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What is Equitation Science?

The application of scientific methods to assess objectively the welfare of horses undergoing training.

In Wikipedia: Equitation science is defined as "the application of scientific methods to assess objectively the welfare of horses undergoing training. It promotes an evidence-based understanding of horse-rider interactions. 

The goal is to apply valid, quantitative scientific methods to identify what training techniques are ineffective or painful, and to improve the horse-rider relationship by explaining horse training from a learning theory perspective that removes anthropomorphism and emotiveness. It can aid the training process by clarifying the roles of positive versus negative reinforcement, punishment, and by identifying stimuli that provoke unwanted responses or pain in horses. Equitation science uses psychological principles such as learning theory as well as equine ethology and biomechanics. It uses objective measures to score performance during training and competitions and identifies techniques that may result in equine suffering.

Recent technological advances have now made it possible to measure the strength of a rider’s signals. Thus, riding concepts such as ‘contact’ and ‘lightness’ can now be evaluated with calibrated rein tension gauges, or via spurs and riding boots made from pressure-sensitive material. Radiographic studies can give insights into the horse’s mouth – the position of different bit types and positional changes in response to rein tension. Measuring pressures beneath the saddle on the horse’s back is valuable for assessing saddle fit and to circumvent back problems caused by ill-fitting saddles. 

Equitation science uses physiological measurements such as heart rate, blood, urine and saliva analyses to evaluate the comfort and stress level of the horse. It also evaluates behavioural indicators of ineffective horse-rider communication and conflict such as teeth grinding, tail swishing, rearing or bucking. Using a multidisciplinary scientific approach that involves veterinarians, animal and behavioural scientists, psychologists, engineers, and professional riders and trainers, equitation science encourages the use of appropriate training techniques that result in fewer injuries and behavioural problems, enhance the horses’ lifespan and the safety of both horse and rider.

Bec Kerr Equitation Science

Negative Reinforcement (Pressure-Release) is the primary training method in Equitation Science, followed or paired by Positive Reinforcement


The services I offer using Equitation Science:

Starting Horses and Foundation Training
Behavioral Issues
Schooling for Dressage or Jumping.

Bec gives lessons to all ages and capabilities

Holds A and H Certificate.

Trains using Equitation Science- Holds Diploma in Equitation Science.

2017 National Amatuer Show Hunter Champion.

Bec enjoys coaching SH or SJ from young/green horses through to experienced horses and has an eye for detail with both rider position and horses way of going.

  • Having issues steering, refusing, running out or rushing fences?


Bec groomed/rode for Grand Prix Dressage rider Jody Hartstone and developed a useful eye on the ground for dressage training and developing the young horse.

Young Horses are a specialty and using Equitation Science training methods teach horses and owners good basics in hand and under saddle

Problem horses: Bucking, rearing, napping. Bec can help riders re train their horses and get them well on the way

  • Flatwork

  • Jumping for dressage (polework)

  • Working Equitation

  • Show Jumping

  • Show Hunter

  • Problem Solving

  • Young Horses


Price $60 per lesson

All lessons are given at Maungatua Equestrian 188 Loan Metal Road, Momona.

Any questions feel free to give Rebecca Kerr a call on 0273797817.

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