Making Connections With Your Horse By Studying Equine Behavior

Credit: According to course instructor Dr. Gustafson, stereotypic behaviors such as cribbing or chewing are often the result of substandard husbandry.

We live in a technologically driven information age where there is an app for almost anything, but when it comes to horses, there is no substitute for knowledge and education. Learn to better understand horses through their own eyes and how to care for their physical and behavioral needs with Equine Guelph’s online course Equine Behaviour.

“The primary focus in this class is not to explore what horses can do for humans, but to teach humans what they can do for horses, to facilitate willing partnerships by maintaining optimal physical and behavioural health,” said course instructor Dr. Sid Gustafson.

Within this 12-week course, Gustafson said students will learn about the evolution of the horse, tracing the horse’s development through time in order to appreciate the nature of the horse. Students also will discuss domestication science to understand the merging of human society with horse society and the social constructs that are shared between humans and horses. Other topics include horsemanship based on learned science, equine welfare, social play, training, and the various stereotypies that affect horse behavior such as cribbing, rearing and bucking.

An equine behaviorist, novelist, and veterinarian, Gustafson was raised with horses on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana and was able to experience the culture of horses and humans in a natural setting. He operates a pet and equine practice in Big Sky, Montana, where “these days, my students and horses are my primary teachers.” To learn more, please visit

“The objective of this course is to make the world a better place for horses, and subsequently make it a better place for horse folk,” he said. “Students learn how to care for horses as horses prefer to be cared for.”

Equine Behaviour and Advanced Equine Behaviour arepart of the Equine Science Certificate continuing education program and will be included in Equine Guelph’s Winter 2014 online lineup. Other course offerings include Equine Functional Anatomy, The Equine Industry, Management of the Equine Environment, Equine Health & Disease Prevention, Marketing and Communications in the Equine Industry, Advanced Equine Health through Nutrition and Global Perspectives in Equine Welfare. The Winter semester runs from Jan. 13, 2014, to April 5, 2014. Registration is now open.

For more information, please contact Open Learning and Educational Support at, call 519-767-5000 or visit

Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and care givers’ Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicenter for academia, industry and government–for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit






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