in horse training according to Dr Debbie Goodwin, from the University of Southampton, when she examines the values of Natural Horsemanship at the 2008 National Equine Forum on Thursday 27 March.

The National Equine Forum, which is being held at The Royal Society in London, has become well known for its thought-provoking but balanced discussions on a wide range of veterinary and general equestrian matters. The Forum is the only independent conference for the horse world in the UK.

Dr Goodwin is one of the speakers, all leading experts in their fields, who will cover a range of topics from the 2008 Olympics, approaches to health and safety legislation, exotic diseases and the launch of the National Equine Database. Jonathan Shaw MP, Minister for the Horse Industry and the Princess Royal, who has been a regular attendee at the National Equine Forum since its inception in 1993, will also be speaking.

Dr Goodwin, who is a Lecturer in Applied Animal Behaviour and President of the International Society for Equitation Science, will discuss how Natural Horsemanship trainers have produced a cultural change in thinking and approach to horse:human interactions.

Natural Horsemanship refers to training and communicating with horses by understanding the horse’s behaviour and the inter-action that occurs between people and their horses. Some people are also using the term to cover the management of horses, including stabling, grazing, nutrition and hoof care.

Dr Goodwin comments:

“Equitation scientists, conventional and Natural Horsemanship trainers all aim to help people train horses more effectively. It is vital that we share our knowledge to achieve these goals, because when training fails horses suffer and may pay the ultimate price with their lives. Horses can do nothing to remedy this situation, that responsibility is entirely ours.”

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