Early training of foals using the ISES training principles

Sally King, Leigh Wills, Hayley Randle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Early experiences are known to influence the later behavior of young mammals. Training is an important part of the young thoroughbred racehorse's environment and is likely to be challenging. As with older horses, it is important to apply training methods that take into account the individual's natural behaviour (ethology) and cognition (mental actions and abilities) and to apply them in a consistent manner as possible. Foal NZ are an organization that have successfully implemented the initial training of over 3000 thoroughbred foals to date using the International Society for Equitation Science Training Principles. There are 10 independent principles that focus largely on the principles of animal learning that have been known and used successfully in a range of mammals and birds for decades. This paper emphasizes the importance of commencing training at an early age and describes the application of each training principle with young thoroughbred foals (i.e., those aged less than 8 weeks) in the context of practical training. Foals that have received consistent, evidence-based, initial training are argued to experience better welfare both during training and when they progress to preparation for their future careers. The potential positive outcomes of the application of the International Society for Equitation Science Training Principles are also highlighted for nonracing disciplines and those working in the allied industries such as veterinarians and farriers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-146
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Veterinary Behavior
Early online date29 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

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