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Interaction between rider, horse and equestrian trainer: a challenging puzzle
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8816-5763
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines the complex and challenging relationships between rider, horse and equestrian trainer in the context of teaching horse riding. What strategies and methods do equestrian trainers use to support the riders’ understanding of, and performance with, their horses? What role is the horse assigned in this form of interaction? Operating at the intersection between practical knowledge and human-animal studies, the thesis adopts an ethnographic approach, and seeks to develop theories of practical knowledge in the practice of teaching riding.

Horse riding relies on embodied and “tacit” knowledge, which is achieved through practical experience, and is personal as well as context dependent. Since this kind of knowledge is (in most cases) difficult to completely express in words, it is also difficult to convey. “Equestrian feel” is a part of tacit knowledge and is considered as the most rewarding aspect of equestrian communication. Although horse riding has been taught for hundreds of years, knowledge about the learning situation during riding lessons, is sorely lacking. The results show that, as a subject and as an active participant in rider-horse communication, the horse is not directly addressed in the current education of rider-horse combinations. It is concluded that new teaching strategies are required, so that greater emphasis is placed on “equestrian feel” and on how riders experience their own as well as their horses’ bodies and minds. Furthermore, equestrian trainers need to improve their skills to make explicit to the rider why they choose to give certain instructions, thus contributing to the further development of a rider’s practical wisdom (phronesis).

Equestrian cultures are in transition, and traditional systems of training rider-horse combinations are being challenged. The use of horses for sport raises ethical questions and it may be time for sport riders to seriously re-examine and re-evaluate the relation with their horses and how this affects the horse as a conscious and sensitive animal. This thesis is expected to contribute to improved teaching strategies and methods and thus to promote better welfare for both horse and rider.

Abstract [sv]

I den här avhandlingen undersöks det komplexa och mångfacetterade samspelet mellan ryttare, häst och tränare i en ridundervisningskontext. Vilka strategier och metoder använder tränare för att stödja ryttarens förståelse och prestation tillsammans med hästen? Studiens utgångspunkt är att ridning är en form av praktisk kunskap vilket definieras som kunskap som demonstreras genom handling. Avhandlingens inramning är en kombination av den praktiska kunskapens teori och det multidisciplinära forskningsområdet human-animal studies. Syftet är också att bidra till att förstärka hippologins humanistiska forskningsperspektiv genom att utveckla den praktiska kunskapens teori och metoder på ridundervisningens område.

Ridning består till stor del av tyst eller underförstådd (tacit) kommunikation mellan människa och häst som ryttaren uppnår främst genom praktisk erfarenhet, och som är kroppslig, personlig och kontextberoende. Eftersom den här typen av kunskap inte helt och hållet kan uttryckas i ord, är den även svår att lära ut. Ryttarkänsla är en del av denna underförstådda kunskap och anses som den mest givande aspekten av kommunikation mellan ryttare och häst under ridning. Trots att ridundervisning har förekommit under flera århundraden, saknas djupare kunskap om inlärningen under ridlektioner, och om den praktiska kunskap som skickliga ridlärare och tränare använder.

Resultaten visar att ett erkännande av hästen som en kännande och tänkande individ inte verkar vara varken tydliggjord eller inbyggd i det nuvarande ridutbildningssystemet. Slutsatsen är att det behövs nya undervisningsmetoder där mer fokus läggs på att utveckla ryttarens känsla och på hur ryttare uppfattar sin egen och sin hästs kropp under träningspasset. Tränarna behöver bli bättre på att förklara varför de väljer att ge vissa instruktioner och därmed bidra till att utveckla ryttares fronetiska kompetens.

Kulturerna inom ridsporten är under omformning och traditionellt rotade träningssystem utmanas av nya idéer, men de starka, militära normerna spelar fortfarande en viktig roll. Att använda hästar för sport medför etiska överväganden, och därför borde ryttare inom ridsporten reflektera över hur deltagande i sport påverkar hästen som kännande och tänkande varelse. Studien förväntas bidra till förbättrade undervisningsstrategier och metoder och därmed en bättre välfärd för både ryttare och hästar.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2019. , p. 225
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 162
Keywords [en]
equestrian sport, equestrian cultures, practical knowledge, interspecies relationships, ethics, equestrian teaching, equestrian feel, tacit knowledge, phronesis
Keywords [sv]
ridsport, ridundervisning, praktisk kunskap, etik, ryttarkänsla, fronesis
National Category
Other Humanities
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-37981Local ID: 1066/3.1.1/2013ISBN: 978-91-88663-63-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-88663-64-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-37981DiVA, id: diva2:1303083
Public defence
2019-05-03, MB505, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Huddinge, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 43/2013Available from: 2019-04-11 Created: 2019-04-08 Last updated: 2019-04-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The Praxis of Horse Riding: An Autoethnographic Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Praxis of Horse Riding: An Autoethnographic Study
2018 (English)In: Humanimalia - a journal of human/animal interface studies, ISSN 2151-8645, E-ISSN 2151-8645, Vol. 9, no 2, p. 47-67Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Other Humanities
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-36083 (URN)1066/3.1.1/2013 (Local ID)1066/3.1.1/2013 (Archive number)1066/3.1.1/2013 (OAI)
Projects
Horse Cultures in Transition
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies
Available from: 2018-08-16 Created: 2018-08-16 Last updated: 2019-04-08Bibliographically approved
2. Riders' Perceptions of Equestrian Communication in Sports Dressage
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Riders' Perceptions of Equestrian Communication in Sports Dressage
2017 (English)In: Society and Animals, ISSN 1063-1119, E-ISSN 1568-5306, Vol. 25, no 6, p. 573-591Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to enhance the understanding of how sport dressage riders describe rider-horse communication when riding, and to relate these descriptions to current research on human-horse communication. Interviews with 15 amateur dressage riders were analyzed using a qualitative approach. The study shows that the interviewed riders describe the communication with the horses partly in a behavioristic way, applying concepts based on learning theory, which deviate from the description of riders as lacking understanding of these concepts put forth by some researchers. The riders connect the timing of their aids to equestrian feel, which they describe as the most difficult yet the most awarding aspect of the interspecies communication that riding is. Simultaneously, they acknowledge that horses are fully capable of choosing to listen to and cooperate with their requests.

Keywords
dressage, human-horse communication, practical knowledge, learning theory, equestrian feel
National Category
Philosophy Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-33708 (URN)10.1163/15685306-12341476 (DOI)000413918400004 ()2-s2.0-85032636254 (Scopus ID)
Note

Funded by The Swedish-Norwegian Fund for Equine Research 

Available from: 2017-11-16 Created: 2017-11-16 Last updated: 2019-04-08Bibliographically approved
3. Riders’ understanding of the role of their horse in sports dressage
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Riders’ understanding of the role of their horse in sports dressage
2019 (English)In: Equine Cultures in Transition: Ethical Questions / [ed] Jonna Bornemark, Petra Andersson, Ulla Ekström von Essen, London: Routledge, 2019, 1, p. 179-192Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Given that the role of the horse and ethical questions regarding their treatment have become a source of dispute, the aim of this study was to explore how riders express, and understand, the role of their horse in the context of equestrian sport. The data consists of semi-structured, in-depth interviews with in total 27 amateur riders (15 Swedish and 12 Polish) practicing sports dressage. Riders’ quotes reflect a tension between the way riders have historically perceived the role of the horse in equestrian sport as predominately tools or instruments, and contemporary attitudes that consider animals as having their own mind and consciousness. Equestrian cultures are in transition, and it may be time for sport riders to seriously re-examine and re-evaluate the relation between themselves and their horse and how this affects the horse as a conscious and sensitive animal

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2019 Edition: 1
Series
Routledge advances in sociology ; 256
Keywords
horseriding, equestrian sport, practical knowledge, phronesis, dressage
National Category
Other Humanities
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-37975 (URN)10.4324/9781351002479-13 (DOI)1066/3.1.1/2013 (Local ID)978-1-138-54959-3 (ISBN)978-1-351-00247-9 (ISBN)1066/3.1.1/2013 (Archive number)1066/3.1.1/2013 (OAI)
Projects
Hästkulturer i omvandling - interaktion och etik mellan människa och häst i Sverige och Polen
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 43/2013
Available from: 2019-04-08 Created: 2019-04-08 Last updated: 2019-04-10Bibliographically approved
4. Teaching horse riding: feel as a central concept?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teaching horse riding: feel as a central concept?
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keywords
equestrian teaching, practical knowledge, phronesis, tacit knowledge, equestrian feel
National Category
Other Humanities
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-37978 (URN)1066/3.1.1/2013 (Local ID)1066/3.1.1/2013 (Archive number)1066/3.1.1/2013 (OAI)
Projects
Hästkulturer i omvandling - interaktion och etik mellan människa och häst i Sverige och Polen
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 43/2013
Note

Som manuskript i avhandling. As manuscript in dissertation.

Available from: 2019-04-08 Created: 2019-04-08 Last updated: 2019-04-10Bibliographically approved

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  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
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