Equine Behaviour Foundation Course

This course aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to manage, handle and train horses in a way that meets their behavioural needs as well as their physical needs.  

Next Course Starts 

2nd of November, Stirling

About The Course

This course aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to manage, handle and train horses in a way that meets their behavioural needs as well as their physical needs.  

A deeper understanding of equine behaviour leads to: 

  • Improved physical and mental welfare for horses  
  • Improved physical and mental welfare for humans! Dangerous, frightening and frustrating conflict behaviours can be addressed and resolved 
  • More effective and enjoyable training 

The course will encourage students to understand the behavioural needs of horses as a species, and also to assess each horse as an individual.

We move away from ‘systems’ and evaluate the quality of their environment and experiences not through our preconceptions of what they ‘should’ benefit from, but from trying to understand their responses 

Who is this course for?  

For anyone who wants to learn more about equine behaviour! For example horse owners, grooms, riding instructors, livery yard managers, vets – anyone who spends time with horses and would like to understand them better.  

The course is also the first stage in the equine behaviourist training offered by the EBA 

Application process 

To apply for the course, please complete the application form.

As spaces are limited, to secure a place on an upcoming course, a non-refundable deposit of £270 is required if your application is successful. 

Each application will be assessed on its merits, with no fixed entry conditions – we would like the course to be accessible to all who would benefit from it.


Each module comprises 12 hours of face-to-face teaching time; a mixture of lectures and practical application.

In addition to this, course work will take about 20 hours to complete per module, and support via email or phone will be provided free of charge throughout the course.  

Modules will typically be run over a full weekend, roughly 5 weeks apart.

However, course providers may offer 1-1 teaching, or an evening class format, or week long sessions covering several modules; we will endeavour to make the courses as accessible as we can.


In addition to the deposit, each module costs £130 to attend, payable 2 weeks in advance of the module. Marking of coursework costs £25 per module. Entry to the exam is £200.

We also allow attendance on individual modules. Please contact us for more details on which modules are available and how to attend.

Affordable Payments Plans Available on Application

1-1 tuition or other special arrangements may be arrange at an additional fee. Please contact your course provider for details.  

We also allow attendance on individual modules. Please contact us for more details on which modules are available and how to attend. 


Assessment and qualification 

Each module will have coursework attached, which will be assessed by EBA assessors. 

Completion of this coursework is required to achieve the EBA Equine Behaviour Certificate.

Each piece of coursework should take roughly 20 hours to complete. 

At the end of the course there will be an exam. This will include assessment of the student interacting with horses and an oral exam.  Exam Fee £200


All modules will consist of 10 hours of classroom time and 2 hours of practical work unless otherwise stated.

Module 1 : Body Language and Communication.

In order to build a good relationship with your horse, meet their needs and train them effectively and ethically, it is essential that communication is two way!

This module will help you to identify what your horse is communicating both consciously and unconsciously; where subtle changes in body language reflect changes in emotional state for example.

There is a strong focus on recognising the subtle signs that indicate that all is not well, but also discussion on how we can tell when we are getting it right!

Practical work will develop the student’s skills in applying the theory objectively to the horses they encounter in real life.

Module 2 : Learning

In this module the basics of learning theory will be covered.

There are lots of examples of practical application to horses and the things that we would like them to learn as well as discussion of problems arising from misapplication of the theory.

A strong emphasis will be placed on helping students to train in a way that is not only scientifically correct but is also ethical.

This follows module 1 as applying learning theory ethically cannot be achieved without a solid understanding of how the horse is responding to the training.  

Module 3 : Basic Needs and Beyond – The Horse’s Point of View

 We all have ideas about what horses need, often strongly influenced by the culture we grew up in.

This module will outline the evolution of horses, and examine how feral horses live today, using this information to consider the needs of our domestic horses without confusing them with our own traditions and needs. 

Mental well-being will be discussed as it applies to all sentient animalsto equines, and to specific individuals

The aim of this module is to be able to objectively assess and improve the mental well-being of our domestic equines. 

Module 4 : Horse/Human Relationships

A good relationship is essential between horse and human when they spend time together; without this safety, welfare and effective communication are all compromised.

In this module we’ll examine the foundations of a ‘good’ relationship, drawing from research into both inter-species and intra-species relationships.

We’ll look at diverse areas such as the effects of relationships on brain function and developmentattachment theory as a model for how healthy relationships functionand the practical steps to building a healthy relationship with horses.

Module 5 : Training

The fifth module will cover training and retraining techniques.

How to teach horses new skills, and how to change a horse’s existing responses. Often we are focussing on emotions and helping the horse to form positive associations and feel calm and confident about what she is doing, rather than focussing on ‘making’ their behaviour change regardless of their feelings.

Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) guidelines will be discussed in depth, and practice in designing training programmes following these guidelines and applying the training to real horses will be provided.

 In light of the information in previous modules, we will also consider when training is appropriate, or if other changes are necessary first.  

Module 6 : Applying the Theory – Analysis of Common Training Systems

A broad range of training systems and methods will be analysed in this module, from traditional to alternative.

Students will develop their skills in recognising what kind of training is happening (from the horse’s point of view), identifying safety and welfare issues and being able to assess overall whether the training is effective and whether it is ethical.

The ‘side effects’ of various systems will be discussed – not just considering the behaviour changes seen, but the effect on the horse’s well-being, on their relationship with the trainer, and so on.  


Module 7 : Applying the Theory – On The Ground

This is a very practical module. How to apply the theory presented in part one to everyday tasks such as veterinary procedures, grooming, leading, loading, catching; all the things we may do with horses when we are not on their backs!

Students will also be introduced to a small set of exercises that may be used to help build relationship between horse and human, help the horse to ‘learn to learn’, and also a set of alternative behaviours that horse and handler are both comfortable with, which can be asked for in place of unwanted behaviours.   

Module 8 : Applying the Theory – Riding

When we consider applying the theory to riding, many other factors come into play. In this module we’ll consider how riding can develop our horses both mentally and physically, providing them with  mental stimulation, enhancing their ability to learn, strengthening horse/human relationships and enriching their lives.

What does this kind of riding look like? We’ll consider the tack used, biomechanics, training methods and more. 

We believe that the foundations of ridden work should be a horse and rider working in harmony; conflict or coercion adversely affect safety, welfare and effectiveness of training.

The central theme of this module is the laying of these foundations.

Module 9 : Applying the Theory - Solving Equine Behaviour Problems

This module will look at the process of solving equine behaviour problems. A number of case studies will be presented to illustrate the process, and students will be given examples to work through in small groups.

This module will also consider the role of the equine behaviourist as part of a team who work together to help the horse, and the importance of involving the right professionals at the right time.

Course Dates

Next Course Starts 1st of November 2019

Module 1: 2nd November – 3rd November 2019

Module 2: 7th December – 8th December 2019

Module 3: 11th January – 12th January 2020

Module 4: 7th March – 8th March 2020

Module 5: 11th April – 12th April 2020

Module 6: 16th May – 17th May 2020

Module 7: 20th June – 21st June 2020

Module 8: 15th August – 16th August 2020

Module 9: 19th September – 20th September 2020


Foundation Course Application Form PDF

Join as a Supporter

For any individuals who are interested in equine behaviour but who are not practising as an EBA Accredited Equine Behaviourist.

Student Membership

For anyone currently training with EBA either on the foundation training or professional training courses.