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Interspecies Relations in Equestrian Sport

By Michelle Gilbert

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This thesis is a sandwich thesis that explores youth participation in equestrian sport. Each of the three papers that comprise the substantive portion of this thesis are stand-alone papers. Each paper employs a mixed methodology which includes document analysis, media analysis, and semi-structured interviews. The goal of the thesis is to analyse and describe: (1) what, if anything, young female equestrians gain from participating in equestrian stables, (2) the form and function of “trust” in competitive youth equestrian sport, and, (3) the characteristics of the equine industry in Canada and how it has evolved since the introduction of the Canadian Pony Club in 1934. These three aspects of equestrian sport in Canada are examined using data from equine industry documents such as reports and program material, equine industry media including websites, online magazines, and blogs, and semi-structured interviews with current and former female equestrians who participated in equestrian sport during their youth. This thesis is a retrospective study. Interviewees were members of the Canadian Pony Club at some point during their youth. The thesis employs a range of sociological theories and perspectives, drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, George Herbert Mead, Niklas Luhmann, and Donna Haraway. Theoretically and substantially, it provides a rigorous understanding of the equine industry in Canada, the human-horse relationship, and female youth participation in equestrian sport. It makes a contribution to sociology by providing an analysis of modernity and the current conditions of the risk society, arguing that the horse (and other animals) now occupy a unique position in society and may act as a means of dealing with the individuality and complexity of a risk society.


Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2015
Pages 211
Publisher McMaster University
Location of Publication Hamilton, Ontario
Degree Philosophy
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animals in culture
  4. Children
  5. Equine sports
  6. Horses
  7. Mammals
  8. Media
  9. Societies