Horse Behaviour & Safety – Winter ’19

Jan 21 – Mar 4

3 wks (5-10 hrs/wk)

CE Eligible

Welcome to Equine Guelph’s Horse Behaviour and Safety 3 week online course.

In this course you will be given the tools to take action to create a safe environment for you and your horse by;

  • Gaining an understanding of horse behaviour
  • Learning smart, practical horse handling skills
  • Reducing physical risks on your horse’s farm

Information presented is applicable to all sectors of the horse industry. Increasing knowledge of best safety practices stands to benefit the horse industry by reducing the risk of injuries. You will also learn to identify safety and fire risks around the farm to allow a safer environment for you and your horse.

Course Topics:

  1. Horse Behaviour – Wild vs Stabled
  2. How Horses See and Hear
  3. Herd Behaviour – How Horses Interact with Each Other
  4. Horse Handling – Basic Safety Around Horses
  5. Rider/Helmet Safety
  6. Safe Trailering – Basics
  7. Fire Safety
  8. Safety around the Barn and Paddocks
  9. Returning from an Injury

This course may be of interest for:

  • All coaches, stable managers and instructors to learn best practices for safety
  • All youth leaders in order to consistently promote safety standards for your students
  • Association and policy development leaders to ensure high safety standards are being upheld in your programs.
  • New horse owners, or those who are thinking of getting a horse and want to learn more

Sneak Preview!

In this course you will learn to:

  • Understand horse behaviour and how to speak their language
  • Learn smart, practical horse handling skills
  • Reduce physical risks on your horse’s farm

Please Note: Even people who are experienced with horses can be injured by them. In doing activities that require close contact with horses we suggest you use great care and if you are unfamiliar with horses we recommend you work closely with someone who is an experienced and safe horse handler.

Assignments and Assessments

You are required to complete the assignments to receive your certificate of completion but assignments are not graded. Completion of assignments is recommended for personal achievement

Part A: Horse Handling Factsheet

The first part of your assignment is to create a horse handling factsheet that could be posted in a barn.  Please pick one skill and describe how to do it safely. Please limit it to one letter sized page (single sided).  The font size can be large and we recommend using a numbered or bullet point list.  You want it to be easy for people to read if posted on a bulletin board in a stable.

Suggestions for topics (but please feel free to pick one that isn’t listed):

  • Approaching a horse in a field or in a stall
  • Taking a horse out of the field through a gate
  • Putting on a halter
  • Leading a horse
  • Taking off a halter and releasing a horse in a stall or field
  • Tying a horse or using cross-ties
  • Basic grooming
  • Blanketing a horse

Background information for this assignment will be covered throughout the course.

Part B: Fire Prevention Inspection of a Stable

The second part of your assignment is a fire prevention inspection of your stable (or a stable that you have access to).

Print assignment_partB_template (Fire Prevention Checklist) and spend some time in your stable. (note: pdf is not “checkable”)

Please address each checkbox on the list. Include a summary of your areas of concern and how you plan to make improvements.

You are required to complete these assignments to receive your certificate of completion but assignments are not submitted or graded.  We encourage you to complete these and perhaps post in your barn.

Quizzes – You are required to complete 4 quizzes

Time Commitment:

  • Occurs over a 3-week period
  • 5-10 hour/week time commitment is required during this period
  • No set times to be online each week
  • Recommended you visit the course site at least 5 times a week, preferably once or more each day
  • Course is entirely online, so travel to the University of Guelph is NOT required


  • All materials are provided online within course site


  • 16 years of age or older

For more information, please contact Susan Raymond

Phone: 519 824-4120, ext. 54230

Email: [email protected]

Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Equine Guelph – the horse owner’s Centre at the University of Guelph.

Continuing Education Credits/Professional Development:


Dr. Rebecca (Gimenez) Husted

Dr. Rebecca Gimenez

A volunteer firefighter in Gray, GA, Rebecca is doing R&D work with University of Edinburgh (UK), EKU (KY) and several veterinary schools. An internationally sought speaker and instructor, she edited the only textbook available to the fire service and veterinarians on technical rescue of large animals.

Rebecca holds a BS (Wofford College) and PhD (Clemson University).  Current scientific research interests include a national survey of trailer accident causality and a study of physiological responses to Technical Rescue procedures and equipment in large animals. A past Logistics Officer for FEMA’s Veterinary Medical Assistance Team (VMAT -2), decorated combat veteran and a Major in the US Army Reserves, she is active in various organizations related to disaster preparedness. She gives training worldwide in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue techniques, using privately owned animals that she trains for hands-on demonstrations to perform without sedation. She has published numerous critiques, techniques and journal articles on the subject of technical large animal emergency rescue.

For more information please visit the TLAER website and Rebecca’s Blog

* Guest Expert subject to change.


“This course was extremely useful in reinforcing and increasing my knowledge about safety and horse behaviour. Having access to the course instructor and the guest expert for questions was invaluable, along with the well-researched material.  Everything was presented in a practical, hands-on manner. Highly recommended for everyone involved with horses.”

Joan Chess-Woollacott, Horse Owner (Prince George, BC)
Student, Horse Behaviour & Safety

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole and “Storm”

“The course has provided me with many tools to keep me safe when riding and working with my horse. The course instructor and guest speaker were available to answer questions, and the course website was easy to use! The required reading material and the additional resources were concise and clear making the learning process fun! The course definitely exceeded my expectation! I would like to take more online courses with the Equine Guelph in the near future! Thank you!”

Olivia Kole, Horse Owner and Rider (“The Ranch – Oakville, ON)
Student, Horse Behaviour and Safety

“The Horse Behaviour and Safety Course is a must for both experienced and non-experienced horse lovers, owners and riders.”

Donna Elkow-Nash, Owner
Student, Horse Behaviour & Safety



“This online course is well presented and easy to follow with illustration portions and short quizzes making it a great way to remember the material. The instructor provides individual feedback and encourages group discussions to maintain engagement. I recommend this course for everyone involved with horses to gain a better understanding of their behaviour and how we can make safety our top priority.”

Pat Jacobson – Rider / Driver (Regina, SK)
Student, Horse Behaviour and Safety

“I loved this course so much I’m going to register for the Diploma in Equine Studies Course! Thank you Equine Guelph for making it easy to learn while still being a wife, mother, business owner, etc!”

Shelby Kennedy
Student, Horse Behaviour & Safety



“As a novice horse rider, I have gained some great insight into horse behaviors I see on my weekly rides! I now have a greater understanding of my horse and how to be a safer handler.”

Kelsey Leaver, Recreational Rider
Student, Horse Behaviour & Safety



“I’m new to the world of horses and horseback riding. This course has been an invaluable resource for me. There’s so much to learn before going near or touching a horse. It has given me a lot of information to horse and barn safety. I’m feeling more confident when being with and handling horses. The course offers a ton of great tips, everything from helmet safety to how to lead and handle horses. This should be a compulsory course anyone involved in the equine world.”

George Leung, Beginner Rider (Pickering, ON)
Student, Horse Behaviour and Safety

“As a person, looking to purchase our first horse, I can attest: nothing could prepare me better than series of on-line courses offered by the University of Guelph. The knowledge shared by instructors and on-line discussions with fellow students make me feel ready to take on a challenge and become a responsible owner of an equine.”

Nadya Scharfenberg, Prospective Horse Owner (Holstein, ON)
Student, Horse Behaviour and Safety


“This was an excellent summary of basic safety, handling and care of horses and the people involved with them.  Great resources provided, well written, well cited.”

Becky Taylor, Owner and Coach
Instructor, Olds College (Olds, Alberta)
Student, Horse Behaviour & Safety

* Special discount price available to members of English-speaking horse associations from across Canada!  For members from PEI, Newfoundland, and Yukon, please visit your Provincial Horse Federations page on The Horse Portal for instructions on how to receive your discount price.

Unit 1 – Introduction and Horse Behaviour: Wild vs. Stabled (Day 1 – Monday)

Unit 2 – How Horses See and Hear (Day 2 – Tuesday)

Unit 3 – Herd Behaviour: How Horses Interact With Each Other (Day 3 – Wednesday)

Unit 4 – Horse Handling: Basic Safety Around Horses (Day 4 – Thursday)

Unit 5 – Rider/Helmet Safety (Day 5 – Friday)

Unit 6 – Safe Trailering: Basics (Day 6 – Monday)

Unit 7 – Fire Safety (Day 7 – Tuesday)

Unit 8 – Safety around the Barn and Paddocks (Day 8 & 9 – Wednesday and Thursday)

Unit 9 – Returning from an Injury (Day 10 – Friday)

Unit 10: Guest Expert and Review (Week Three)