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Woman embracing horses' head standing in pasture


Discussing equine welfare can be challenging. We have different perspectives and our responses to various issues can often be emotional. This program challenges you to consider welfare from the perspective of the horse. You will use an evidence-based approach to support your views for or against specific issues relating to equine management and gain an in-depth understanding of the Five Freedoms, a core concept in animal welfare. You will examine the science behind what is required to support sound management and welfare practices for horses in Canada and around the globe. 

With a total of six courses to complete, this certificate will help you discover solutions to the behaviour and health problems horses face because of management practices. 

Learning Outcomes 

Upon successful completion of this program, you will be able to: 

  • Examine the issues of equine welfare from a global perspective, with comparisons between countries and the role of horses
  • Describe the various scientific approaches to defining and assessing animal welfare
  • Interpret and critically evaluate equine literature and case studies from a welfare perspective
  • Evaluate management practices using an evidence-based foundation to recognize equine welfare issues and describe the impact of social and international pressures
  • Reflect on the role of ethical treatment of horses in all their various roles and the future of equine welfare in Canada, US and globally
  • Interpret a horse’s emotional state using physiological, physical, social and behavioral information and identify specific practices and procedures that contribute to positive and negative states
  • Assess from the nutritional perspective, current trends and circumstances that are having an impact on the sustainability of the equine industry, and the impact for the future
  • Identify common health problems and strategies available to prevent and/or manage health and welfare issues in horses
  • Compare standards of equine management practice in Canada, US and worldwide
  • Summarize the progress made by researchers to support horse welfare
  • Discuss and debate with industry leaders around the many challenges facing the equine industry
  • Discuss and address contentious issues with people of diverse perspectives in a professional and compassionate manner
  • Demonstrate the ability to extract new information from texts, required readings, and journal articles, assessing relevance and accuracy of the information


This certificate is well-suited for anyone interested in the health and welfare of equids in their care and around the world, and will compliment careers and work in the following areas:

  • Association management
  • Rescue facilities and operations
  • Facility owners and managers
  • Veterinary practices
  • Barn management and support workers
  • Equine welfare specialist 
  • Equine health specialist
  • Animal protection and welfare assessment


This program requires the completion of four required courses and two electives. Courses may be taken in any order. 


Enrolment is on a course-by-course basis and there is no application required. This program is intended for adult learners who are at least 18 years of age or have completed Grade 12 or equivalent. Course availability changes each semester. It is recommended you submit notification requests for each course in the program to be informed when registration opens. Course registration closes six days after the start of the semester. The courses are facilitated by an instructor and all students registered in the course progress through the course content at the same time.

Complete four required courses and two elective courses. Request your parchment through the OpenEd Student Portal once all requirements are met.

You can take up to 5 years from the start of your first course to complete and receive the certificate.

The price per course is currently $625. Course prices are subject to change and are not guaranteed. The total cost of the program may vary depending on available discounts* and the length of time to completion.

*There are early bird and alumni tuition discounts available for this program.

Additional Information 

If you would like additional information about this program, please contact our Main Office

Sponsoring Partner 

Equine Guelph 
Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare 

Industry Certification

Equestrian Canada recognizes equine online accredited courses delivered by the University of Guelph as an approved professional development activity for NCCP certification maintenance. Each course will receive the maximum 3 points award per activity.

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