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“Girthy” Horses, the Lick & Chew, Rider Strength & More: Equitation Science Conference

I just arrived home today after a beautiful 10 days in Italy.

It was one of those trips that I could say, when asked the reason for my visit at the customs booth, was “for work,” although I feel lucky to be able to call what I do work.

The 14th Annual Conference for the International Society of Equitation Science was held this year in Rome, at a facility of the Italian military, rich with history as the training grounds of Officer Federico Caprilli, inventor of the “forward seat”, and our modern jump position in riding.

I was there to provide video and photo coverage of the event, and to learn all I could from the scientists presenting their research on horse health and behavior.

Over 52 speakers presented during the four days of the conference, and many other researchers had prepared posters to visually display their work. All were generous in discussing what their findings meant for us as horse owners and trainers.

Through the next two weeks, I will share many of my takeaways and the short interviews I did with attendees of the conference.

In this week’s collection, learn about the connection between girthy behavior and how a horse is managed, the difference in muscle engagement for the rider working at walk, trot, or canter, and the behavioral meaning of the “lick and chew”.

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