Conference guidelines

If you have an interest in hosting an ISES conference, please send an email to the Presidents. 
[email protected] 


Guidelines based on ISAE Procedural Guidelines for international congresses (Procedural Guidelines (


General operational aspects


1) The ISES Council and the Local Conference Organising Committee (LCOC) should advise on amendments to this section of the guidelines where appropriate.

2) The LCOC should follow the guidelines and any deviation from them requires approval from the Council. The chair of the LCOC should participate in the bi-monthly Council meetings to inform about the plans and progress during the year preceding the conference as well as the first council meeting after the conference to present a conference report (see 15).

3) Council recognises that, with the increasing size of the Society, it may not be possible to organise and run a conference without the assistance of a professional conference organiser and other paid assistance. Council suggests that one solution to this is to include into the conference registration fee a sum that covers the cost of professional organisers and/or salaries for LCOC members who have traditionally donated their time “in-kind”.

4) English is the official ISES conference language.

5) The proposed venues and dates for conferences must be approved by Council and trustees.

6) Council has agreed that special topics or themes for the annual conference are not necessary, but the LCOC may decide to have special topics or themes, as these provide a focus, and allow the review and raising of the profile of certain topics. If the LCOC decides on special topics these should be approved by Council.

7) Conferences usually do not run parallel sessions, but the LCOC may choose to schedule two parallel sessions after discussion with and agreement by Council. Whilst it is not appropriate to establish rigid rules, Council suggests that oral presentations should not be shorter than 12 min + 3 min discussion.

8) An appropriate venue and time periods must be allocated for the display of posters. The LCOC should strive to produce a poster forum that allows presenters to expand verbally upon their poster and permit questions and discussions with interested parties.

9) Oral and poster presentations are for the presentation of material from scientific research.

10) The ISES website offers the opportunity to host conference information and collect registrations and abstracts. Costs associated with use of the ISES website will be covered by ISES funds. However, should the LCOC prefer to create their own website, registration and abstract system this is also possible and costs should be included into the conference budget. Production of the conference proceedings is the responsibility of the LCOC and costs should be included into the conference budget.

11) It is a matter for the LCOC whether they wish to invite particular speakers (other than the Clever Hans Lecturer) and whether they should be paid a fee, or expenses, or be remunerated in some way.

12) It is a matter for the LCOC whether they wish to arrange a practical day/session, an excursion to a relevant horse facility or similar. The plans for such events should be approved by council (see also Appendix I).

13) The holding of workshops on specific issues is encouraged, particularly as these provide a venue at which very recent data can be presented for discussion. This type of forum also allows for presentation of material relating to equitation science, but which is not of a scientific research nature, such as teaching, communication and ethics.

14) Communication of research results is an important part of the ISES mission and the LCOC is encouraged to follow the media guidelines outlined in Appendix II.

15) Within two months from the end of the conference, the LCOC should forward to Council the following information: the number of abstracts received and accepted, the numbers of oral and poster presentations, a list of abstract reviewers used, the number of conference attendees, divided into ISES members and non-members, and student members and non-members, the number of countries represented by the attendees, the number of attendees for specific workshops and other events, number of virtual attendees, a list of featured presenters (keynotes, plenaries, panels, practical day presenters, etc), a comprehensive finalized budget including total sponsorship dollars raised, expenses and revenues, and any other information that may be useful to organisers of future conferences. The Senior Vice President is responsible for collecting this information.

16) To avoid confusion, it is recommended that the website for only one conference is ‘live’ at any time – thus the website for the following conference may be launched at the closing ceremony of the current conference, but not before.


Abstracts, presentations and proceedings


1) Abstracts are collected either through the ISES website or through another system as preferred by the LCOC as indicated above (10). Production and printing of proceedings are part of the conference budget.

2) Abstracts must be submitted as described in the Abstract Submission Standard (Appendix III). Abstracts on topics that do not fit within the scope of the Society or that do not comply with the standards will not be accepted.

3) Authors of abstracts should not be made known to referees (i.e. abstracts should be sent to referees without the author(s) name(s) on the document).

4) Each abstract will be reviewed by at least two referees and according to the Guide for Reviewers, which, also, asks reviewers to consider any ethical issues associated with the work (Appendix IV).

5) Decisions on how to handle ethically dubious abstracts are left to the LCOC, which may take advice from the Senior Vice President (SVP). In order that abstract acceptance is not jeopardised as a result of time delays, it is essential that the SVP be contacted at the earliest opportunity to allow full discussion of the issues to take place and for the SVP to obtain further information from the authors if necessary.

6) The LCOC should select abstracts that are indicative of high-quality science.

7) The LCOC has the final decision as to the form of presentation for an abstract (e.g. poster, short oral, plenary etc.). If the abstract quality is acceptable but, because of programming restrictions, it is not possible for authors to give an oral presentation, authors should have the opportunity to present their work as a poster.

8) Whilst abstract quality is a key consideration, it may be difficult to produce a logical and coherent program based on this criterion only. Consequently, it may be necessary also to select abstracts on the basis of subject in order to program subject-related sessions.

9) Each presenting author may present only one oral paper as first author (multiple presentations on behalf of students are allowed). The intentions of this ‘rule’ are to encourage the author to select the best of their pieces of work and to permit as many different people as possible to make a presentation.

10) Presenters must be registered for the conference for abstracts to appear in the proceedings.

11) At any time, the LCOC may request the assistance of the SVP in difficult situations related to abstract acceptance or revision.

12) Abstracts should be provided to conference participants in the form of proceedings, which may be printed or in electronic form.

13) As soon as possible after the conference, the conference proceedings should be posted online via the ISES website under ‘past conferences’. Prior to this, hard copies may be sold with an announcement made about their availability via the ISES-list/ISES Facebook group and the ISES website.

14) As soon as possible after the conference, officially recorded material should be forwarded to the ISES media officer and ISES maintains ownership of all video and audio recordings.


Student competition


1) A student competition is to be held and the ISES Research Officer is responsible for organising the running and judging of it.

2) Two prizes are awarded for this competition, one for the best student oral presentation and one for the best student poster. The prizes are free base registration for a future ISES conference (covered by the Society’s funds). The LCOC may wish to provide an additional small gift for each prize-winner to be met from conference funds.


Clever Hans Lecture


1) The Clever Hans lecturer is funded by ISES with up to GBP 400 per year to help cover travel and other costs.

2) The LCOC is encouraged to favour persons of eminence in their field who would not normally contribute to an ISES conference, who may or may not be ISES members, and who can both inspire and provoke the members of the ISES on subjects relating to equitation science.

3) The LCOC proposes at least two (preferred and reserve) potential speakers to ISES Council. If accepted by Council, the LCOC is responsible for contacting the speaker and making the necessary arrangements. If the identified speaker is unable to accept, then the reserve speaker is contacted. When the speaker agrees, budget details for attendance should be agreed. The LCOC contacts the ISES Treasurer to request the funds. In the case of a shortfall (i.e. the budget is greater than GBP 400) the extra costs should be covered by the conference budget.  


Loans, sponsorship and exhibition fees


1) Council welcomes the acquisition of sponsor money as long as it does not influence the rules of selection of papers or speakers, and lectures are not named after companies, and the general spirit of the conference is not affected.

2) Exhibition fees will be at the discretion of the LCOC to cater for local conditions and membership of the Society does not imply a discount for commercial activities at the conference.

3) The LCOC are encouraged to try to obtain funding/sponsorship to support “local” applicants wishing to attend conferences, especially those from ‘developing regions’ close to where the conference is being held.

4) The LCOC can request a cash advance from the ISES account to cover early conference expenditures, which is to be refunded at the conclusion of the conference.

5) The cash advance is limited to a maximum of GBP 3000 and can be obtained up to 2 years in advance of the conference.

6) The request for funds is to be made by the LCOC to the Treasurer, who consults with the Senior Vice President to make a decision and the Treasurer then transfers the funds.


Budget and registration fees


1) ISES does not usually underwrite conferences organised jointly between various organisations/universities and in such cases, the organisations/universities are expected to meet any losses, and any profits will go to them and not to ISES.

2) The LCOC is strongly encouraged to reduce the costs of the conference as far as possible, including the costs of social events, such as the conference dinner, in order that student members can participate. This may be achieved by selecting modest venues and perhaps subsidising the conference dinner for students.

3) To encourage membership, it is recommended that registration fees for conferences are lower for ISES members than for non-members. The LCOC is asked to check with the ISES Membership Secretary that delegates who register as ISES members are paid-up Society members and if not, to require them to pay the higher non-member registration fee.

4) Students and Honorary Fellows should be offered a reduced registration fee, but the amount of the reduction is decided by the LCOC.

5) Council recommends that at least one international journalist is offered free registration, which should be covered by the conference budget. In addition, the LCOC may decide on free registration for local journalists.

6) Members of the LCOC should be entitled to free registration, although the ability to provide this may depend upon levels of sponsorship and the desire to keep registration fees low.

7) The LCOC should arrange with accommodation providers that delegates booking conference accommodation pay only a deposit (rather than the full cost) at the time of booking. If this is not possible, organisers should clearly state on the Conference website that full payment will be taken at the time of booking.

8) The LCOC should strive to make the budget of the conference balance, or make a small profit from the conference.

9) At Council’s discretion, small losses (up to GBP 3000) may be covered by the Society. ISES may, in exceptional circumstances (e.g. the cancellation of the conference), cover any loss a conference may have up to a maximum of GBP 10,000 or half of the ISES’s reserves, whichever is less, as determined annually in the Treasurer’s report to the AGM. If the conference makes a profit, the money should go to the ISES general account and should be transferred within three months of completion of the conference.

10) Each year, within three months after completion of a conference, the Senior Vice President shall, after consultation with the Treasurer, advise, in writing, the LCOC of the next conference of the amount to which ISES is underwriting the conference (i.e. agreeing to cover losses, if necessary). This timing of the decision ensures that two conferences are not underwritten simultaneously.

11) In the event of late cancellation of a conference e.g. as a consequence of a disease outbreak or acts of terrorism, ISES retains the right (by ‘force majeure’) to retain conference registration fees to cover outstanding expenses, if absolutely necessary.





Appendix I


The Objectives of Practical Workshops and Demonstrations at ISES Conferences

ISES prides itself on providing a forum for debate and discussion relating to the practical elements of training, riding, driving, managing and competing horses. Practical demonstrations and workshops are an ideal means for provoking thought and addressing specific issues as well as providing an immersive, real experience to underpin the theoretical elements of the scientific conference programme. In order to differentiate the practical experiences provided at ISES conferences, the ISES Council have developed guiding principles and stipulated that the objectives of ISES practical demonstrations should be:

  • To showcase the latest technology that enables scientific measurements that enhance understanding of the impact that training and performance have on horses
  • To provide a respectful and constructive forum for discussion of techniques/methods used in training, riding and managing horses
  • To demonstrate the way in which learning theory and ethology are embedded into training methodologies and
  • To enhance practice through demonstrating the incorporation of 10 training principles

The Training Principles – Principles of learning theory in equitation

ISES Training Principles (


Further recommendations:

ISES Working Party aim: To provide guidelines for the running of practical demonstrations at conferences


The working party was made up by Denise Rofe, Kate Fenner and Cristina Wilkins.


We outline here the basic guidelines to provide to LCOCs that wish to organise a practical day of demonstrations.


The most important recommendation is to establish a moderator panel of (3) experts that will advocate for the horses’ health, welfare and safety during the demonstration/s, as well as facilitate the learning outcomes for the humans attending.


Practical Demonstrations, Aims and guidelines:


As a scientific society, ISES is not in the business of ‘entertainment’. The Practical Day is an educational opportunity for the delegates, not a ‘show’. Demonstrations should never aim to produce an actual (training) 'outcome’ but, rather showcase best practice and the aims of the society.

Each demonstration should provide a clear ‘take-home’ message - something practical that attendees will be able to use at home.


Every demonstration should clearly reflect the First Principles of Horse Training, for example,


  • Demonstrate how they are incorporating learning theory into the demonstration.
  • Demonstrate how horse and rider welfare and safety can be monitored and enhanced during sessions.
  • Show how equitation science has improved upon the practical exercise (for example, using an ethogram or heart rate monitor to recognise stress, rein sensors to monitor lightness and self-carriage, etc).


Before being selected, the demonstrators should provide the organisers a detailed framework of their demonstration: Aims, Materials, Methods they will use, results they expect. As well as the relevance of their demonstration in regard to the First Training Principles. In addition, we recommend that LCOC ask for video footage of their proposed presentation or their work in advance.



All practical demonstrations must be moderated by a panel of experts designated by ISES in collaboration with the LCOC. A minimum of three people would be appropriate. Demonstrators must always follow the moderator’s guidance and suggestions. The moderator’s say will override all others.


The moderators' main role is to advocate for the horses’ health, safety and welfare during the demonstration.

They should set an example of how horse welfare can be monitored and protected during interactions with humans. (And always give the horse the benefit of the doubt.)

Demonstrators should know that the moderators can steer and/or stop their demonstration at any time.


Moderators should also facilitate, where necessary, the dissemination of the educational aspects of the demonstration to the audience, explain, clarify, expand and return to the training principles when needed. (Basically, they can stop the show to explain what’s happening, or ask the demonstrator to explain something.)

The moderators should know in advance as much about the demonstration as possible - review the framework provided to the LCOC, meet with the person, the horses, the venue, discuss what will be happening, watch them working, etc… and they should question and verify that the horses selected are suitable, venue, preparation, equipment, etc…


Other recommendations:

Attendees should go away with some written material - or be emailed such material - explaining learning theory, e.g. the training principles, learning processes, etc.


Appendix II


BEFORE and DURING the previous conference

1) Announcement of the conference (location, dates, theme if available). Not less than 9 months before the conference.

Format: Media release (and promo video?)

Distribution: Email lists, Social media posts and website (basic information that can be published on the website as an advertisement). 

Material: Media release text (see attached template), photos, video (of venue and location as people may want to know about other places they can visit before or after the conference)

2) Presentation and possibly advertising material to hand out during the previous conference

Timing: To be available at the conference

Format: PowerPoint presentation and possibly printed or printable material to hand out (pdf that can be printed).

Distribution: Handouts, email list and social media. 

Material: Flyer or brochure style. (Why they need to save the date - What they can look forward to - location, theme, Keynote speakers, key dates - abstract submission dates etc… 

3) Key information that can be added to all conference-related MRs 

Timing: So it can be added to pre-conference MRs as soon as it’s available. 

Format: short text with key information - dates, venue, theme and website URL (even if there is limited information we should have a tab on the website for people looking around). 

Distribution: added to each previous conference MR and social media posts 

Material: This text can be excerpts from what was submitted in 1 and 2. 

AFTER the previous conference

4) Start promoting the conference URL, theme, keynote speakers and key dates - Absolute minimum number 3 media releases but the more the merrier. 

Timing – every time there is new information added to the website we should accompany this with an email to the mailing list and social media post - Basically the more emails we can send the better - keep in mind that attention is high at the time of the previous conference - i.e., before, during and after - then it will wane around Xmas and then we have to build it up again. 

Format: Media release - or announcement style (e.g. “check out the website for new information on accommodation options” or “abstract submission is now open” etc…) 

Distribution: Website, email list, social media post. 

Material: Photos, text, videos, media release - as relevant. 

Ideas for media release topics: 

  • Save the date (why save the date? how will I benefit from going?)
  • Plan your trip (travel, accommodation, tourism, etc.)
  • Key Dates - particularly abstracts, early bird etc… 
  • Theme of conference (why was it chosen? What does it mean?)
  • Keynote speakers (who they are, why they were invited, what they will talk about)
  • Clever Hans lecture, Workshops and other interesting activities at conference (practical demo)
  • Student travel grants, Student prizes  


DURING and AFTER the conference 

5) Media releases about selected conference presentations

Timing: Two or three media releases to be distributed during the days of the conference then another four in the weeks after the conference. 

Format: Media release approx 500 words following the template and ISES procedure for topic selection and approval process. 

Distribution: email, website and social media 

Material: Approved text on ISES template (approval from author, LCOC and Presidential council). 

Please inform the ISES media team who from the LCOC will be involved in any media, public relations and advertising. The Presidential Council are kept in the loop so we all know what each of us is doing. 


Appendix III

Abstract Submission Standard*

[*Details on abstract length etc. can be changed by the LCOC]

The LCOC must ensure that the following information is available to prospective authors:

  • Abstracts must present information that falls within the scope of the ISES
  • Abstracts presenting both theoretical and empirical work related to equitation science will be considered for presentation at the ISES Conference
  • Abstracts must contain a clear statement of the purpose of the work, the methods used, the results, and conclusions. Results should be presented in sufficient detail to support the conclusions drawn. In addition, the abstract should include a brief lay person’s message, which summarizes the main results of the study in a way that can easily be understood by practitioners. Except for theoretical contributions and review papers (such as plenary papers), submitted abstracts must contain data, indicate the method(s) of analysis, and provide information about test statistics
  • Abstracts must not exceed 3000 keystrokes (incl. spaces) in length, including the lay person’s message (approx. 300 keystrokes), but excluding title, names and affiliation.
  • The first name of authors, not just initials, should be given
  • Reviewers will be advised to reject empirical abstracts that do not contain data, since it is very difficult to evaluate the suitability of these abstracts for presentation
  • Although authors may submit multiple abstracts, each presenting author may present only one spoken paper, or one poster (not both a paper and a poster). Therefore, the LCOC will accept only one if an author submits multiple abstracts as the presenting author
  • The required formatting and layout of the abstract (the use of a template should be considered) including how references should be given; ordinarily references are not cited in abstracts, however, if given, they should be placed in the text of the abstract in the following format: (Jones & Swanson, Appl. Anim. Ethol. 14:23, 1980)
  • A statement by which authors must confirm that the work described in the abstract conforms with the ISES Aims and Mission
  • A checklist of potential ethical issues associated with the work reported in the submitted abstract
  • A place where authors can provide additional information about their work in case it involves ethical issues
  • A place where authors can indicate whether they wish their presentation to be considered for the student presentation competition
  • A place where authors can nominate their preferred form of presentation of their work (e.g. plenary paper, short oral paper, or poster)
  • A place where authors can give their consent to have their presentation video recorded or live-streamed.



Appendix IV

Guide for Reviewers of Abstracts

Reviewers are requested:

  1. a) To be brief and succinct in their feedback
  2. b) To make suggestions that improve English and comprehension
  3. c) To check the following:
  • Abstracts are approximately 3000 keystrokes or fewer in length (the LCOC will check exact numbers)
  • They contain the aim of the work, methods, results and conclusions
  • That data are given (unless the paper is a review or totally theoretical) together with method of data analysis and information on test statistics
  • That the conclusions are consistent with the results
  • Any potential ethical issues. If the reviewer has ethical concerns, the ISES Senior Vice president should be contacted for advice. ISES follows the ethical guidelines from the International Society for Applied Ethology Ethical Guidelines (

Reviewers are requested to recommend:

1) whether the abstract should be accepted, rejected or whether further information is required before a decision can be made. If the decision is made to reject the abstract, reasons should be given.

2) the form of presentation most suited for the abstract (e.g. plenary paper, short oral or poster presentation).