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Course Description

A herd of five horses running through a green field

Achieve a better understanding of why horses do the things they do and how to provide the best environment possible for their well-being. Gain insight into horse behaviour, through their eyes, and learn how to properly communicate with them to ensure appropriate behaviour.

By reviewing and discussing the most recent research on equine behaviour—particularly as it relates to welfare, environment and handling—you will be able to improve your own training, riding and horse ownership.

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

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

  • Explain key aspects of horse behaviour and the impact of various equine management practices on their health and welfare
  • Recognize the perception capabilities of the horse
  • Outline and monitor a prevention program for horses based on their perception capabilities and the management factors that impact their perception
  • Identify common behaviours of horses and the methods available to prevent and/or manage these problems
  • Examine and discuss elements of horse communication between horses, and between humans and horses
  • Discuss social and play behaviours of the horse as they relate to housing, handling and training
  • Critically assess new information based on scientific research
  • Discuss ingestive and eliminative behaviours and how they may impact the horse’s health
  • Critically assess your own management program for mares, foals and stallions in your care as it relates to behaviour of each
  • 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 who are at least 18 years of age.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.
  • You may take this as an individual course or choose to complete one of our equine certificates or the diploma.*
  • You do not need access to a horse to participate and be successful in this course.
  • You can expect to spend 6-10 hours per week to compete the course material, discussions and assignments.**

*If you are a certificate or diploma program student, we recommend that you complete Management of the Equine Environment first, or very early in your course of studies. This course is offered every semester.

**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 behaviour students. Participation in optional activities increases the amount of time per week you will need to commit to the course.


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

Please note that the course assessment is subject to change.

Sponsoring Partner

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


View the upcoming course schedule at Equine Studies Upcoming Schedule

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