Horse Care & Welfare – Fall ’21

Sep 20 – Nov 2

2 wks (5-10 hrs/wk)

CE Eligible, Registration is Closed

Register Now

Supporting the Five Freedoms and Beyond

Taking on the care or ownership responsibilities of a horse (or donkey) is a serious and challenging undertaking. It is important for the health and well-being of the animal to ensure that basic industry standards are followed by all of us in the horse industry. And we need to ensure that have the knowledge and skills to do so. Based on the National Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines, this course considers the care and management of horses in terms of the Five Freedoms of animal welfare.

This course may be of interest to:

  • All horse owners who would like to know more about implementing best practices
  • New horse owners, or those who are thinking of getting a horse and want to learn more
  • Employers (e.g., trainers, owners) with an interest to invest in their business through furthering the knowledge of employees caring for their horses; to purchase an online course for an employee, please contact Equine Guelph at [email protected]
  • Those with involvement with horse welfare causes, whether through horse rescues or welfare assessment
  • Anyone involved in horse associations or education programs to learn standards and best management practices
  • All youth leaders in order to consistently promote best practices for your students
  • Policy and program development leaders to learn and encourage best practices

The main objective of this course is to help all horse owners and caretakers develop the knowledge on horse care as well as specific information on Requirements and Recommended Practices presented in the Canadian “Equine Code”. Upon completion of this short course, you will have developed a full understanding of the obligations of horse owners and caregivers as outlined in the Code along with minimal requirements and recommended practices for horse care and handling that are in a part of the “Equine Code”. While this document primarily focuses on horses, donkeys and mules are also covered in this document as there are some important differences.

The assessment will be through online quizzes (one for each week). Quizzes are multiple choice or True/False format and based on the Code.

Time Commitment

  • Occurs over a 2-week period
  • 5-10 hour 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


  • All materials are provided online within course site


  • 16 years of age or older

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:

“A wonderful learning opportunity for both novice and experienced horse owners. The interactive tools are fun and informative. The convenience and duration of these short courses is perfectly suited for our busy lives. Keep them coming!”

Lydia Dubanow (Timmins Therapeutic Riding Association, Timmins ON) Certified EC Instructor, Canadian Therapeutic Riding Coach

“Hats off to Equine Guelph for the development of this new educational tool. What a super easy way to be involved in online courses and learn!! Keep up the excellent work!”

Carol McIsaac (Rocking Chair Ranch, Coldwater ON) Student, Horse Care &Welfare

kim_broadworth“The Horse Care and Welfare short online course is a MUST for all horse owners! The course is easy, flowing, practical and thorough, covering all aspects of horse ownership.”

Kimber Broadworth (Purpledusk Farm, Napanee ON) Student, Horse Care & Welfare

“The Horse Care and Welfare short course was phenomenal!  All aspects of equine care are explored and discussed in an online community. You are doing yourself and your equine partner(s) a disservice if you don’t take the time to educate yourself about the Five Freedoms, The Code of Practice and corresponding Scientific Reports.”

Karen Pearson Student, Horse Care & Welfare

“I think the Horse Care and Welfare course is a wonderful learning tool for ALL horse owners or potential owners.  The Code of Practice contains valuable information regarding the welfare of all equines.”

Debbie Simpson Competition Coach / Judge (Regina, SK) Student, Horse Care and Welfare



Eligible Partner Discounts:

Course discounts available to members of the following equine organizations:

Federation Members – 15% Discount!

access until November 1, 2021 12:00 am


General Enrollment – Register Today!

access until November 1, 2021 12:00 am


Course Instructor

Gayle Ecker Gayle Ecker Course Instructor

Gayle is the Director of Equine Guelph and played an instrumental role in its birth and ongoing development as a Centre for the horse owner at the University of Guelph since 2003. She has dedicated her energies to advancing the equine industry through education and communications on health, welfare and safety. Gayle continues working on a ‘pyramid of education’ model – an educational approach that provides learning pathways for career development at all levels (youth education > industry skills > Equine Certificates and Diploma >leading to higher education) in the equine industry. In collaboration with the Office of Open Learning, Gayle developed the Equine Studies program targeted to the equine industry to provide over 20 online courses that can be combined for Business, Science and Welfare Certificates or an Equine Studies Diploma. She also acts as an instructor in many of the courses, and also for several courses on The Horse Portal. Her horse background includes years of experience in both racing and non-racing sectors of the industry. Gayle completed her Hon. B.A. at Western in Human Exercise Physiology, with an Athletic Injuries focus, followed by her B.Ed from Althouse College. Her M.Sc. was completed at University of Guelph, where she did research on fluid and electrolyte losses in horses over long distance riding and she was part of the On To Atlanta research team from Canada studying heat stress and acclimation in horses. She is also Certified in Equine Welfare Assessment from Colorado State.