What Exactly IS “Good Horsemanship” And How Is It Quantified?

Following an international study, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has determined that there are 14 elements that create good horsemanship. Initiated after a comment by Steve Guerdat at an FEI Sports Forum, the FEI Educational and Standards department was determined to see if the concept of “horsemanship” could be quantified. Guerdat's comment stressed that the concept of horsemanship should not be minimized and should be recognized as important by judges.

To gain better understanding of horsemanship, researchers conducted an in-dept literature review and held semi-structured interviews with 105 people from 30 countries, who rode in eight disciplines. Also included were 21 stakeholder groups, which included riders, show organizers, grooms, media, equine health providers and politicians.

The researchers concluded that “horsemanship” could be defined as the culmination of these 14 elements:

  • comprehensive knowledge
  • practical experience
  • growth mindset
  • respect for the horse
  • ethological empathy
  • effective application of the learning theory
  • awareness of and attentive to body language
  • commitment to the priority of equine welfare
  • emotional intelligence
  • humility and integrity
  • adaptability
  • patience
  • selection and treatment of support team
  • development of a mutual symbiotic relationship

It is hoped that this definition will help all areas of the organizations, from officials to stakeholders, and provide a clearer pictures of what is necessary to improve all aspects of equestrian sport.

Further research is needed to understand the various elements individually.

Read more at Horse & Hound.

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