If you’re looking to develop a more sensitive and informed training method for horses, studying equine behaviour is crucial. The study of equine behaviour will help you to understand a horse’s behaviour, and to work with its inherent nature for successful, faster results.
The Certificate of Equine Behaviour is ideal for horse training professionals, riding instructors, horse owners, equestrian enthusiasts or anyone who wants to understand these majestic animals better.
While the assumption is that all equine behaviour is an adaptation designed to support survival, it’s not always the case. Horses can behave self-destructively, out of habit, or out of boredom, just like their human counterparts.
So, if you want to enhance the wellbeing and performance of horses in your care by gaining an understanding of what drives their behaviour, this course is ideal for you.
In this online horse training course, you will learn about all aspects of equine behaviour.
- Identify factors affecting equine behaviour
- Describe the influence of genes on equine behaviour
- Explain how horses perceive and how they respond to various stimuli
- Understand 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
- Understand how horses perceive their surroundings
Horse Breeds and Temperament
Horses have personalities – and while many factors influence their behaviour, such as their environment and handling, a lot comes down to genetics. As any horse training professional knows, there are personality traits and temperaments common to certain breeds.
In the equine industry, the terms hot-blooded, warm-blooded and cold-blooded categorise a horse’s temperament, size and origin.
As the name suggests, hot bloods can be highly strung and flighty. They’re comprised of ancient horse breeds from the Middle East. These light, refined, long-legged creatures are the athletes of the horse world, full of energy and with hot tempers. The hot-blooded breeds are the hardest to train but are also the most competitive and are popular racehorses.
The most popular horse racing breed, the thoroughbred is known for its agility, speed and spirit. This breed is also a favourite in equestrian competitions such as dressage and jumping.
The Arabian is the oldest breed in the world, dating back as far as 3000 B.C. The linage is evident in many light horse breeds, including the Appaloosas, Morgans and Andalusians. They’re known for their high spirit, loyalty and loving nature.
Warm-bloods are a combination of hot and cold-bloods that originated in Europe (mainly Germany). Warmbloods are explicitly bred for equestrian sports such as dressage, showjumping, cross-country and leisure riding. They have a robust and attractive conformation and a quiet temperament.
Originating in Germany, this warmblood is popular in dressage and show jumping circuits for its mild temperament and versatility.
The easy-going Dutch Warmblood originates from Holland and is known for its mild temperament and calm nature. They are versatile and excel in at top-level competitive equestrian pursuits from dressage to show jumping, eventing and driving.
Mildly temperamental, this breed is competitive in dressage and reining, but is an exceptional showjumper.
The cold-blooded breeds are heavy draft horses, including Belgians, Clydesdales, Percherons, and Shires. They are renowned for their calm, gentle and patient nature and were bred originally for strength and usefulness in farming and transport.
The Shire is a British heavy draught horse and is the largest and heaviest horse in the world. This breed is versatile for use in driving, leisure riding and competitive equestrian. Shires are renowned for their calm temperament, strength, elegant head and prominent docile eyes.
A Scottish breed of draught horse, the Clydesdale has a formidable statue, feathered legs and a high-stepping gait. They are well-known as gentle, easy-going giants that are easy to train and a joy to work around.
The Percheron is a draught horse that originated from north-western France. It is admired for its immense power, innate intelligence and willingness to perform well under all conditions.
Understanding Horse Body Language
Horses, like humans, experience a range of emotions and express this through their body language. It’s important to read a horse’s body language to take necessary action, whether to protect yourself or to ensure the horse’s health and wellbeing.
A Happy Horse
It’s easy to identify a relaxed, happy horse as they display a comfortable posture, often with a resting hindleg, and alert forward-facing ears. Their eyes are open (but you can’t see the whites of their eyes), the mouth is closed, nostrils are oval, and their muzzle is relaxed.
A Scared Horse
If a horse is worried, they will stand with their head raised and ears either pointing backwards (or moving in all directions), eyes wide, a tense muzzle and square-shaped nostrils. The horse may also be sweating if they are excessively anxious or in pain.
An Angry Horse
It’s essential to identify an angry horse to avoid being bitten or kicked. The angry horse will display aggressive body language, including elongated, open nostrils, ears laid back, wide eyes with whites showing and mouth open showing teeth.
Whether you want to work in the horse training industry or simply want to understand your own horses better, our horse training courses, such as the Certificate of Equine Behaviour is ideal professional or personal development for you.