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Equitation Science 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1405189057
ISBN-10: 1405189053
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Editorial Reviews


“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.”  (Doddy's, 20 April 2012)

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

From the Back Cover

Equitation Science is one of those rare books that is going to change the way we train and manage horses forever. It brings together a fundamental understanding of the way horses think and behave and presents a system of modern training that has the welfare of the horse at its core – it must be the foundation work for the next generation of professional and amateur riders and trainers. Riders will ride better, trainers will train better and we will have happier, healthier horses.
Wayne Channon, International Grand Prix Rider

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.

I found this a very interesting and enlightening book. Equitation Science will help anyone involved with horses to understand them more and to be more effective in their training and education. The knowledge this brings to anyone involved with horses should help to make the horses’ lives easier and therefore allow the partnership between humans and equines to flourish.
Yogi Breisner, British Eventing Performance Manager

Equitation Science is an ambitious and thorough look at an enormous range of areas, approaches and factors concerning the training of horses. The authors have an underlying theme to their text of scientifically assessing and then also promoting the use of ethical and humane methods of horse training to increase all sport horses’ welfare and happiness within their sporting requirements. Equitation Science also provides an invaluable insight as to how and why what we do with our horses actually works.
Paul Tapner, Professional International Advanced Eventing Rider, Badminton CCI**** 2010 Winner


Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (August 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405189053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405189057
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For many decades, I've trained horses and people using behaviorist learning theory, the core of McGreevy and McLean's _Equitation Science_. While their presenting habituation, desensitization, and classical and operant conditioning almost as if they were NEW annoyed me, I agree with most of what these authors say. Yet I cannot recommend their book because it violates my two most sacred principles: Write with clarity and vigor and STAY OFF THE MOUTH!

Review of the WRITING in _Equitation Science_

Like many academic writers, McGreevy and McLean lean on jargon and other tired academic conventions. I teach academic writing so I'm all too familiar with this impersonal (boring), abstract (fuzzy--and boring), noun heavy (slow and ponderous--and boring) style. Using mostly verb-driven sentences, top science writers prune jargon, clarify difficult concepts, and create reader interest with specific examples, even humor. In contrast, McGreevy and McLean take freshman psychology material and grind it until it sounds like string theory, causing me to swear.

This book incited so much swearing from me, I tangentially recommend science writer Steven Pinker's Google Talk as an example of lively academic work:


This neurobiologist, psychologist, and linguist displays the style of top notch academic presentation. (Warning: the section on swearing starting around 20:07 is an academic version of George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words and almost as funny.)

For anyone interested in academic writing, I recommend _Stylish Academic Writing_ by Helen Sword.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Equitation Science is a necessary book for anyone concerned with horse welfare in any capacity.

The purpose of equitation science, which is also a new and legitimate field of study pioneered by the authors, is to take the subjectivity out of horse training particularly as it affects welfare. There is certainly an aspect of getting the best performance out of a horse possible, but it is generally assumed that the way to do that is also by maximizing the animal's welfare. The authors here are not unaware of the current problems facing the equestrian industry, and discuss at length how learning theory and the results of research can greatly alleviate many of the problems within the industry so long as people are willing to make the necessary changes.

There is nothing touchy feely in this book--the assertions and conclusions of the authors are backed by recent scientific research. As a long-time rider and pre-vet student with a great deal of interest in behavior (and, of course, welfare), this book is a treasure.

This is a science textbook, and there are parts of it that would be best suited to upper-level undergrads or graduate students. Yet there is much here for the layperson as well. The basics of learning theory as it applies to horses are simply explained and broken down into easily digestible pieces. It is only later in the book, when the authors get more technical and more into the biomechanical aspects of training horses, that it may become difficult for the layperson to fully understand.

Nonetheless, I highly recommend this book to anyone who works with or enjoys the company of horses.
Comment 11 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think the author of this book seems to think horses are very mechanical in that if you do this a specific way you will get specific results. I have ridden and trained a few horses and I believe what an old riding instructor told me that books about horses are ok as long as you write a different book for each horse. I found this book not very interesting and horses are fascinating to me. I have not been able to force myself to finish reading it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started reading this kindle e-book based on a great review on this forum. I was really impressed with the large amount of content and the detailed look at many aspects of horse training and welfare. I thoroughly agree with the precepts of the book in using what we do know in science and trying to establish if what we do with horses works within that framework. A huge dose of learning theory and clear ideas of how things should be done were helpful.
Make no mistake this book is a serious read, through most of the content I was taking about an hour to read 5%, given a few sections that one doesn't read totaling about 20% that means the book took me about sixteen hours to read. I'm a faster reader with a BSc who reads "New Scientist" for enjoyment, so it's likely a number of people will take a lot longer.
I wasn't very impressed with the Kindle formatting, there are multiple tables which are practically unreadable. The index, which comprises 8% of the book while it is a nice list of words doesn't refer back to the content. Prior to the index the References start at 84%. This is generally expected in published works, but given the format, some more effort could have been made to directly link to the prior works or research (there were 8 links). This would have also provided the book with some value above the paper copy.
Many words are hyphenated (I assume imported from the book), which isn't used for line splitting on the Kindle and results in some odd word formations 'rein-forcements'?
I noticed a lot of self referencing for the references, it would have been good to see some more independent references (that weren't used in the negative).
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