The IAABC is the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants, in May 2018 they held their first UK conference in Manchester.
The 2 day conference included a selection of presentations by specialists in the field of equine behaviour. I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to expand my comfort circle of people and knowledge and fly over to find out what the IAABC and the presentations were all about. Here are some highlights and insights I have gained from the conference.
Dr. Amber Batson presented on the subject of ‘Pain in Horses‘. The talk was a fascinating insight in to not only how pain affects the horse, but also recognising the pain and finding effective ways to treat the pain and ultimately the behaviour.
I think we often look at the behaviour of horses and assume firstly that it is their reaction to us or to something they don’t like. We don’t spent enough time looking for the hidden answers such as pain or environmenal factors causing other less common thought out types of pain.
I’m reading a lot through the work of Neil Davies from the psychological viewpoint, also that the horse is a product of the environment and exploring ways in which we can determin the true cause of the behaviour. Treating the cause rather than masking with a ‘quick fix’ is most certainly how we should always approach our horses.
Thanks to Dr Batson, I will further study the reading material and consult with other specialists for future insight in to my client’s horses before implementing a strategy.
Equine Behaviour: The Human Element by HBCA Suzanne Rogers was an incredibly insightful presentation helping us to realise the pathway to change and how we as trainers can support learning and very importantly motivating my own clients to take control of their learning.
The follow up talk to this by Ben Hart on shaping plans was incredible useful and I have already altered my way of working and my way of learning.
The feedback from my clients has been very positive and it’s certainly convinced me that this is the way to keep moving forward. Thanks to both Ben and Suzanne for empowering me to develop foolproof strategies for my clients.
The talk by Dr. Rachel Casey on Understanding Horses: Principles Underlying Equine Behaviour highlighted the importantance of how horses are currently managed and the types of environments we are typically used to such as livery yards and the impacts on the horse. At present many horses are not having their species specific time budget needs met. This affects overall health, behaviour, development & performance.
Together with my supportive husband Mike we are working on a range of new ways we can approach equine management and hope to bring some exciting news in the near future.