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Bravery in British Horse Riders

Dr Rosie Jones-McVey is one of my heroes. Her kindness, sense of fun, and love for life, are an inspiration.

Somehow, Intelligent Horsemanship have persuaded Rosie to give a webinar! It’s on Thursday 8th March at 1pm. Free for members of the Intelligent Horsemanship Association, or £7.50 for non-members. Register for your place through the shop at

To give you a taster of the depth and breadth of Rosie’s work, here’s the ‘Simple Summary’ from an open access article published in the journal ‘Animals’ on 14th January 2021. The grand sounding title is ‘An Ethnographic Account of the British Equestrian Virtue of Bravery, and Its Implications for Equine Welfare’. I’ve posted a link to the article below.

“Bravery is an important virtue for British horse riders. This article is based on 14 months of ethnographic research, in which I spent time with 35 horse riders, observing their day-to-day lives and recording their riding lessons, competitions and ‘yard chatter’ in field notes and by Dictaphone. I found that when riders were fearful, they were often ridiculed, excluded and belittled. Riders’ capacity to be brave became an issue particularly when horses were thought to be defiant. Riders tried to overcome their ‘confidence issues’ by ‘getting tough’—on both themselves and on their horses—often at the demand of their instructors. When fearful riders sought alternative explanations for problematic equine behaviour (such as a veterinary diagnoses), other riders judged them as avoiding getting to grips with the ‘real issues’ (their horses’ defiance, and their own fear). Programs that aim to help riders to develop confidence without instilling a sense of ‘battle’ with the horse, and without ridiculing the rider, are likely to have positive implications on equine welfare and human safety.”

© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio 2021

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