In my “real life” am a psychologist with a PhD in biopsychology/neuroscience and hold a professorship for “Healthcare Research – Alternative Treatment” at UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, in Tromsø, Norway. As a dedicated scientist I trust in evidence-based research that is grounded in controlled studies and peer reviewed publication in scientific journals. Consequently, I am also the editor in chief of a scientific journal.
In my other life, I am a passionate horse woman and the dedicated companion of two Icelandic horses. As a wheelchair user and para-rider, I have learned to listen carefully and to observe closely. I was a good rider in my youth, became ill, and found back to horse riding late in life, already more or less bound to a wheelchair. However, my handicap has opened my mind to a totally different perspective on horses. And, of course, as a passionate scientist science was my way to understand my four-legged companions. It is exactly that, what keeps me safe around horses: understanding, communication, and trust!
In my second life as an equestrian and scientist, I have collected every piece of scientifically secured information that I could gather and I do believe in science informed horse training. What science has taught us to date about horses is mind blowing! With this blog, I would like to share some of this knowledge, hoping and anticipating, that my fellow equestrians will be likewise filled with awe about those intelligent, sociable, and caring creatures, horses.
Photo by Carley Quinn
Photo by Frauke Musial
As part of my journey with horses I have aspired and achieved a couple of additional qualifications as part of my continuing education as an equestrian.
Ride like a Viking Trainer & Instructor
Cathrine Fodstad, who has developed “Ride like a Viking” is a horse trainer with an academic degree from Holar University College, Reykjavik, Iceland. She thus has one of the very few university degrees available worldwide for horse trainers and riding instructors. In addition, she is a certified Riding Instructor from the Norwegian Equine Center. Her program is more a training philosophy based on scientific evidence (e.g. learning theory), communication and trust between horse and human. An approach, that I found most useful as a para-equestrian.
If you are interested to see how I train my horses according to the “Ride like a Viking” principles, you are welcome to watch the videos of the practical part of my trainer and instructor exam here.
Equine Psychology Diploma (Centre of Excellence)
A comprehensive science-based course on equine behavior and how horses learn.
The sciences used to create this course include: Ethology (the study of natural behavior), Psychology (the study of the mind and it's functions), Neuroscience (the study of the structure and function of the nervous system and brain), Biology (the study of physiology and anatomy).
Horse Care & Management Diploma (Centre of Excellence)
The course covers the basics of horse care from horse anatomy, housing to handling, feeding, equine welfare, as well as cost calculations. The focus is placed on horse care from an ethical and scientific perspective. This means the course covers areas such as learning theory, equine welfare and group housing, among others.
Photo by Heidi Torgersen