International Equitation Science Conference 2019

Bringing Science to the Stable

Horse-human relationships: Where have we come from? Where are we now? Where are we going?

Planning is well underway for the 15th Annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference, being held at the University of Guelph, Canada’s largest agricultural university, on August 19-21, 2019. The theme for this year’s conference is “Bringing Science to the Stable”, highlighting our past relationship with horses and examining where we are headed. Both conference registration and abstract submissions opened on January 18, 2019. All information regarding the conference, including links to conference registration, abstract submissions and accommodations can be found here under their respective tabs.

Join our line-up of thought-provoking speakers as we journey through history and into the present, supporting and challenging the way we interact with horses through scientific research.

  • Dr. Sandra Olsen (Curator-in-Charge, Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, University of Kansas) will trace how our relationship with horses began.
  • Dr. Camie Heleski (Senior Lecturer, University of Kentucky) will describe the field of Equitation Science and what we have learned about horse-human relationships.
  • Dr. Nic de Brauwere (Head of Welfare and Behaviour, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, UK) will discuss how human behaviour change into the future can improve equine welfare.
  • Dr. Andrew McLean (Equitation Science International, Australia) will present similarities and differences in the application of learning theory across species.

The ever-popular Clever Hans talk will be hosted on Monday evening with guest speaker Dr. Jonaki Bhattacharyya, Ethnoecologist and Senior Researcher with Firelight Group. Dr. Bhattacharyya has spent time in the interior of British Columbia, observing the wild horses and their impact on the land and interactions with the indigenous peoples. She will highlight how modern research can fit into other ways of knowing and approaches to managing both wild and domestic horses.

The third day of the conference is the practical day, which features demonstrations and seminars from equine behaviourists, technology entrepreneurs and saddle fitting experts.

Registered delegates can also attend two free pre-conference workshops on Sunday, August 18. Cristina Wilkins and Kate Fenner (Australia) will workshop on how to communicate scientific information to equestrian communities. Dr. Marc Pierard (Belgium) will lead a discussion in describing equine behaviours for the equine ethogram.  Also featured on the Sunday is the large animal rescue training (additional fee applies). Space in this hands-on workshop is limited, so be sure to register early. Early bird conference registration pricing is available until June 1. After that date regular conference fees apply.

Check back regularly to the Horse Portal for updates, sneak peaks, and local information! For additional information, email [email protected].

Check out the ISES2019 Blog!

Thank you to our Maple Leaf sponsor!


The 2019 International Equitation Science Conference will take place from Monday August 19th to Wednesday August 21st at the University of Guelph campus.

Preliminary Conference Schedule

**Note that the practical day (Aug 21) will be held off campus and shuttle buses will be provided. Delegates may drive themselves to the practical day venue as ample parking is available.  If you are unable to ride a bus, please contact [email protected] for alternate arrangements

Abstract Submission Now Closed

Abstract Submission Deadline: April 1st, 2019. Please submit abstracts through the Abstract Submission Form and review the following guidelines:

  • Abstracts must not exceed 400 words in length.
  • 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. Except for theoretical contributions and review papers, submitted abstracts must contain data, indicate the method(s) of analysis, and provide information about test statistics
  • Additionally, abstracts must include a lay person’s message not exceeding 100 words in length. This is a simple summary of the work suitable for a lay audience to understand.
  • Each presenting author may present only one spoken paper, or one poster (not both a paper and a poster).
  • If references must be used, they should be placed in the text of the abstract in the following format: (Jones & Swanson, Appl. Anim. Ethol. 14:23, 1980)

For scientific abstract submission questions please contact Dr. Wendy Pearson at [email protected].

Registration Now Open


Click Here to Register


Conference Registration Pricing:

Rates are listed in Canadian dollars. For currency conversion, go to  13% tax will be added at the payment page. Full registration includes the following:

  • All scientific and practical sessions (additional fee for LART)
  • Pre-conference workshop on Sunday, August 18th
  • Welcome reception on the evening of Sunday, August 18th
  • Clever Hans lecture on the evening of Monday, August 19th
  • All lunches and refreshments

Single Day registrations include the following:

  • All activities for the chosen day (additional fee for LART)
  • Lunch and refreshments

Fees for Additional Activities:

  • Large Animal Rescue Training (LART), Sunday August 18th ($60): Learn about practical and behavioural considerations and specialized equipment, and practice techniques for safe extrication of horses from emergency situations such as trailer accidents, mud, and barn fires. SPACE IS LIMITED. PLEASE REGISTER EARLY.
  • ISES Banquet, Tuesday August 20th ($75): Join attendees, presenters, and guests at Brass Taps for a night of dinner and dancing.

** Registration is solely for the conference and any associated activities. Please visit the Accommodation tab to book accommodation.

Note: On-Campus Parking Permits must be purchased at the time of registration. Please review the Accommodation and Travel pages to determine if you will require on-campus parking.

For conference registration questions please contact Conference Services at the University of Guelph at 519-824-4120 ext. 53350 or via email at [email protected].

Keynote speakers at ISES2019

Clever Hans speaker:

Dr. Jonaki Bhattacharyya: Ethnoecologist and Environmental Planner Dr. Bhattacharyya works closely with Indigenous peoples and other communities to lead applied research on relationships between people from different cultures, wildlife, and the land in Canada. With a PhD in Environmental Planning, she is currently adjunct faculty at two universities and a Senior Researcher with The Firelight Group in British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Bhattacharyya partners with Indigenous communities, NGOs, and other agencies to strengthen and implement land and wildlife stewardship initiatives.  She has extensive experience doing “boots on the ground” research on culturally appropriate wildlife planning, stewardship, and management. She works to apply her research to improve current methods surrounding conservation, protection, and management of wildlife and the places they and others dwell.


Plenary Speakers:

Dr. Sandra Olsen is a renowned scientist and zoo-archaeologist who has focused much of her research on the development of horse-human relationships throughout time and the impact of equine domestication on society. Dr. Olsen is a professor at the University of Kansas and Curator-in-Charge for the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum. Although the lifestyle of a travelling archaeologist is not the most conducive to horse ownership, Dr. Olsen has had many incredible personal equine experiences including riding in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, China, and the United States as well as being able to observe wild mustangs in the summer in Wyoming. Her career path also allows her to appreciate these gracious animals in a whole new sense as she is constantly discovering and learning about their evolutionary progress and their significant impact on humans throughout history.


Dr. Camie Heleski has her Masters and PhD in Animal Science from Michigan State University. Her applied research interests revolve around equine behaviour, horse-human interactions, and working equid welfare. She currently is a senior lecturer at the University of Kentucky. In addition to teaching, she is highly involved in equine research. Her applied research interests have revolved around equine behaviour and welfare, horse-human interactions and working equids in developing regions of the world; more recently she has begun examining issues related to the Thoroughbred racing industry.  

In addition to her teaching and research, she has been actively involved with the International Society for Equitation Science as a Council member and currently serves as their Senior Vice President.


Dr. Nicolas de Brauwere graduated from Onderstepoort Veterinary School in South Africa in 1991, shortly before taking the position as in-house veterinarian at the Redwings Horse Sanctuary in the UK where he now works to rescue and rehabilitate feral, unhandled and mistreated horses as Head of Welfare and Behaviour. Dr de Brauwere is chairman of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) in the UK, an umbrella organization for accredited equine rescues and sanctuaries. He is particularly interested in theoretical and practical aspects of working with these equids and hopes to find solutions to their problems by starting at the source.” after the first sentence and then “He believes that with his platform on the NEWC he will be able to provide equine charities and other organizations the tools and ideas to start making a change in equine welfare now and for future generations


Dr. Andrew McLean is a prolific author of books and journal papers on the science and ethics of horse training leading which led to his awards for the Eureka Prize for Australian Science and the Flambio award from the Italian Equestrian Federation. In Equestrian Sport, he has represented Australia in Eventing, ridden to Grand Prix level in Show-Jumping and FEI level in Dressage and has also won bareback races in Australia and New Zealand. Andrew is also well known for his acclaimed systematic approach to elephant training in Nepal, India, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos where his work is endorsed, continued and supported at government level.




We are proud to be hosting the 2019 International Equitation Science Conference at the University of Guelph campus in Ontario, Canada! The city of Guelph is only a short distance from Toronto, allowing easy access for international visitors. While in Guelph be sure to visit the McRae house, birthplace of the famous author of the famous poem “In Flanders Fields”, and the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada. It is only a short drive to Fergus, home of the Scottish Festival and Highland Games, and nearby Elora, both nestled along the Grand River with historic limestone architecture and endless trailways. And a visit to the impressive Niagara Falls and the wine-growing region is a must for any visitor to Canada!

Destination Canada – Tourism Ideas

City of Guelph

Accommodation is available both on-campus and off-site at nearby hotels.

On-Campus Accommodation

Stay close to the action in residence or at one of the nearby fully-furnished townhouses. Residence rooms are equipped with a single bed, desk and closet, with shared kitchenette and washroom facilitates. Townhouses include the above as well as additional bedrooms, one shared bathroom, and a full kitchen (dishes not included). Additionally, townhouses are the only residence buildings equipped with central air conditioning. Please book on-campus accommodation online.  Note: On-campus parking does not need to be purchased if you are staying on-campus.

  • Single room                            $44
  • Double room                          $44
  • Townhouse (1-2 people)      $96
  • Townhouse (3-4 people)      $82

* Prices per person, per night

Delta Hotels by Marriott Guelph Conference Centre

Group rate starting at $154 per night. Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre is located at the corner of Stone Road & Gordon Street and is within walking distance to the conference. Guelph’s only 4-star hotel features 148 contemporary guest rooms & suites with onsite fitness. Guests also enjoy complimentary access to Movati Athletic. Please note, there is an additional parking fee. Book your group rate for International Society for Equitation Scienceor call directly toll-free at 1-844-496-8549 and mention ISES 2019. Rooms must be booked by Thursday July 18 to receive the group rate.

Days Inn Guelph

Starting at $98.99 per night Located just one block south of the University, Days Inn offers you our newly renovated guest rooms with all the conveniences of home; coffee maker, hairdryer, iron and board, all at an affordable rate. Start your day off right with our Complimentary Daybreak Café Breakfast! The Days Inn offers free parking, wireless high-speed internet and local phone calls. For reservations, please call 519-822-9112. or book online.

Holiday Inn Guelph

Single or Double Room – Starting at $117.99 per night The Holiday Inn Guelph Hotel & Conference Centre is located 1.6 kilometers west of the University of Guelph (5-minute drive) and across the street from Guelph’s Stone Road Mall and conveniently located within walking distance to many restaurants. It offers complimentary parking, Elements on Stone Restaurant and Lounge, an indoor pool, sauna and fitness center. For reservations, please call 519-836-0231 or book online. Mention the University of Guelph conference when booking!


University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd E, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1G 2W1

Getting to Guelph:


  • Go Bus provides bus service throughout the Toronto, Guelph, Kitchener and Hamilton areas. Detailed bus route options, including when to change busses, can be plotted out on the Go Bus website using “University of Guelph” as your destination. Tickets can be purchased at automated kiosks near Go Bus stops.


  • Red Car Service provides private transportation from Toronto or Hamilton International Airports directly to Guelph. Use the booking code ISES19 to receive a $10.00 pre-tax discount per direction ($20.00 discount on round trip) from Red Car’s current published rates.  Your online booking will be billed immediately and you will receive an email confirmation including your check-in location at the airport.  You are not booked until you have received a confirmation form with confirmation numbers.

**Passengers requiring service to and from Waterloo International Airport, Toronto Island Airport (Billy Bishop) or Toronto Union Station may book service using Red Car’s regular online booking system at their regular published rates. Union Station is booked through the Inter-City Transfer tab of the booking engine.

On-Campus Parking: Parking is included with on campus accommodation and you can pick up your parking pass at the check in desk. Delta Hotels by Marriott Guelph Conference Centre and the Days Inn Guelph are within walking distance to campus. For those attendees who wish to park on campus, however, a full-day parking pass must be purchased through University of Guelph Sustainable Transportation & Parking Services. You will receive a parking pass and map via email closer to the conference date once payment is received.  Please print the parking pass and display it on the dashboard of your vehicle when you arrive on campus. Parking Pass Costs: (13% HST will be added to the rates at the payment page.)

  • Monday, August 19th Daily Parking Pass ($7.96)
  • Tuesday, August 20th Daily Parking Pass ($7.96)
  • Wednesday, August 21st Daily Parking Pass ($7.96)

Parking is free after 4:30pm Monday through Friday.  There is no charge for parking on weekends. ** Daily Parking Passes must be purchased with registration. ** Parking is valid in lots P13, P14, P15 and P30 only. The maps below highlight which parking lots (green stars) are closest to the building being used on the scientific programming day and the practical day (indicated with red stars)

Scientific Programming Day:

Accessing Parking Lots P14/15 (coming from Local Area):

  • Drive down Gordon Street toward the University
  • Turn left off Gordon Street onto College Avenue
  • Turn right onto East Ring Road
  • Turn left onto laneway just past the pedestrian cross walk
  • Follow laneway around bend, turn left into parking lot
  • If miss this entrance, you can enter at the next lane way and turn right into the lot
  • You can drop off on laneway but no stopping or parking, this is a fire route

Practical Day: (Information to follow)

Organizing Sponsors


Maple Leaf Sponsors

Exclusive North American Media Sponsor

Gryphon Sponsors





Interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at the International Equitation Science Conference 2019? Contact Kim Sheppard, Communications and Outreach Coordinator at [email protected] or 519-824-4120 ext. 53648, or Cordy DuBois, ISES 2019 Committee Assistant at [email protected]

You can also download the sponsorship package as well as the exhibitor package to learn more!