Welcome to The Equine Ethologist!

Ethology is the study of animal behaviour, and you’ll find a little bit of everything on here: I write about equine behaviour research, share my thoughts on current equine welfare issues, and offer the occasional training tip. This is a developing project, so we’ll see where it goes!

At the core of this project is my conviction that the horse world needs more science. A thorough understanding of how horses think, feel, and perceive the world is key if we want to build mutually beneficial relationships with them.

Me and my horse J. He is the reason I became an ethologist and started this project.

Unfortunately, science can sometimes seem distant and difficult to apply in real world situations. My idea with The Equine Ethologist is to bridge the gap between theory and practice - between science and action - and help make current research accessible to horse owners, keepers, and trainers everywhere.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any feedback or ideas - I would love to know what you think! You can e-mail me on theequineethologist@substack.com or DM me on Instagram.

A little bit about me

My name is Renate Larssen and I’m an ethologist specialised in equine behaviour. I have a BSc in Veterinary Medicine from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and a MSc in Applied Ethology from Linköping University, both in Sweden.

My Master’s thesis researched the effects of different training methods on the horse-human relationship. My research paper “Regular positive reinforcement training increases contact-seeking behaviour in horses” has been published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science

I’m currently doing a PhD in human-animal relations at the University of Leicester School of Archaeology and Ancient History, as part of the European Research Council-funded Body Politics project. I will apply ethological research to interpret the lived experiences of horses, dogs, and sheep in the Scandinavian Iron Age.

Aside from my academic qualifications I also have practical experience rehabilitating behavioural issues in horses, with a special interest in severe aggression cases and pain- and stress-related behaviours. I enjoy teaching, and have had the opportunity to lecture about equine behaviour for a wide range of audiences such as university students, veterinarians, equine professionals, and horse owners.

From 2020-2022 I was the chairperson of the Swedish Association of Academic Ethologists.

You can connect with me on here, via theequineethologist@substack.com or through my Instagram.

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Perspectives on horse behaviour, welfare, and training by equine ethologist Renate Larssen (MSc). My goal is to make science understandable and accessible to horse owners everywhere.


Renate Larssen

Equine ethologist (MSc) passionate about bringing more science to the horse world.