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The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) is a not-for-profit organisation that chiefly aims to facilitate research into the training of horses to enhance horse welfare and improve the horse-rider relationship.

ISES runs international conferences that serve as platforms where latest research findings and their application in practice can be communicated and discussed. ISES also provides a pool of expertise for international bodies and academic institutions that approach ISES with questions related to horse behaviour, training and welfare.

What is Equitation Science?

Equitation science promotes an objective, evidence-based understanding of the welfare of horses during training and competition by applying valid, quantitative scientific methods that can identify what training techniques are ineffective or may result in equine suffering. Equitation science uses a multidisciplinary approach to explain horse training, for example from a learning theory perspective that removes anthropomorphism and emotiveness.

Read more about the 'Advent of Equitation Science' - by P. McGreevy

Why do we need Equitation Science and ISES?

Equitation Science has the potential to address a series of important problems. First, it elucidates the role of negative reinforcement and habituation in the learning processes of horses on which we ride and compete. Second, it addresses the need to measure rider interventions that may compromise horse welfare, which will assist the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) in determining what practices and interventions are acceptable on welfare grounds. Third, and perhaps most important, Equitation Science will educate current and aspiring riders in how best to apply the core principles of learning theory.


ISES was founded by individuals from various equine fields of knowledge in 2007. Since then, equitation science has developed rapidly, not least because of the growing worldwide interest in this area among equestrian professionals and academics alike. ISES now unites a multi-disciplinary membership of academics, students and interested practitioners worldwide.

Become a member of ISES and benefit from reduced registration fees for international conferences, the members-only area that facilitates communication among members from around the world and gives access to resource materials for teaching, keeps you informed about latest employment opportuntinities and news related to equitation and equine welfare.

Membership categories:

  • Academic Membership
  • Practitioner Membership
  • Student Membership
  • Supporter Membership
  • Corporate Membership

Head over to the ISES YouTube Channel to view videos of previous conference presentations and practical demonstrations.

The idea of founding a Society devoted to equitation science had first been raised during discussions at the Havemeyer Foundation Workshop on Horse Behavior and Welfare in Iceland in 2002. The following year, a satellite meeting on horse welfare was held at the International Society for Applied Ethology Congress in Italy. In 2004, the first workshop, solely devoted to equitation science was held at the Veterinary School of the University…


Latest ISES News

The NSW Department of Industry has awarded funding of $6,500 to the International Society of Equitation Science for the 2017 Conference in Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia.

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Applications online for Research Papers, Best Student, and Best Student Poster are now available - click here

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Registrations will be opening towards the end of February 2017 for ISES 2017 Down Under at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga NSW campus.

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