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Equine Behaviour and Psychology – Diploma

As well as an enjoyable course, this is designed to be a serious introduction into the fascinating subject of equine behaviour. Obviously the subject matter is huge and it would be impossible to cover it all in a course of this size, but if you have never studied psychology before this is a good place to start.

Course Modules

  1. Ways of Explaining Equine Behaviour
  • What can affect behaviour? The effects of learning, diet, hormones, physical conformation.
  • What is learning? An introduction to learning theories, including the nature/nurture debate
  • The different ways horses learn
  • Do horses think? Do they feel emotions?
  • Instincts and innate behaviour
  • Learning through experience, trial and error learning and one-trial learning and the effects on future behaviour
  1. Sexual Behaviour and Foaling
  • Sexual behaviour within a herd
  • The effects of hormones on the male and female horse
  • Reproductive anatomy and physiology
  • The behaviour of the mare in season
  • The effects of gelding a horse
  • Courtship and mating
  • Pregnancy and foaling
  1. Foal and Young Horse Behaviour and Psychology
  • The differences between altricial and precocial species at birth
  • The first few hours of a foal’s life
  • Critical and sensitive periods
  • Imprinting and imprint training
  • Social communication between horses
  • The importance of play for a young horse
  • Weaning of foals and separation from the mare
  • Learning, and classical and operant conditioning
  • The principles of reinforcement and the way horses learn
  • Habituation
  • The shaping of behaviour using successive approximation
  1. The Behaviour and Psychology of the Adult Horse
  • Evolution of the breeds of horse, and the differences between artificial and natural selection
  • The equine senses, and their impact upon the behaviour of the horse and its survival
  • Sexual, psychological and physical maturity and the normal development
  • The development of social behaviour, and aggressive behaviour
  • Herd behaviour and the hierarchy within a herd
  • The elderly horse and behavioural changes
  1. Unusual Equine Behaviour
  • What is normal, and what is abnormal in terms of behaviour?
  • Maladaptive learning
  • The causes of stereotypical behaviour
  • Physical problems that can alter behaviour
  • Vacuum activities and fixed-action patterns of behaviour
  • Self-mutilation
  • Aggressive behaviour and the possible causes
  • Anomalous reactivity and learned helplessness
  • Latent learning
  • Escape and avoidance learning
  1. Avoiding Problem Behaviour
  • Determining the cause of problem behaviour
  • Buying a horse and vetting it
  • Stress in horses and how to reduce it
  • The management of horses in line with natural equine behaviour
  • The traditional methods of stopping stereotypical behaviour
  • Artificial gadgets used in horse training
  • Alternative methods of dealing with problem behaviour
  • Shaping of behaviour, including the use of clicker training
  • Feeding to avoid problem behaviour

Course details:

  • Study Level 3

The study Level relates to the how demanding the course is. 1 is beginner and 5 is HND / Foundation Degree level.

  • 6 Module Course

This course is delivered in 6 study modules which need to be passed to gain the qualification

Fees: Excluding VAT

  • Upfront course fee – R8470 (includes registration and certification)
  • Installment option – R1750 registration, R250 certification and R1300 per module


Monthly installments – Choose your own amount to pay monthly, no less than R500, over and above reg and cert payment. (This option ensures that finances don’t get in the way of completing your course, giving you peace of mind.)(Each module must be paid up before release.)

Register Here