top of page

Dr Janne Winther Christensen 

.Janne Winther Christensen is Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, Denmark. In her early career, Janne studied behaviour of Przewalski horses in the Askania Nova Reserve in Ukraine, and the fascination for wild equids and the similarities in behaviour between wild, feral and domestic horses has formed the basis for her research. Janne has conducted a number of research projects in relation to horse welfare, stress sensitivity, fear reactions, habituation, learning and training. Her current research focuses on (i) maternal influence on the development of behaviour and stress sensitivity in foals, (ii) social behaviour and welfare in relation to housing and management, and (iii) human-animal interactions.


Cristina Wilkins 

Cristina Wilkins is the editor of Horses and People, a print and digital magazine and online community that promotes ethical, sustainable and evidence-based information on horse keeping and training practices as a means to improving welfare and safety. Always mentored by progressive equestrians, Cristina had successes in eventing that led her to being selected for the Spanish elite squad in preparation for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. After many years coaching and competing, and a short but influential stint in New Zealand, Cristina and her husband settled in Queensland in 1998. She says her world changed when she undertook the translation of Dr Andrew McLean’s book ‘The truth about horses’ into Spanish and discovered learning theory could be applied to horse training. She was a member of the Council of the International Society for Equitation Science for eight years. Her special interest is engaging horse people in all aspects of ethical and evidence-based equitation.

Watch Video

Dr Katrina Merkies 

Dr. Merkies received her PhD in animal science from the University of Guelph before taking a faculty position at Lake Erie College in Ohio. She later returned to Canada to develop and implement Canada's first and only equine degree program. Dr. Merkies teaches undergraduate courses in equine event management, equine reproduction, equine trends and issues and equine industry topics. She has a small research program focusing on equine behaviour, particularly relating to horse-human interactions, equitation science, and equine welfare. Dr Merkies is a trustee and council member of the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) and was chair of the organizing committee for the ISES conference held in Guelph, Canada in 2019


James Rayner 

James is Equine Programme Leader for Reaseheath College, one of the UK’s leading land-based colleges based in Cheshire. Responsible for the strategic development and delivery of innovative curriculum models for equine education, he has established and driven a successful link between industry and academia through the development of Industry Mentor Programmes, to enhance not only the learner journey, but providing opportunities and engagement embedded within the curriculum to develop student’s employability skills. 


Prior to Reaseheath, James was Barn Manager and Research Assistant for an International Sport Horse Facility and Research Centre in the United States and won the prestigious British Equestrian Federation MAREC Internship in 2012. While at the MAREC James undertook research in several areas of research, primarily: Equine Nutrition, Pasture Management and Reproduction and Foaling. In addition, he has undertaken research at a number of institutions including the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth and during his Masters Programme at The University of Edinburgh.


James has worked on several large-scale Competition yards and Studs in both the UK and Europe including study at The Brandenburg State Stud at Neustadt (Dosse), Germany. He has previous experience training and competing in Eventing and Advanced Level Dressage in addition to handling and competing foals and youngstock in National Futurity Sport Horse Events and Breed Registries. In his spare time, he continues training students for competition success and is a part of the organisational committee for the North West Regional Dressage Championships.  


Since returning to the UK, James has maintained a key interest in the education and development of the UK equine industry, through involvement as an assistant at the National Equine Forum, sitting on several equine and educational advisory committees and serving as a Trustee of the University of Lincoln Students Union. Passionate about engagement with research led initiatives, James is keen to connect equine land managers and horse owners with the latest science-based information promoting equine and environmental wellbeing. He has developed a keen interest in the development of integral industry relevant employability skills in young people and providing opportunity to develop industry engagement, which in turn further benefits the equine population. Last summer, James organised a two week ‘UK Equine Industry study abroad’ programme with 18 American undergraduate students at Delaware Valley University, Pennsylvania with Dr Rebecca Splan.


Dr David Marlin

David Marlin studied at Stirling University from 1978-1981. He then trained with dressage rider and coach Judy Harvey (FBHS and FEI International dressage judge). He obtained his PhD from Loughborough University in 1989 on the response of Thoroughbred racehorses to exercise and training. He worked for 3 years in Newmarket for racehorse trainer Luca Cumani. From 1993–1996 he undertook studies on thermoregulation and transport of horses in the build-up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He was also involved in advising on air-conditioning and cooling for horses at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. From 1990-2005 David held the position of Senior Scientist and Head of Physiology at the Animal Health Trust. His main areas of professional interest are exercise physiology, including nutrition, fitness training, thermoregulation, competition strategy, transport and respiratory disease. He has worked as a consultant to the BEF since 1994 and is a member of the World Class Performance Scientific Advisory Group. David is a past Chair of the International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology (ICEEP) and editor of Comparative Exercise Physiology and author of Equine Exercise Physiology. He is currently working with the FEI on a variety of climate related projects, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Watch Video

Lisa Ashton

MBA PGCE BA (Hons) ESI Diploma, BHS Stage 4 Senior Coach in Complete Horsemanship,

Pony Club A’Test 

Lisa Ashton is the leading authority in the UK on the application of Equitation Science. With over a decade of experience she consults on evidence based knowledge for equestrian federations, equine charities, mounted police, colleges, stud’s, veterinarians, professional riders and owners. 

Dedicated to helping more horses by helping horse lovers understand how, what and why horses learn, Lisa translates the latest in the field of Equitation Science, practically. In 2011 Lisa founded EquiSci to help more horses via clinics, workshops, and lectures throughout the UK and Italy. In 2016 was born to give hose lovers a free community Coffee With Horse Lovers and membership mastermind Espresso with Equicoach, leading being the change our horses need.

Watch Video
bottom of page