Conference themes and plenary speakers

Every year an international conference has been held, since the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) was established in 2004. Over the past 20 years we have been driving applied research to help improve the welfare of horses in their interactions with humans – specifically in training, management and performance, and promoting it to make it accessible so that it can be used across the wider equestrian sector. 

The ISES conference is unique in that applied scientists sit alongside practitioners and equine industry organisations. Research is often driven by the needs/experience of the practitioners and equine industries/equestrians can make use of the research findings and provide comment on them.

The conference is in New Zealand for the first time since ISES was founded, and in 2024 picks up the theme of the vision proposed to the FEI by the Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission of A Good life for Horses, picking up on the key priority areas identified through the Commission’s surveys of equestrians and research-  including tack & equipment, riding and training and the other 23 hours of the horse’s life.

This is an exciting opportunity for New Zealand to be at the forefront of promoting this vision with some international experts who are ‘big names’ in the field of equitation science attending and sitting alongside equestrians to try and make sure that research is relevant, provides answers and helps with driving a good life for horses.

We have some great international and local sponsors for the conference: World Horse Welfare and Winning Form: Thoroughbred Assessment are the main conference co-sponsors, with Hong Kong Jockey Club sponsoring the field day along with the NZTB Racing, and the FEI sponsoring the Conference technology.

The Conference Programme has international focus with 5 Plenary Speakers from across the world, and many more invited shorter presentations.

It will be over 3 days (day 1 and 3 are presentation days). Plenaries are from around the world, will talk about the latest research, and each plenary is followed up by a number of shorter research papers. Sessions will be recorded so that they will be made available to those who cannot be there.

The second day of the conference explores A Good Life for Horses by taking delegates on a field day, in Cambridge a collaboration of polo, SJ, Cambridge stud, and event Stars. There will be an exercise looking through the lens of how would you assess a good life for the horse in different contexts  – and exploring the gaps in research where further study may be needed to address specific issues or concerns. 

Join us for some great social events too! There will be a welcome evening in middle of Cambridge, each day after the conference something is happening, and there is a gala dinner at the boat shed on the final night with a band.

The Conference venue is the amazing Don Rowlands Centre on the side of Lake Karapiro.


The Clever Hans Talk


Conference Plenary Speakers

We are excited to be able to welcome a stable of eminent researchers to help set the scene for each of the conference sessions: