On-Demand: Horse Behaviour & Safety – Youth Course (ages 13-17)

On-Demand: 10-15 hrs (self-paced)

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Learn Horsemanship through Understanding Behaviour –  Take action to create a safe environment for you and your horse.

This course may be of interest for:

  • Young horse enthusiasts (aged 13-17) who are taking on more responsibilities for horse care, or are currently taking riding lessons, and want to learn more about horse behaviour and safety
  • Young horse enthusiasts who are interested in a career in the horse industry
  • New horse owners, or those who are thinking of getting a horse and want to learn more

Course Goals:

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

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

Assignments (not graded, but recommended for personal achievement and required for certificate of completion) Quizzes – please check as some are required and others are optional.

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 the Fire Safety Checklist (pdf) 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 the 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.

Time Commitment:

  • 10-20 hours total time commitment to complete the course
  • On-demand format – complete at your own pace!
  • No set times to be online
  • Course is entirely online, so travel to the University of Guelph is NOT required


  • All materials are provided online within course site


  • This course is for students aged 13-17

For more information, please contact Jackie Bellamy. Phone: 519 824-4120, ext. 54756 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.

Jackie Zions is a certified Equestrian Canada Dressage judge and a competition coach specializing in eventing. She is also the communications manager at Equine Guelph – writing for equestrian magazines as well as coordinating special events. Jackie came by her passion for horses at the young age of nine – much to the surprise of her ‘non-horsey’ family. That love of horses has been a driving force taking her all over the globe in varied capacities, including: teacher, trainer, stable manager and competitor. Jackie brings over 20 years of experience in the horse industry and is passionate about educating our youth about horse behaviour, using common sense and staying safe.

For questions about course content or resources, please email Jackie at [email protected]

“Thank you for doing the youth horse behaviour and safety course.

I really enjoyed the course and learned a lot. This course was really useful and helped me learn a lot.  The course was really fun and I wish it was longer.”


Lillian – Student, Horse Behaviour and Safety Youth Course

Stop Think Act Program

Farm Safe, Not Lucky

Equine Guelph’s safety program partner, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) is helping farmers, agriculture workers and farm families keep safe through a program called Stop Think Act (STA).

Stop Think Act is a simple, yet powerful behaviour-based safety program that encourages people to consider the task at hand and ask themselves how their own actions could contribute to a safe and productive outcome.

We encourage you to visit WSPS’s website and view the program’s introduction video and Stop Think Act Topic-Specific Videos and Resources.  Many of these resources have been incorporated into our course.

For more resources and youth activities visit: https://thehorseportal.ca/stop-think-act/

So, before you begin a task, always remember to:

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1 year of access

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