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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 the  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 multidisciplinary membership of academics, students and interested practitioners worldwide.

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

After many months working with designers and injection moulding product manufacturers, the ISES Noseband Taper Gauge is finally a reality, with 500 gauges having been manufactured, and now available to ship to you wherever you are in the world. Click through for more details and ordering.


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…


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Latest ISES News & Media Releases

The conference theme is Equine welfare: good training, good feeding, good housing, good mental state, good health, good behaviour

ISES Newsletter is now available for ISES Members from the Members section. If your membership has expired or you would like to become an ISES member, click here

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Sheila Ramsey breeds Connemara horses and instigated research into Hoof Wall Separation Disease (HWSD), a genetic hoof disease that affects ponies of the Connemara breed. In this audio she discusses how a continued, concerted social media campaign generated international momentum and resulted in policy changes by breed societies worldwide. …


In this audiocast, Assoc. Prof. Kirrily Thompson discusses why it is important to work on your relationship with your horse, remember that horse are controlled by humans. Dr Kirrily is a horse owner and a Cultural Anthropologist, with a special interest in human-horse relations. …


Barbara Paladino is an equine veterinarian who completed a PhD in equine road transportation at the University of Sydney. She currently works as a researcher at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari, Italy. She is a member of the organising committee for the 14th International Equitation Science Conference which will take place in Rome on September 21-24, 2018. In this interview with Glenys Cox from Horse Chats, Barbara explains why it is crucial to train and condition your horse in preparation to travel, as well as monitoring health during and after the journey. …