The Equine Behaviour Forum is a membership group open to anyone who is interested in equine mental processes and behaviour. Founded in 1978 by equestrian author Susan McBane and the late Moyra Williams, it is a voluntary, non-profit-making group of people who wish to share their knowledge and experience of horses and ponies – and also donkeys, mules and zebras. Our aim is to improve the welfare and sympathetic management of equines by promoting a better and more informed understanding of the equine mind.
We publish a unique quarterly Journal, Equine Behaviour, which features members' articles, notes and comments on anything and everything related to equine behaviour and its relationship with management and training, as well as regular summaries of recent scientific research. If you wish to submit a contribution online, please go to the "Journal" page.
On this website we also have a "live" forum page, where members can discuss all aspects of equine behaviour. Full members (ie those who subscribe to receive the Journal) will automatically be granted access once they have signed up to join the Google Group. Instructions for this are on the "Forum" page. Non-members who only want to join in the online discussions (and not receive the Journal) will have to pay an annual subscription of £5. To do this, either apply to join the Google Group and you will be contacted by the membership secretary, or sign up for an online membership via the "Join Us" page.
"The EBF provides a channel of communication for those of us who are interested in the seemingly inconsequential details as well as the wider principles, and who want to use this knowledge to better the lives of horses. While mainstream scientific journals rightly limit their area of concern to typical and 'average' behaviour, Equine Behaviour also gives members the freedom to report and discuss the extraordinary and peculiar" – Dr Francis Burton, EBF Chairman.
You do not have to be a horse owner or rider to join the EBF, nor do you have to have a professional interest in the subject. Our members include all sorts of people from amateur owners of a single horse or pony to leading academics, and even those who are simply content to watch horses from a distance. All are welcome, and everyone's contributions are equally valued.
We also hold an annual Scientific Seminar where invited speakers present the results of their research into equine behaviour. Details and reports can be found on the "Seminar" page.
The EBF supports the ethos and work of the International Society for Equitation Science. Some horsepeople have questioned this, most on the grounds that equitation is an art form based on intuitive understanding and 'feel' that is incompatible with a scientific approach. Others see equitation science as just another in a long line of fashionable training fads.
Nobody is trying to turn equitation itself into a science, but rather to use scientific methods to study equitation and to separate true and effective ideas from false ones. Some of the results are surprising, and the implications for equine welfare and rider safety profound. Nor is equitation science a system of training. Learning theory is the set of underlying principles by which all training operates; the aim of equitation science is to have these principles established as a basis on which people can build effective training techniques that best suit them and their horses.
As horsepeople we are motivated by our feelings of affinity with these animals, in whatever individual, unmeasurable form it takes. Whether we are drawn to Arabs or Warmbloods; whether we prefer greys or chestnuts; whether we are aiming for the highest levels of competition or for the joys of exploring the countryside with a willing equine partner, or for that incomparable feeling of complete rapport with another creature: none of this is threatened in any way by the appliance of science.
Horse behaviour has fascinated 'thinking' horsemen for thousands of years. Xenophon obviously had the species fairly well sussed out, as did the boy Alexander (The Great) when he succeeded in riding Bucephalus where all the experts had failed. Having noticed that the horse was frightened of his own shadow, he turned him into the sun, mounted and rode him with no trouble.
Just what you've been looking for!
If, like Alexander and Xenophon, you are interested in equine behaviour and human/horse interaction and if you sometimes feel you are out on a limb with little means of communication with others of like mind, then the Equine Behaviour Forum is for you. Go to Join Us for subscription rates and membership forms.