August 26, 2019 | by Katrina Merkies, Associate Professor, University of Guelph
I was amazed and gladdened to see that about 2/3 of the delegates were first-time attendees
I can’t believe a week has already passed since the 15th annual Equitation Science conference. The University of Guelph campus is eerily silent with no trace of the 210 delegates that attended. After weeks and months of planning a preparation, I find myself at loose ends with little to do. Well, that’s not quite true – classes do start in a week. But it is hard to turn my thoughts to lesson plans and grading after being so immersed in all the scientific discoveries that were imparted over the few days we were gathered.
We had a number of media at the conference, and you will be sure to read numerous news releases about the conference and specific presentations over the coming weeks. The conference proceedings will be posted on the Equitation Science website shortly for all to access. And the opportunity people had to network ensures that unique and creative research projects will develop over the next while to be presented at a future conference. I was amazed and gladdened to see that about 2/3 of the delegates were first-time attendees. As a society, I hope these first-timers were as taken as I was upon attending my first ISES conference, and realize that there are many like minds out there who work tirelessly for the good of the horse. One of these, Camie Heleski, was formally recognized during the Annual General Meeting when she was awarded with an Honorary Fellowship for her contributions to ISES and to horse welfare. I am honoured myself to count Camie among my friends, and even though her term on the ISES presidential council has come to an end, I’m sure she will continue to promote and support equitation science.
I must have had at least 70 or 80 people come up to me to tell me what a wonderfully organized conference it was, so I guess I must believe it. One delegate in particular mentioned that she felt so welcomed. If all the delegates felt the same way, then we achieved our goal. It was fun to plan everything and to be able to bring everyone together for the common goal of improving our interactions with horses. But the downside of planning a conference is that I did not get the chance to listen to all the presentations or talk to many people or peruse the posters. For this I will have to wait until next year’s conference at Hartpury in England, from August 11-14. I hope to see lots of familiar faces there next year!