Pony Club in Australia has just undergone one of the biggest changes in its 80-year history, with the introduction of a new syllabus which includes equine welfare and equitation science.
The new syllabus continues to build on Pony Club members’ riding, horsemastership and horse knowledge skills blending 80 years of sound knowledge and training, with new scientific knowledge about rider safety, horse behaviour and welfare.
Overseeing the new syllabus has been one of the best-known proponents of Equitation Science, Dr Andrew McLean, CEO of Equitation Science International and Behaviour Consultant to Melbourne University Veterinary Hospital. He is also on the Board of Pony Club Australia.
Equitation Science embraces all forms of training that are evidence-based and ethical. It has a strong focus on:
- Ethology (the study of the horse’s natural behaviours) and
- Learning theory (the study of how animals and people learn)
- It also incorporates biomechanics (the science of how the horse moves) and recognises the limits of the horse’s cognitive (thinking) and physical abilities.