Equitation Science / Edition 1

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Written by two internationally recognised experts, Equitation Science is the first book to draw together the principles of this emerging field into a much-needed coherent source of information. The goal of equitation science is to enhance our understanding of how horses think and learn, and to use their natural behaviour to train, ride or compete with them in as fair a manner as possible. The welfare consequences of training and competing horses under different protocols are explored. Drawing on traditional and emergent techniques, this book incorporates learning theory into an ethical equine training system suitable for all levels. It also focuses on evidence-based approaches that improve rider safety.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a brilliant and extensive effort at explainingthe science behind many common correct and incorrect horsemanshipand training techniques. The first half on the science of behaviorand learning theory will not be for all readers, but for those whopersist, it builds the foundation for the second half wheremisbehaviors are dealt with from a scientific standpoint. This isan excellent addition to the scientific behavioralliterature.”  (Doddy's, 20 April 2012)

'...the book is a must for every equine veterinary practice, equinetraining and teaching institution, and anyone concerned with horseswho wants to be involved with their own individual training anddevelopment. It is a thought provoking textbook that will help thenext generation of horse owners and equine enthusiasts to considerand reconsider their training and development protocols and willprovide many others with the knowledge that what they are doing isright – and, more importantly, why it is right. Ultimatelythis book can only have a positive effect on the welfare of thehorse and on the human– equine bond.' (The Vet Journal,December 2011)

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Jonathan Hale Foreman, DVM, MS (University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine)
Description: This book was written by two expert Australian behaviorists with extensive horse industry experience.
Purpose: The purpose is to describe "the first equine-training system that is totally based on what is referred to in the behavioural sciences as 'learning theory.'" While laudable, the bold statement that "it will help to ensure that humane, proficient horsemanship becomes more prevalent" will prove difficult to measure as an outcome of this publication.
Audience: The book is intended for "horse industry personnel, and indeed everyone who spends time with horses and ponies." While the intent is to appeal to a wide section of the horse industry, some of the science described may be difficult for the novice, layman, or nonscientist. On the other hand, some of the training techniques may prove difficult to understand by the inexperienced veterinarian who may not have an extensive horsemanship background.
Features: The first half of the book is devoted to the complex sciences of behavior and learning theory. The second half, devoted more to the biomechanics, behavior, and misbehavior of horses at work, is more directly applicable immediately without as much concentrated study as the first half. The book is richly illustrated with photographs and drawings and is supplemented extensively with charts and graphs that help to explain succinctly what is described at length in the text.
Assessment: This is a brilliant and extensive effort at explaining the science behind many common correct and incorrect horsemanship and training techniques. The first half on the science of behavior and learning theory will not be for all readers, but for those who persist, it builds the foundation for the second half where misbehaviors are dealt with from a scientific standpoint. This is an excellent addition to the scientific behavioral literature.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405189057
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/27/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 879,270
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul McGreevy BVSc, PhD, MRCVS, MACVS (Animal Welfare), isAssociate Professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,University of Sydney, Australia. He is an RCVS RecognisedSpecialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine, and has a PhD inhorse behaviour. His research work and teaching in horse welfarehave been recognised by numerous international awards and he actsas a scientific advisor to many of the world’s leading animalcharities. He has a wealth of practical experience both as a ridinginstructor and an equine veterinary practitioner, and has beentraining dogs and horses since his childhood.

Andrew McLean BSc DipEd PhD is one of the world’sforemost equine behavioral practitioners and is Principal Trainerat the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre. He regularly conductsclinics in a variety of international locations, and holds a PhD inanimal neuroscience. He has represented Australia in Horse Trials,in dressage he has competed to FEI level and he has also ridden toGrand Prix and Championship level in Show-jumping. He has trainedand coached some of the world’s leading riders, trainers andcoaches, and has reformed internationally competitive horses up toOlympic Games and World Championship level.

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Table of Contents



1 The Quest for Knowledge 1

2 Cognitive Ethology 6

3 Anthropomorphism 36

4 Learning I: Non-associative 56

5 Learning II: Associative (Attractive) 70

6 Learning III: Associative (Aversive) 85

7 Applying Learning Theory 104

8 Training 128

9 Horses in Sport and Work 162

10 Apparatus 179

11 Biomechanics 198

12 Unorthodox Techniques 218

13 Fight and Flight Responses and Manifestations 225

14 Ethical Equitation 258

15 The Future of Equitation Science 265

Glossary of the Terms and Definitions and of Processes Associated with Equitation 273

References 289

Index 305

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