Course curriculum

The horse industry in the UK is a lucrative economic sector representing communities including sport and leisure riders. Since humans learned to control horses, horse riding has been embedded in interspecies power relations in which the agency of the horse is constrained and equal co-creation of a human-horse community is excluded. Now primarily practised for sport or leisure, questions around the sustainability of horse riding, and how this might provide a ‘good life’ in terms of animal welfare, arise from the perspective of interspecies social justice in which horse riding poses ethical questions of power, exploitation, care and wellbeing. As members of an interspecies moral community, both horses and humans should be included in attempts to define and provide a ‘good life’. However the horse training principles which underpin the ability of riders to engage in equestrian activities are poorly understood in application, and scant research has attempted to understand whether focusing on horses as individuals, telling their stories of lived experiences, or the meanings made by humans in their interactions with horses, contribute to interspecies construction of a good life. There is growing interest in riders understanding the horse they engage with and how they can provide for the mental wellbeing of this domesticated species. At the same time, factors such as emphasis on competition success in a shorter time scale militate against this concern. Multispecies research methodologies may facilitate in-depth exploration of horse-human relationships, the perspectives shared in interspecies encounters and the sustainability of currently-practised equestrian activities; however the interdisciplinarity of ethnography, phenomenology and ethological observation present a methodological challenge. This must be resolved in order to understand how the various constructs of horse riding, and how we contain, restrain and train horses, impact on horse welfare and licence to operate within the horse industry. Debbie will summarise a selection of qualitative methodologies, methods and findings to date as they relate to her research questions: How do horses experience being trained and ridden, and how can this be explored? What meaning do humans make in their encounters with horses in the riding and training contexts? How do human-constructed perspectives on horse riding and training impact on equine wellbeing?

    1. Information

    2. Recording

    3. Course Completion - Feedback

    4. Certificate of Attendance

About this course

  • Free
  • 4 lessons
  • 1.5 hours of video content

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