The Equine Science Society (ESS) developed from an interest in sharing horse nutrition research which led to the first symposium held in 1968 at the University of Kentucky. ESS was officially formed in 1970 under the name Equine Nutrition and Physiology Society. In 1975, the society drafted its first by-laws, and in 2003, the society changed its name to ESS to more accurately reflect the diverse equine-related disciplines that were encompassed by the society. Since then, ESS has been a cornerstone for equine professionals to connect and share their research, ideas, and expertise on a wide range of equine-related topics, including biosciences, exercise science, genetics, nutrition, reproductive physiology, production and management, and teaching and extension.
The objectives of ESS are to:
- promote quality research in the areas of equine science;
- establish effective communication among researchers, teachers, extension, and production personnel regarding equine science;
- conduct periodic symposia; and
- cooperate with other organizations having similar or related interests.
ESS’s signature event is the bi-annual symposium. The symposium is usually held in odd years the first week of June and hosted by a university with an active equine program. Most symposiums are attended by about 350 equine professionals from multiple countries, including close to 100 students, and feature the presentation of over 200 research abstracts. Since 1985, graduate students have had the opportunity to present their research and compete in oral presentation competitions during symposiums. In 2007, an undergraduate student oral research competition was added and quickly became a popular and competitive component of the symposium. Additionally, a graduate student is elected to serve on the ESS Board of Directors, further demonstrating ESS’s commitment to student involvement and developing young talent for the equine industry. For a history of the first 25 symposiums, click here.
Over the years, ESS has established itself as one of the preeminent, internationally-recognized scientific equine organizations, advocating for and advancing the care of equines through extensive contributions in the areas of equine research, teaching, and extension. The future of ESS continues to shine bright with a strong commitment to professional development, student involvement, sharing of research-based information, membership communication, and collaboration opportunities, and will continue to evolve to address the diverse needs of the equine industry.
ESS also recognizes the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as essential qualities of a vibrant and successful organization. We embrace diversity in our scientific and equestrian disciplines and in the identities and experiences of our members and stakeholders. We will strive to create opportunities for equity and inclusion and encourage active and meaningful participation for all of our members and clientele.
To create an environment of diversity and inclusion within ESS, the following action items are proposed:
- Broaden participation from audiences not typically represented in the ESS membership, by recruiting equine students and faculty from 1890 land-grant universities, liberal arts colleges with equine programs, and historically black colleges and universities.
- Offer workshops and mini symposiums about diversity, equity, and inclusion, to ESS members. These can be offered periodically throughout the year and/or at the ESS symposium.
- Create a scholarship and/or travel grant program to support travel to the ESS symposium to students and faculty from underrepresented groups and academic institutions.
- Develop and strengthen relationships and networks with equine scientists from countries outside of the United States.