Dec 5, 2023

Virtual Education seminar from the Icelandic Equestrian Association

Ready for great lecturers and exciting panel discussions in January 2024?

The Education Committee of LH in Iceland and Horses of Iceland, are organizing a virtual Conference in January 2024. All lectures will be held in english and revolve around the theme “Social Licence to Operate”. This theme is very important to all of us horse people as pressure grows from different directions regarding how and whether people can use animals for their pleasure. As our horses are also rather small, we in the Icelandic Horse world might feel certain aspects of this discussion even more, for instance regarding rider weight vs horse weight and more.

But what knowledge is there so far about our impact on horses or their impact on us?

In this virtual conference we will learn about how science can help us better understand these questions and simply be of aid in the whole dialogue. We will have fantastic lecturers that have been working for a long time in various aspect of equine science but also end the conference with a very interesting panel discussion.

The conference will be held over 5 evenings in January 2024, with one lecturer at a time the first 4 evenings followed by conclusions and panel discussions with representatives from various fields of our horse world on the fifth evening.

Here are our speakers. The schedule and detailed topics for each evening can be found right below.


From left to right and top to bottom: Prof. Michael Weishaupt, Assoc. Prof. Marie Rhodin, Prof. Sveinn Ragnarsson and Assoc. Prof. Guðrún Stefánsdóttir


Each lecture will start at 19:00 GMT.

  • JANUARY 9: Michael Weishaupt, Professor at UZH – Social Licence to Operate and what role science can play.

Michael Weishaupt is a well-known and highly credited senior researcher and lecturer in the field of sports medicine and biomechanics of horses. He graduated in Veterinary Medicine in 1989 at the University of Berne, Switzerland. Since 1993 he has worked at the University of Zurich, School of Veterinary Medicine and is in charge of the Equine Performance Centre, a clinical as well as research division of the Equine Department. His special interests are equine sports medicine and rehabilitation, exercise physiology, diseases of the upper airways, equine orthopaedics, shoeing and biomechanics. Weishaupt has over 100 scientific publications and both as a researcher but also as a keen horseman himself he is well aware of the changing atmosphere when it comes to humans using animals. His lecture will talk about the Social Licence to Operate, what it is, the effect it can have on the horse world and what role science can have in the whole dialogue. Weishaupt has done some studies with Icelandic horses, like the hoof study that FEIF supported some years back and led to clearer limitations on the hoof length in our competitions and breeding shows. He is a very good speaker and an enthusiastic teacher and we really look forward to the 9th of January when Professor Michael Weishaupt will open our virtual conference with his talk.

  • JANUARY 11: Marie Rhodin, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVSMR/ECVSM associate professor at SLU – Research in aspects of health analysis of our horses, including revolutionary lameness detection.

Marie Rhodin is a well-known and respected researcher and lecturer in the field of Equine biomechanics. She graduated in 2003 at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and is an associate Professor in equine clinical biomechanics at the department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Rhodin has over 100 academic publications and her main research focus is orthopaedic pain and objective motion analysis in horses. In her presentation Marie will tell us about her recent studies in objective lameness detection and analysis where the question rises if our human eyes are always adequate in deciding how fit or sound our horses are. Gaited horses might be even trickier in this aspect. It is an important factor in discussion of horse welfare which again comes into the issue of Social Licence to Operate. Marie Rhodin has been cooperating with Icelandic researchers like Sigríður Björnsdóttir, Guðrún Stefánsdóttir and Víkingur Gunnarsson for some years and is an active horse woman and rider herself. She is a great teacher, warm and clear and we really look forward to the evening of January 11th when she will be our 2nd speaker at LH Virtual Education Seminar 2024.

  • JANUARY 16: Guðrún Stefánsdóttir, associate professor at Hólar University – Previous and ongoing studies of the effect of riders weight on horses performance.

How heavy can a rider on a horse be? We have all heard about this discussion and it has become louder and more important in the last few years. Our 3rd speaker in this Virtual Education Seminar will talk about what influence various riders weight has on the horse. It is Dr. Guðrún Stefánsdóttir, associate professor in Equine Science department in Hólar University. She is a horse rider herself, breeder and loves traveling with horses and has been studying horses´ physical response to exercise for many years. A few years ago, Guðrún studied the physical effect of breeding shows on young horses and last few years she has been researching how different rider weight influences the horses while ridden. Guðrún will tell us about what we know about this topic, how these studies are conducted and what is being studied in this field right now.

  • JANUARY 18: Sveinn Ragnarsson, professor at Hólaskóli University – Discussions about horse and human communication, mutual influence and studies in that field with SLO in the core.

Have you thought about why humans are attracted to horses? Is it possible that communication with horses have some special influence on people and might it also be the other way around? What are core values and how do they connect our community, our horsemanship,general well-being and welfare? Dr. Sveinn Ragnarsson, professor at the Equine Science department of Hólar will talk about these topics and more. Sveinn has published several scientific papers about the Icelandic horse, and is also a horse breeder, a rider, breeding judge and works with various commissions of trust for the Icelandic horse world and was dean of the horse department at Hólar for ten years.

  • JANUARY 23: Panel discussion with Atli Guðmundsson (FT), Dr. Sigríður Björnsdóttir (MAST), Bjarni Páll Vilhjámsson (Riding Iceland), Dr. Elsa Albertsdóttir (Breeding judge), Hulda Gústafsdóttir (Sport judge & Sport representative for FEIF).

    PRICE: €85

Click here to register.


The seminar is aimed for listed trainers and instructors within the FEIF Matrix as well as judges within the Icelandic horse world and is valid as CPD (16 units) in Iceland (please check with your national organisation if they also acknowledge it as CPD). If you are not part of these groups but still would like to attend, you can send in a special request to LH via the email below.


We hope to see many of you!