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Position statements and recommendations

1. How the International Society for Equitation Science decides on issues

  • The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) seeks to respond to ongoing as well as emergent issues and is driven by the quality of scientific evidence available.
  • ISES focuses initially on issues that are topical and where there is clear evidence of tissue damage and/or deformation or unreasonable, unnecessary or unjustifiable distress; also practices which do not align with the ISES First Principles document. For example, ISES also anticipates position statements or recommendations on irregularities and/or open wounds in mouth corners and gums, and skin tissue damage on places where horses wear gear and/or undergo pressure. To do less would be to misrepresent the ISES Mission Statement. The implementation of the ISES Mission Statement clearly insists that using horses for any material benefit to mankind must be predicated by certain constraints such as not damaging the animal’s tissues physically.
  • ISES generally prioritizes issues that are about general practice and principles rather than specific named or branded products. For example, nosebands are mentioned as an example in the ISES First Principles document, “Any conflict behaviours can easily be seen and avoided/retrained. So, nosebands and other restraining equipment should be loose enough to allow conflict behaviours to be recognised and dealt with as they emerge.”
  • ISES generally avoids commenting on gear primarily for veterinary outcomes (e.g. to reduce dorsal displacement of the soft palate).
  • ISES anticipates converting the existing statements from the letters above to position statements or recommendations.

2. The process by which issues can be brought forward/nominated to the ISES Council

  • The ISES Council considers an issue for a position statement or recommendation when an ISES Council member requests so by email to the entire ISES Council.
  • If the majority of the ISES Council members are in favour of the position statement or recommendation then the ISES Council member making the original request sends a starting document to the ISES Presidential Council, preferably with supporting material.
  • ISES members outside the ISES Council may introduce a request only via an ISES Council member.
  • This procedure can be handled by email so no time is wasted waiting for the next ISES Council meeting if there is no discussion on the matter.
  • If there is not a general consensus, the issue is discussed at the next ISES Council meeting.
  • The ISES Council can set up a schedule for issues deemed appropriate for a position statement or recommendation.
  • The ISES Council can also decide to write a position statement or recommendation on a subject after a request for an official opinion by third parties or if it is considered worthwhile to state an opinion on sudden important events in equestrianism.

There are generally two requirements for a position statement or recommendation:

  1. there should be at least two pieces of peer-reviewed evidence preferably from separate authors of practice/gear compromising horse welfare;
  2. a position statement or recommendation to assist in the translation of theory to best practice.

3. Writing the ISES position statements or recommendations

The ISES Presidential Council drafts the position statements or recommendations for circulation, possible amendment and ratification by a simple majority of the ISES Council.

  • The ISES Honorary Fellows may be called upon only in cases where the ISES Council does not achieve a majority vote.

4. Templates to guide how ISES position statements or recommendations are put together

Position statements or recommendations generally include:

  1. Title
  2. Background including links to Mission Statement and/or First Principles
  3. Position statement or recommendation
  4. Executive summary (that will appear on the website with a link to the position statement or recommendation)
  5. References
  6. Footer or something similar indicating version number and date.

5. Publishing position statements and recommendations

  • The position statements and recommendations go online at the ISES website with a disclaimer stating that the ISES views may change over time as more evidence emerges.
  • Media releases based on the position statements and recommendations will be approved by the Presidential Council.

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