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Executive Director Equine International

Equine Ethologist & Researcher

Location/Areas Covered: International

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Emily Kieson serves as Executive Director at Equine International, a US-based nonprofit focused on research, education, and outreach in the fields of equine behavior, welfare, and equine-human interactions. 


Her research focuses on equine behavioral psychology, equine welfare, and horse-human interactions as they apply to both horse owners and equine-assisted activities and learning programs.  She holds a PhD in Comparative Psychology, a MS in Psychology, and a graduate degree in Equine Science.  Emily also holds multiple certifications in various models of equine-assisted activities and currently serves as Chair of the Equine Welfare Committee with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH). 


Her current research focuses involve looking at equine affiliative behaviors to study how horses create and maintain social bonds and how those can overlap with human affiliative behaviors for application in management, horse ownership, equine-assisted activities, and indicators of positive welfare in horses with and without humans.  She also has a passion for supporting sustainable systems of horse management and husbandry that promote physical and psychological welfare of the horse while simultaneously supporting sustainable ecosystem practices on small and large scales (for both feral and domestic equids). 


Emily currently develops and teaches courses at universities in the fields of psychology, animal-human interactions, animal-assisted interventions, animal behavior and training, and animal welfare and ethics.  In partnership with Touching Wild, Equine International have collaborated with a number of organisations around the world to offer the amazing learning opportunities in the form of excursions which facilitate the observation of feral and wild-living equids. Not only does this give an amazing insight into equine behaviour, ethology and welfare but also, the courses have an additional focus in how we can bring this information back into the domestic setting in order to benefit the equines we live and work with.  More information about courses, both in person and online, can be found in our Education pages

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