Accredited Equine Behaviour Course

Society of Equine Behaviour Consultants

Accredited Equine Behaviour Course

This one year course, running from October to the following September every year,  covers:
  • Key elements of horse behaviour
  • The practical application of this knowledge to managing and training horses
  • Safety and welfare issues
  • Solving equine behaviour problems
  • The required professional practice for Registered Equine Behaviour Consultants.
The course aims to train successful applicants to run their own business as professional Equine Behaviour Consultants. It will also augment any existing equestrian career. A more in-depth understanding of equine behaviour and training in the practical application of this knowledge helps us to improve equine welfare, to work more safely with horses and to train them more humanely, efficiently and effectively whatever the discipline.

Student Testimonials

  • This is one of those courses which has the ability to change your life; and the lives of the horses around you. Each module is like a jigsaw puzzle which creates a full picture for each topic. Add each module together and what you have at the end is a truly insightful picture…. knowledge, wisdom, empathy and a totally new way of being with your horse. Felicity is definitely a teacher ‘who can’. She has made the course unique and challenges your ethics and beliefs in such a way that is refreshing and empowering. Felicity is a constant source of advice, support and encouragement! Then you go home and put theory into practice….the rewards are massive because you get true and honest feedback from the most important participant. Your horse(s)! So sign up today….you won’t regret it!
    Claire Holywell
  • This course has opened my eyes and make me notice the little things and signs your horse gives you and other horses around you to make the overall experience when dealing with horses an enjoyable one, and I will use everything I have learned in future work with horses to make it more pleasant for both myself and horses.
    Shelley George
  • This course has taught me so much about how horses interact with each other and why, including with ourselves. They try so hard to communicate with us but on many occasions we don't understand. I feel I am now in a better position to listen when they are trying to tell us they are in pain or a nervous. Understanding these signs and knowing how to deal with them is the key to happy, healthy horses and humans.
    Sarah Lang
  • Felicity George is one of those rare teachers that make you want to gallop out of the classroom and straight into your horses paddock to put theory into practice. I liken her to Julia Roberts’ character in the film Mona Lisa Smile: someone who wants to make a difference, someone who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, someone with heart, but most importantly someone who wants to help people be the best that they can be. Now more than ever, I want to use the skills that I have acquired on this equine behaviour course to help horses live a more comfortable and peaceful life. This is a course that every horse owner should enrol on.
    Melissa Volpi BA (Hons)
    Writer, Photographer, Photojournalist and Horse Owner of 17 years
  • I think it's a big eye opener and great insight into the world of your horse and inspires to help create better relationships between horses and humans!
    Regina McBride
  • I've been involved in every single aspect of horses for almost 20 years, worked with horses in 3 different counties. English, western, competitive and leisure and I thought I had the understanding I needed to progress my equestrian professional development. Coming on this course I have realised how much I have been missing! Joining those missing dots has helped clarify and resolve training issues, and identify tensions that I hadn't previously seen. Overall it's been invaluable.
    Jennifer Nash BSc BHSAI

Course Structure

The course consists of 10 modules, each delivered over a weekend at approximately monthly intervals with breaks in December and July.  The course also includes portfolio work to be completed at home after each weekend. The timetable for weekends will be 7 to 9pm on Friday, 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday. All sessions will be very interactive, aiming to provide trainees with a thorough and practical understanding of the subject area, so they can apply what they have learned in the real world. Short (15  - 20 minute) lectures will be interspersed with a variety of other activities such as group discussions of videos, photographs, papers and lecture material, a wide variety of group and  individual exercises and (of course) practical work with horses. For those with a specific interest in individual modules, it is possible to simply select and attend the modules of particular interest without completing the entire course.

Modules

1Understanding Equine Body Language
This is one of the most important elements of horse behaviour to understand and become proficient in for any equine behaviour consultant or equestrian professional. Unconscious awareness of this is the main way in which experienced equestrian professionals become 'good with horses' and how many 'horse whisperers' impress clients. Being able to read, understand and explain body language to clients is an important clinical 'tool' for behaviour consultants
2Understanding Equine Social Behaviour
An in depth knowledge and thorough understanding of equine social behaviour is also particularly important for the successful behaviour consultant. Misunderstandings between horses and people here are a common cause of many serious problems. Equine social systems will be explained as well as how to distinguish between play, defensive aggression, proactive aggression, 'relationship issues' and other types of normal equine social behaviour, including gender–related and reproductive behaviour, an understanding of all of which can be very valuable in managing horses and solving problems for clients.
3How Horses Learn
Learning theory is taught in detail. This module is an essential foundation for understanding how to humanely and effectively train horses, and how to recognise and resolve learned behaviour problems. Trainees will get the opportunity to put this information into practice by training the horses at Tannoch Stables to perform simple tasks.
4History Taking
This module covers case history taking, from first contact with potential clients to procedures for assessment visits. Teaching includes key facts required, cross presentation of handling, ridden and other problems, interview technique, assessment of information from clients, safety do's and don'ts, procedure and methods of note taking and record keeping. Trainees will have the opportunity to conduct interviews, discovering their strengths and areas where improvement is required.
5Practical Training Techniques
The most useful practical training techniques are explained, expanding on Module 3, along with how to select which techniques are most appropriate for individual horses and clients, depending on the nature of the problem and the client’s attitude, ability, time and facilities available. This module also covers safety issues, assessing and advising clients as well as the pros and cons of taking horses in for 're-schooling'. In the practical session, trainees will have the opportunity to practice these techniques on real horses, to help understand common pitfalls and develop the required training and teaching skills.
6Evaluation of Alternative Training Systems
Opinions vary on the benefits or otherwise of alternative training systems, but these are increasingly popular today, especially amongst those relatively new to horses. Many clients experiencing behaviour problems with their horse will have 'had a go' and will ask about these. Trainees will be taught how some of the most popular of these systems actually work (ie not always as promoted), how they can lead to problems and how some elements of some systems can be useful when dealing with some kinds of behaviour problems. The safety and welfare issues involved will be discussed. Trainees are welcome to bring promotional material or DVD's/ videotapes of any system they are particularly keen on or interested in for class discussion.
7Husbandry, Handling and Travel Problems
Trainees will be taught how common practices affect behaviour, can lead to problems and how to diagnose and resolve these kinds of problems. Common problem areas such as loading, travelling, catching, clipping, leading, standing for the vet, or farrier are examined in detail. Stereotypic behaviours (traditionally known as 'stable- vices') are also covered in this module. Knowledge from previous modules is brought together and put into practice.
8Saddlery, Tack and associated Problems
Incorrectly fitted or inappropriate tack is an extremely common cause of fear and pain related equine behaviour problems. Trainees will be taught how to recognise unsafe equipment and poor bridle and saddle fit in particular. The importance of a multidisciplinary approach, involving veterinary surgeons, farriers, riding instructors, veterinary physiotherapists and qualified saddle fitters, is discussed in this module. Experts in physiotherapy (ACPAT Chartered Physiotherapist) and tack fitting (Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Saddle Fitter) will provide additional tuition for this module.
9Ridden Problems
This module covers procedures for assessing, diagnosing and solving ridden behaviour problems. Safety and welfare issues will be discussed, and trainees will be taught how to assess riders, good coaching practice and the benefits of training horses 'on the ground' before mounted training. Trainees will be taught how to diagnose and resolve a wide variety of the most common ridden problems, including difficulties mounting ,rearing, bucking, bolting, napping, spooking, as well as common jumping and performance problems, pulling together knowledge from previous modules and putting it into practice.
10Professional Conduct and Business Practice
Business practice teaching will include record keeping, tax and marketing, as well as the pro's and con's of running your own business and how to avoid some common pitfalls. Trainees will be taught about professional conduct, including veterinary referrals and liaison with other professionals within the equestrian industry as well as report writing, customer service and dealing with difficult customers. Safety and welfare issues will be discussed. This module also covers insurance, legal responsibilities and legislation applying to equine behaviour consultants e.g. relating to Contract, Professional Negligence, Duty of Care and Trading Standards etc. Tutors on this module will include a lawyer and a chartered accountant. There will also be a talk on 'self care' by a psychologist.

In addition to the 'core' modules, which present required information for the completion of portfolio work and sitting the SEBC examination, where time permits on Sunday afternoons new, non-'core' material will also be presented covering topics such as 'bad science' - how to evaluate research and 'scientific' claims; clicker training - pros and cons, is it always 'positive' for the horse?; mental health and well-being in animals; and an examination of how 'modern' riding techniques may impact upon the horse's well-being and behaviour.

SEBC Registration

This Course is accredited professional training for the Society of Equine Behaviour Consultants (SEBC) Professional Training Certificate examination (PTC), which is required for professional registration with SEBC as an Equine Behaviour Consultant in the UK (see www.societyofequinebehaviourconsultants.co.uk). Ten satisfactory Portfolio pieces are required for entry to the PTC examination and the Course has been structured so that each Module covers a corresponding Portfolio piece. For those who wish to proceed to the professional examination and registration, full guidance is given on completion of the required Portfolio pieces.

The course is taught by Felicity George. In some modules, there will be additional tutors who are experts in other relevant fields including Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapists and SMS Qualified Saddle Fitters.

Venue

The course is held at the Stirling Court Hotel, within the Stirling University campus. Public transport links to this venue are excellent, and accommodation is available on site. Practical work with horses takes place at various nearby BHS approved yards, as appropriate for the topic being covered.

Dates

Dates for the 2018/19 course will be finalised in the new year.

Application Procedure

The course is designed for people with practical experience of working with horses. For those wishing to proceed to professional qualification (PTC) and registration with SEBC as an Equine Behaviour Consultant, appropriate people skills are also necessary.

All Applications are considered on individual merit. Degree level qualifications in an appropriate animal science based subject such as equine studies, agriculture science, veterinary medicine, and other animal sciences  such as biology, physiology, genetics or psychology will be an advantage.

Applicants with sufficient professional experience in the horse industry,  or horse owners with broad ranging practical experience with horses and relevant professional  skills from other disciplines, such as teaching and education, nursing, law, childcare, social work, counselling, police work etc. are also likely to be successful.

Applicants should complete and return the application form to the address on the form. Please fill in each section as fully as possible and add C.V. or extra sheets with further information if necessary. The more information is provided, the more likely an application is to be successful. Two references will be required. Successful applicants will receive further information about the Course and be invited to register to secure their place. Numbers are limited to 12 students per year.

Fees

Fees are £195 per Module or £162.50 per month by Direct Debit.

Fees are not refundable but missed Modules which have been paid for may be taken in  the following year without further fees.

Full guidance on reaching the required standard in the portfolio work is included in the fees. Also included in the fees are refreshments, telephone and email support throughout the year and access to an extensive library of books and DVDs on equine behaviour and related topics.

Portfolio assessment fees (currently £25 per module) and Exam fees (currently £275) are payable separately to SEBC.

Please do not send fees with your application. Successful applicants will be advised on how to pay when registering.