Behavior on the Radar for BEVA Congress

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BEVA Congress will focus on behavior

There will be the bonus of two plenary lectures at BEVA Congress (September 13-16, 2023 at the ICC Birmingham) again this year. Both will be addressing aspects of behavior to help practitioners optimize horse and human interactions.

The first plenary lecture on Thursday, September 14, will be presented by vet Dr. Gemma Pearson, who is the Director of Equine Behaviour for the Horse Trust. She will talk about the interaction between horse and veterinarian in the John Hickman Memorial Lecture entitled “Equine Behaviour, the good, the bad and the downright dangerous.”

“Equine vets sustain an unacceptably high level of injuries from the horses they are trying to treat. But we often forget that these are normal behavioral responses to an acute stressor for this species,” she said. “I will discuss how we can use an understanding of equine behavior to quickly achieve compliance from our patients. Furthermore, equine behavioral medicine is an exciting and rapidly evolving discipline and I will explore where the future may take us.”

In the second plenary lecture, which marks the second Peter Rossdale Memorial lecture, Sarah Freeman, Professor of Veterinary Surgery, School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham, will discuss the nuances of human behavior change. “The challenge of changing hearts and minds is encountered by vets every day,” she said. “I will explore how we encourage horse owners to make the best evidence-based decisions for equine care and welfare. I will look at the top five welfare concerns in a horse and discuss barriers encountered and some of the possible solutions. I will also share our experiences of owner information campaigns and the different lessons, good and bad, we have learned from doing these.”

Human behavior change is a key theme for David Rendle during his presidential year. In addition to the plenary lectures, there will be several practical human and equine behavioral highlights to enjoy within the main congress program.  

“Behavioral studies enable us to better understand health-related behaviors and identify potential barriers to change,” said David Rendle. “Failure to utilize behavioral science not only compromises the potential benefits of interventions but can result in overtly negative impacts on health.

“Models suggest that in order to change behavior, we first need to understand that behavior and endeavor to understand the attitudes and values which contribute to the behavior being performed, as well as the social and environmental factors which make the behavior easier or more difficult to carry out.”

There will be sessions on how human behavior change can maximize equine welfare, how to have more effective conversations with clients and build stronger relationships and how to change the way things are done to optimize owner perception of the industry. 

  • What every vet needs to know about their clients Thursday, September 14, at 8:30 am
  • Communication in the practice and the field Friday, September 15, at 10:40 am
  • Recognising and managing pain Friday, September 15, at 8:30 am

As well as providing an exceptional scientific program of 90 hours of live and on-demand CPD covering just about every aspect of equine medicine, surgery and practice, BEVA Congress is world-famous for its social scene, and 2023 will be no exception. It will all kick off on Wednesday, September 13, with a welcome reception at the famous Alchemist cocktail bar. Tickets are selling fast and are available to purchase when buying conference tickets.

Super early bird tickets for BEVA Congress are available until May 31, 2023. Tickets provide access to all lecture exhibition halls as well as full access to the virtual congress hub. Delegates will have access to all Congress content for six months after the event via the hub.

Individual super early bird BEVA members prices are £499 for vets and £137 for vet nurses for all three days (with concessionary prices available for those in their first three years of graduation or earning less than £25,000). Day tickets are also available. 

Practices can save on their Congress tickets with our practice passes. Option one is £1,475 providing two vet tickets, one nurse ticket and three on-demand tickets. Option two is £2,950 and provides four vet tickets, two nurse tickets and six on-demand tickets.

To find out more and to book your tickets, visit

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