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Keynote speakers for equitation science conference announced

arena-stockAnimal stress and sustainable training are among the wide-ranging issues to be discussed by keynote speakers at this year’s International Equitation Science Conference in Denmark.

The conference, organised by the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES), will be held  from August 7-9.

The organisers say the programme for the conference includes a range of papers encompassing many aspects of equestrianism, from horse husbandry and care to high level performance.

The scientific sessions will start with plenary sessions from world leaders in their field.

An introduction to animal stress: From Selye to Sapolsky.

Mette Herskin is one of the pioneers in the study of behavioural expressions of pain and nociceptive thresholds across animal species. Throughout this session delegates will learn from the original ideas leading to the current notion of animal stress as Herskin presents the “fathers” of stress.

Hormones as indicators of equine stress: Assessment of Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal axis (HPA axis) responses in horses.

Stress responses play an important role in allowing animals to cope with challenges. Dr Rupert Palme is a world-leading researcher whose main focus has been the metabolism and excretion of glucocorticoids as well as the development and validation of (EIAs) for their quantification. In his session Palme will explain the proper application of available, non-invasive techniques to monitor equine stress hormones in horses.

Stress, dopamine and the horse brain – implications for learning and training.

Sebastian McBride PhD works at the University of Cambridge developing cognitive tests as markers for normal and abnormal brain function in large animals. McBride will explain how a horse’s learning characteristics are affected by changes in dopamine levels in the brain. Hewill discuss the implications of these changes from a training perspective and how dopaminergic tone and basal ganglia functionality can potentially be managed in the horse.

Objectivity in dressage judging: New horizons that arise from learning theory.

In a session aimed at bridging the gap between science and practice, ISES Senior Vice President Andrew McLean PhD will dissect the German Training Scale from the various viewpoints of a scientific appraisal of shaping (the scalar approximation of a precise response). He will also introduce an alternative judging scale that arises from a more empirical approach to an analysis of trained responses that can be employed in basic form in all equestrian sports.

Sustainable training and riding: Preparing horses for sportive activities.

Arno Lindner PhD leads an independent research group devoted to examining how to best diagnose performance and guide the training of sport horses. Linder will raise several points for debate regarding the way sport horses are trained and used today.

More information and registration details here

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