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Course Description

Blonde woman smiling at white and brown (paint) horse

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated" ~Gandhi (1869-1948) 

The Equine Welfare course explores controversial and sensitive issues surrounding the use of horses. It will enable all those with an interest in horses to gain an awareness of the specific human uses of horses and the welfare problems and abuses that can sometimes occur as a result.

Students will study reliable scientific research and evidence-based information to support an informed debate. The course will draw on the expertise of leaders in equine health and welfare science introducing concepts and definitions of animal welfare. Students will discuss how to recognize negative emotional states, how welfare can be objectively assessed in the horse, and specific practices which may compromise horse welfare. Equine Welfare is intended to stimulate thought and discussion in the equine industry.

At the end of the course you will be able to articulate your personal philosophy and position on maintaining the spirit and wellness of the horse.

Designed For:

Students who have a desire to improve their own understanding and raise awareness of horse welfare including housing, management practices and procedures that can affect horse welfare.

Animal protection workers, rescue facility operators, by-law enforcement and police officers, equine associations, animal welfare organizations and government regulatory agencies are a few of the people working in the equine industry who would benefit from this course.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Discuss the history and schools of thought on animal welfare;
  2. Describe the various scientific approaches to defining and assessing equine welfare;
  3. Examine how equine welfare is measured from animal-based, management-based and environmental-based perspectives;
  4. Interpret and critically evaluate horse literature and case studies from a welfare perspective;
  5. Make objective and evidence-based judgements on horse welfare; and
  6. Give examples of horse behaviour and anatomy specific practices and procedures that can compromise horse welfare.

Course Topics

  • Equine Welfare and Ethics
  • The science of Equine Welfare
  • Human-equine Interaction
  • Health, Disease, Nutrition, Behaviour and the Quality of Life
  • Pain Recognition in the Horse
  • Alternative Therapies and Animal Welfare
  • Welfare Issues in Different Industries
  • The Unwanted Horse

Additional Requirements

This course is intended for adult learners, at least 18 years of age.


Assessment Items Weight
Online Quizzes (4 x 2.5%) 10%
Discussion Participation (2 x 10%) 20%
Minor Assignment 30%
Major Assignment 40%
Total 100%


The Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare
Equine Guelph
Open Learning and Educational Support


You do not need access to a horse, or own your own horse to participate and be successful in this course.

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

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.


View the upcoming course schedule at Equine Studies Upcoming Course Schedule


Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrolment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrolment opens.

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