Four students to present research in Rome at international equine conference

July 2018

Image for press release
(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Four Writtle University College equine students will be travelling to Rome in September after having their work accepted for the International Society for Equitation Science conference.

The conference, being held from 21 to 24 September, will bring together delegates from all over the world on the theme of ‘Equine welfare: good training, good feeding, good housing, good mental state, good health, good behaviour’.

The four students, who graduate this year, have carried out research on elements of horse training and their affect on horse welfare or performance.

Caitlyn Cuthbert, BSc (Hons) Equine Behavioural Science, will give an oral presentation on her research into how a horse is affected by being exercised separately on a horse walker and how an equine companion can have a positive impact in terms of equine behaviour, heart rate and heart rate variability. Earlier this year, Caitlyn won the best oral presentation prize at the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Student Animal Welfare conference for her oral presentation on the same topic.

Charlotte Melling, BSc (Hons) Equine Performance and Business Management, will present her poster looking at the importance of thoroughbred blood in four-star event horses.

Pia Hoyland-Digernes, BSc (Hons) Equine Performance and Business Management, has investigated the shock absorbency of a novel saddle pad compared with common cotton saddle pads used in the equine industry and will present a poster on her findings.

Emma Pickett, BSc (Hons) Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation, will present a poster on her research into the effect of rider handedness on rein tension in walk, trot and canter, which she analysed using a mechanical horse.

Caroline Flanagan, who heads up the Higher Education Equine programmes at Writtle University College, said: “To have four students accepted onto this conference is a real coup for us and the quality of our student dissertation work and supervision.”

There will be awards for best student poster and best oral presentation.

• To find out more about our Equine degrees, visit