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Afterword: Formalising equestrian social science
chapterposted on 25.05.2018, 00:00 by Kirrilly ThompsonKirrilly Thompson, M Adelman
In this concluding chapter, we consider the aggregate significance of our volume. In relation to expanding our understanding of equestrian cultures around the globe, contributions fortified the existing research on equestrian cultures in England, Europe and North America. They also provided rare insight into the scarcely studied equestrian cultures of Poland, Morocco, Brazil, South Africa and China. Missing from our volume was research on equestrian cultures in Oceania and Australasia as well as other parts of Latin America. At a thematic level, our contributors addressed the call of our previous volume to consider equestrian cultures according to class, risk, equality, aesthetics, sector, identity, age, rural/urban and media. However, whilst these themes are dealt in depth in the present volume, they are largely anthropocentric. We determine two ways in which an equino-centric perspective is needed to rebalance the literature: by asking how horses take part in equestrian culture and how equestrian culture impacts horses. Given that the experimental field of Equitation Science has made rapid advancements in understanding ‘ the nature of horses’, we recommend the formalisation of a sister science to provide a complementary understanding ‘ the cultures of horses’ , and thus better understand how horses and humans together generate equestrian cultures. This Afterword thus provides a rationale for the formalisation of Equestrian Social Science in research and teaching. We outline four areas of research that would benefit considerably from Equestrian Social Science: (1) working equids, (2) equine-assisted therapies, (3) welfare, ethics and social license and (4) sustainable equestrian cultures.