Equine Behaviour Expert Dr. Andrew McLean

May 13, 2019 | by Emma Hassall, BBRM Equine Management student

To teach a horse anything, you have to understand how learning theory works, and break it down into a format that the horse can comprehend

andrew-photo.pngThe equestrian world has long benefited from the insights and the scientific approach of Dr. Andrew McLean. He is a breath of rationality in the equestrian world far too often ruled by superstitions and ignorance. McLean believes that to teach a horse anything, you have to understand how learning theory works, and break it down into a format that the horse can comprehend. His influence has grown largely, not only in his homeland of Australia, but also around the world.

McLean holds a PhD in horse training psychology, a degree in Zoology, teaches at universities and lectures at conferences around the world. McLean was the winner of the highest Australian Science award, Eureka prize for Science, and the Flambio award from the Italian Equestrian Federation. He has represented Australia in Eventing, ridden to Grand 

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Prix level in Show-Jumping and FEI level in Dressage and has also won bareback races in Australia and New Zealand. He is in great demand as a trainer, coach and speaker. He has written various books (including an International Best Seller) and authored over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles. McLean developed the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre, specialising in equine training and modification of behaviour. He now is CEO of Equitation Science International, an Australian government accredited course teaching coaches and riders the application of learning theory in horse training.

Awarded an Honorary Fellow of the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) for his ongoing contribution to equitation science, he was contributory in hosting the 1st International Equitation Science Symposium, held in 2005.

andrew elephantMcLean is recognised for his training of elephants in Nepal, India, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos leading to the formation of the non-profit HELP Foundation (Human Elephant Learning Programs), of which McLean now is the Senior Vice President. This supportive project focuses on optimal management, welfare as well as training of the elephants in Asia using state-of-the-art techniques based on learning theory and elimination of punishment.

McLean will bring his wealth of knowledge to the 15th annual ISES conference being held in Guelph, on August 19-21. Based on his extensive work done with both horses and elephants, McLean will present an interspecies comparison on ethology, cognition and the application of learning theory between these two species. He will also discuss the contemporary welfare issues surrounding both species.


Registration is now open for the 15th annual ISES conference. For all the details and links to registration and accommodations, visit the Equitation Science website or the Horse Portal.


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