Extrinsic Factors Affecting Equine Performance - (15 credits)

Equine performance can be influenced by a variety of external factors that must be considered when evaluating any horse’s welfare. In this module, students will study the body language of horses, including behavioural indicators of stress and pain, as well as how their perception of the surrounding environment and motor laterality can influence performance. Students will also gain an understanding of key learning theory concepts, and how these can be incorporated into scientific training plans, including ridden and in hand work. Objective methods of assessing welfare in performing horses will focus on tack and management issues and what we can do to maximise welfare using evidence-based practice. The second half of this module investigates the influence of the rider on the horse, including position, asymmetry and fitness. Tack fit, surfaces and other training equipment will be studied to evaluate their effects on gait patterns and performance enhancing/limiting effects, so that students have the ability to assess horses under saddle and in hand and provide suitable recommendations to improve movement and performance by looking at the current research and evidence available to scientifically measure these variables.