4th International Conference

Dublin, Ireland 2008

Conference theme - The Horse–Human Dyad: How Can We Improve Our Understanding of Equine Training, Performance and Welfare Simultaneously?

ISES Dublin 2008 took place in a most appropriate location at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) – home of the Fáilte Ireland Dublin Horse Show in the heart of Dublin city. The conference was both timely and appropriate as the horse holds a special place in the social and economic fabric of Irish culture, and Ireland is (per capita) presently the most densely equine populated country in Europe.

ISES Dublin 2008 attracted around 100 per-reviewed scientific abstracts. In total, there were 36 oral presentations and almost 50 posters were on display in the poster room. The conference was attended by more than 260 veterinarians, researchers, industry leaders, students, and horse enthusiasts from around the world.

"The main goal of the conference was to foster an enhanced understanding of how horses behave and learn, and thereafter to use their natural behaviour to train them, ride or drive them, and compete with them in as competitive but fair a manner as possible." (Jack Murphy)

The editorial board at The Veterinary Journal and Andrew Higgins PhD (Editor) kindly agreed to support ISES Dublin 2008 in the form of a Special Issue of the The Veterinary Journal, dedicated to equitation science and featuring peer-reviewed papers from the Dublin conference.

Each of the three days commenced with a high profile Plenary Speaker offering educational lectures.

  • Eric Smiley – The horse–human dyad: Practice PERFECT to PERFECT practice.
  • David Marlin PhD – The horse–human dyad: Does physical training of horses have to be attritional and can we ever resolve performance and welfare?
  • Prof. Paul McGreevy – The horse–human dyad: Can we align horse training and handling activities with the equid ethogram?

In addition to oral and poster presentations, there were 8 practical session with horses, riders and handlers at various levels of training and competition experience.

  • Lt. Col. Gerry O'Gorman and the Irish Army Equitation School
  • Alison Corbally – Horse Sport Ireland Coaching Programme
  • J. Murphy, A. McLean, P. McGreevy, F. Sheridan, P. Hanly – The use of training aids (gadgets) within equitation: Meritorious or detrimental?
  • E. Byrne, N. Quirke, J. Murphy – Para Equestrian: Extraordinary people, special horses and unequivocal equitation
  • M. Wanless – The horse–human dyad: Improving rider stability and biomechanics through coaching with sensory-specific-language
  • D. Y. Jenkins – Overcoming hidden pain in the ridden horse: Predictable patterns of myofascial dysfunction in the equine bod
  • Haubrich (M. Bromily) – Movement and reflex responses of the horses neck, withers and back
  • K. Santarova – Horse communication: A practical demonstration

Local Organizing Committee

Chair – Jack Murphy PhD

Ms Karen Hennessy (University College Dublin), Mr Joe Collins (University College Dublin), Mr Pat Hanly (Royal Dublin Society), Ms Fiona Sheridan (Royal Dublin Society), Mr Alastair Sutherland (University of Limerick), Ms Emma Murphy (Trinity College Dublin), Ms Elke Hartmann (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden)

Scientific Committee

Chair – Deborah Goodwin, University of Southampton PhD

Jack Murphy PhD (University College Dublin), Andrew McLean PhD (Australian Equine Behaviour Centre), Camie Heleski PhD (Michigan State University), Hayley Randle PhD (Duchy College, University of Plymouth), Prof Patrick Wall (University College Dublin), Prof Natalie Waran (Unitec New Zealand), Prof Paul McGreevy (University of Sydney)

Organising Secretariat

Jack Murphy PhD, School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland. Tel: 00353 87 2843070, Email: [email protected]


The Local Organising Committee and the Scientific Committee of the International Society for Equitation Science sincerely thank the following entities for their generous assistance in ensuring the success of ISES Dublin 2008.

  • School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin (UCD)
  • Royal Dublin Society
  • Irish Sport Horse
  • Horse Sport Ireland
  • Irish Army Equitation School
  • World Horse Welfare
  • Fáilte Ireland

Conference Proceedings

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