Equine Behaviour Online Course

Equine Behaviour Course Online

Duration 100 hrs (12 months)
Exam Optional
Tutor Support Yes unlimited by email
Qualification Certificate

About this course

This equine behaviour online course presents an in depth study of the behaviour of horses including psychological influences on behavior and how principles of learning are applied as effective horse training methods.

Students will work through lessons over-viewing motivators of equine behavior, how genetics influence behavior, perception in horses and how horses respond to stimuli, social structure and communication behavior, sexual and reproductive behavior, how horses learn through conditioning and reinforcement, and factors influencing
abnormal behavior in horses.

This course is suitable for individuals wanting to develop a deeper understanding of horse behavior as well as gain practical skills in properly handling and training horses.

In this Equine Behaviour Course Online you will learn:

  • Identify factors affecting equine behaviour.
  • Describe the influence of genes on equine behaviour.
  • Explain how horses perceive and how they respond to various stimuli
  • Explain how horses communicate and the nature of their social organisation.
  • Explain the sexual and reproductive behaviour of the horse.
  • Describe the different ways that horses learn and how this can be applied to the training environment.
  • Explain how and why behavioural problems occur and how they can be prevented.


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Detailed Course Outline

This course is made up of a number of lessons or units.  Each of these has self assessment questions, a set task (practical homework) and an assignment which you can upload online.  Click below to read about each of the lessons and what you will learn.

There are 7 lessons in this course:

Introduction: Influences and motivation

  • Why study equine behaviour?
  • What motivates behaviour?
  • Reactive behaviour
  • Active behaviour
  • Cognitive behaviour
  • Species behavioural differences
  • Learned behaviour
  • Classical conditioning
  • Stimulus conditioning
  • Trace conditioning
  • Delayed conditioning
  • Operant conditioning
  • Terminology

Genetics and Behaviour

  • Understanding the basics
  • Heritability
  • Epigenesis
  • Innate behaviour
  • Selective pressures
  • Social behaviour
  • Rank
  • Conflict

Equine Perception and Behaviour

  • Imprinting
  • Negative imprinting
  • Sensory reception
  • Mechanoreceptors
  • Thermoreceptors
  • Chemoreceptors
  • Photoreceptors
  • Stimulus filtering

Communication and Social Behaviour

  • Social Constraints
  • Herd Membership
  • Auditory signals
  • Chemical signals
  • Communication
  • Co-ordination
  • Cohesion

Sexual and Reproductive Behaviour

  • Sexual encounter
  • Isolating mechanisms
  • Birthing behaviour
  • Foal imprinting
  • Maternal behaviour
  • Abnormal behaviour

Learning and Training

  • Conditioning and learning
  • Shaping
  • Extinction
  • Habituation
  • Instrumental Learning
  • Thorndike’s Law of Effect (1913)
  • Operant and Respondent Behaviour
  • Pseudo-conditioning
  • Intero-ceptive Conditioning
  • Temporal Conditioning
  • Biological Aspects of Learning
  • Associative Learning
  • Obedience
  • Reinforcement
  • Punishment
  • Systematic desensitisation
  • Counter conditioning

Behavioural Problems

  • Types of Abnormal Behaviour in Horses
  • Diagnosing Behavioural Problems
  • Indicators of Pain
  • Indicators of Mild Fear
  • Indicators of Extreme Fear
  • Stress
  • Stereotypes
  • Stable Vices
  • Prevention
  • Ridden Vices
  • Handling Vices
  • Problems during loading


When you have completed the lessons of your Certificate course, you will be given the option of taking the optional exam. It's okay if you don't want the exam, we still issue your Careerline Certificate. For Advanced Certificates however, the exam is compulsory (per module) and are included in the course fee.

Course Tutor(s)

Meg Anema

M.Sc. Clinical Sciences (Equine Reproductive Physiology)  B.Sc.  Animal Science (Option: Equine Science) B.Sc.Agricultural Economics

Meg grew up training and showing horses in youth and 4-H programs, and then went on to earn Bachelor of Science degrees in Animal Science and Agricultural Economics, as well as a Master of Science degree in Equine Reproductive Physiology. In addition to several years of industry experience as a Quarter Horse breeding farm manager and custom A.I. technician, Meg developed and taught for 10 years in a comprehensive, secondary Equine Science Studies Certificate program covering all areas of Equine Science.  Meg considers the horse to be an absolutely incredible athlete and amazing study! Aside from tutoring Careerline's Equine courses Meg has also taught various courses in equine studies including: Equine Nutrition, Equine Herd Health, Equine Sports Medicine, Equine Reproduction, Equine Industry, Principles of Horse Evaluation, Horsemanship, Applied Genetics, Introduction to Veterinary Science, Animal Anatomy & Physiology, Introduction to Animal Science and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I pay in installments?

Yes! We offer great payment plans, however full payment up front is the cheapest. You can choose the best payment plan for you from the course page, or call us on 07 55368782 to talk to one of our course consultants for a custom plan.

Can I study from anywhere in the world?

We have many international students. Careerline's range of courses are suitable for any one, anywhere in the world.

Do I get a discount if I enroll in a second course?

Yes. You may claim a 5% fee discount when you enroll in a second course, and a further 10% off a three-course package.


Do I have to sit an Exam?

No. If you are enrolled in a Certificate course (100hrs), the exam is optional. You will be issued with a certificate which proves that you are competent in all units, if you choose not to sit the exam.

Do you have set start dates?

There are no set start dates, you may start at any time. Our courses are all self-paced. As our home page says, ‘Courses for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime’. ‘Anytime’ includes the start time of your choice. However, we do encourage our students to submit assignments on a regular basis. Wherever possible, we suggest developing a study routine.