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Evolving protocols for research in equitation science.

Pierard, M., Hall, C., Kong von Borstel, C., Averis, A., Hawson, L., McLean, A., Nevison, C., Visser, K., McGreevy, P. 2015. Evolving protocols for research in equitation science. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 10, 255-266.


Within the emerging discipline of Equitation Science, the application of consistent methodology, including robust objective measures, is required for sound scientific evaluation. This report aims to provide an evaluation of current methodology and to propose some initial guidelines for future research. The value of research, especially that involving small sample sizes, can be enhanced by the application of consistent methodology and reporting enabling results to be compared across studies. This article includes guidelines for experimental design in studies involving the ridden horse. Equine ethograms currently used are reviewed and factors to be considered in the development of a ridden-horse ethogram are evaluated. An assessment of methods used to collect behavioral and physiological data is included and the use of equipment for measurements (e.g., rein-tension and pressure-sensing instruments) is discussed. Equitation science is a new discipline, subject to evolving viewpoints on research foci and design. Technological advances may improve the accuracy and detail of measurements but must be used within appropriate and valid experimental designs.