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Profile on Claire Neveux, Ethonova

Claire Neveux of Ethonova has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about her horse behaviour business.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
My job is much more of an office job really. I talk and write about horses everyday but I really just spend a few hours a week with horses. I do experimental tests every 2-3 months and then I spend a few hours a day with them, but not riding or petting them, just observing…

Claire Neveux of Ethonova | Equus Education

Claire Neveux of Ethonova | Equus Education

What is it exactly that you do?
I have a Masters in Ethology, animal behaviour science, and I created my own business, an equine behaviour consulting firm, Ethonova.  I conduct research and development missions for startups, companies or public labs as an independent research firm.

Therefore, I test prototypes, new product development or new software/service content around horse behaviour and welfare. Here are a few activities I do all along the year : read bibliography on past studies about horse behaviour and physiology, write scientific protocol, test prototypes on horses, analyse the data, write reports, talk at seminars or conferences, teach horse behaviour and physiology…

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
There are very few independent researchers in Ethology.  In order to have a full time job in horse ethology, I also teach horse behaviour and physiology.

Favourite horse memory?
That’s a good question. Before being an ethologist, I was working in the thoroughbred industry. I’ve been a horse professional for a while now and this question did not get into my mind for a long, long time. I suppose this would not be a precise memory but rather an eye-opener situation about horse behaviour.

When I worked in horse breeding in South Africa, the way horses were bred was so different from Europe, mainly because of the weather and the land. I then realized that horses did not need to live in a stable every day/night and that their welfare would only be fulfilled if they could carry out their natural behaviours days and night such as grazing, having social contacts, walk freely… That’s what convinced me to go back to University and learn animal behaviour.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
In order to become an ethologist, you have to have a Masters degree in Ethology. Then you can choose which species or which thematic (stress, maternal behaviour, social behaviour…) you wish to specialize in. You can also become a researcher in a public lab if you study further to get a PhD in Ethology.

Future goals?
Improving horse welfare world wide 🙂

Best thing about your sport/profession?
Every day is different and I love it!

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