Welfare of the Performance Horse - (15 Credits)

Welfare of the Performance Horse is a key module for those interested in the ethical and holistic view of training horses. Students will study the horse-human dyad, behavioural factors affecting training, such as the horse’s basic needs, sensory perception, temperament, body language, emotionality and cognitive abilities, as well as investigating the effect of tack and training aids, common training methods and challenge these attitudes to develop more welfare compliant, science-based methods of training horses. Relevant technologies to measure emotive reactions such as heart rate variability, infrared thermographic eye imaging and use of ridden ethograms will provide students with objective data to monitor the effect of different training styles and interactions with the rider. Combining the science of learning theory and the awareness of affective states affecting the attitude of the horse with traditional and more innovative training methods, appropriate tack and aids, students will be able to practice more ethical and effective training with both horses and riders.