Horse-training techniques that may defy the principles of learning theory and compromise welfare

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This review considers some contemporary training and restraining techniques that may lead to confusion or abuse in ridden and nonridden horses. As competitive equestrian sports boom, the welfare of the horse is under increasing scrutiny. The current focus on hyperflexion of the neck in dressage warm-up has exposed the problems with relying on subjective opinions when attempting to safeguard horse welfare. The discussion also highlights an opportunity for equestrian federations to evaluate practices within the various horse sports. Our review considers numerous examples of unorthodox practices that modify locomotion and posture. It offers a scientific framework for consideration of many contentious techniques in horse sports and emphasizes the role of Equitation Science in generating evidence-based enlightenment.