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Course Description

A herd of five horses running through a green field

Enhance the welfare of horses in your care by learning the language of horses. Equine Behaviour encourages you to understand a horse’s behaviour through the eyes of the horse, adapting the horse’s environment and handling through investigating horse perception and learning. Examining equine behaviour research and practice are part of this course designed to improve the health and welfare of horses in your care.

Course topics include horse perception, learning, social hierarchies and play, communication and body care, ingestive and elimination behaviours, interaction of stallions, mares and foals, locomotion, training and handling, transporting horses and unwelcome behaviours (stereotypie).

Designed For

This course is designed for horse owners, trainers, grooms, breeders, stable employees, veterinary technicians, industry representatives, coaches and individuals with an interest in horses.

Learning Outcomes

The goal of this course is to enable you to understand important concepts of equine behaviour and how they relate to the care and welfare of horses.

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:
  1. Explain key aspects of horse behaviour and the impact of various equine management practices on their health and welfare;
  2. Recognize the perception capabilities of the horse;
  3. Outline and monitor a prevention program for horses, based on the perception capabilities of horses and the management factors that impact horse perception;
  4. Identify common behaviours of horses and the methods available to prevent and/or manage these problems;
  5. Examine and discuss elements of horse communication between horses and between humans and horses;
  6. Discuss social and play behaviours of the horse as they relate to housing, handling and training;
  7. Critically assess new information based on scientific research;
  8. Discuss ingestive and eliminative behaviours and how they may impact the horse’s health;
  9. Critically assess your own management program for mares, foals and stallions in your care as it relates to behaviour of each; and
  10. Differentiate between unwelcome behaviours and their causes.

Course Topics

  • Introduction to Behaviour
  • Perception
  • Behaviour and the Brain
  • How Horses Learn
  • Social, Play and Communication
  • Body Care
  • Ingestive and Eliminative Behaviours
  • Stallions, Mares and Foals
  • Unwelcome Behaviours and Stereotypies
  • Training, Handling and Transporting
  • Locomotion
  • Welfare

Additional Requirements

This course is intended for adult learners. Students must either be 18 years of age or have completed Grade 12 or equivalent, in order to register.


Assessment Item Weight
Unit Quizzes (5 x 4%) 20%
Final Quiz 10%
Minor Assignment 30%
Major Assignment 40%
Total 100%


Equine Guelph
Open Learning and Educational Support


You can expect to spend 6 - 10 hours per week to complete the course material, discussions and assignments.

There are optional activities and readings built into the course content which allow you to explore additional topics in equine behaviour. The additional topics are popular among the behaviour students and we would like you to know participating in optional activities increases the amount of time per week you would need to commit to the course.

Do you have more questions? Visit our program page Frequently Asked Questions or send us your question by completing the Request Information contact form.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

*Course details are subject to change.


Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in

Section Title
Equine Behaviour
September 09, 2019 to December 01, 2019
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Potential Discount(s)
Section Notes

Please review our new Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

You are responsible for purchasing the required textbook for this course. Textbooks can be purchased from the University Bookstore, the Co-op Bookstore, or a bookseller of your choice.

If you require assistance, please contact our main office.

Section Materials
  • Textbook (Mandatory) Equine Behaviour: A Guide for Veterinarians and Equine Scientists by Paul McGreevy © 2012 Elsevier 2nd edition ISBN 10: 0702043370
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