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Behaviour & Safety Q&AJanuary 2019

Two horses leaping

Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

If you work around horses, safety is of paramount concern. Learning horsemanship through understanding equine behaviour and language is one of the best ways to reduce physical risks. Equine Guelph is offering their Horse Behaviour and Safety online course for teens and adults to learn practical horse handling skills. Both courses will run from January 21 - February 8.

Does this horse kick for no reason or is there an underlying cause?

Horse language is typically subtle. Ever notice how one horse can move the others away from a food source in the paddock simply with a look? Humans do not always pick up on this subtle body language. A cranky look with flattened ears when an ill-fitting saddle is applied often goes missed or dismissed. A horse that resorts to kicking may be turning up the volume on signals that have been ignored for quite some time. So we need to ask ourselves, does this horse kick for no reason?

Cribbing – A behaviour or nutritional deficiency?

Equine Guelph delivers evidence-based information; always sourcing reputable research studies to separate myths from science. Recent research into the horses digestive system suggests a grain diet affects gut acidity and can contribute to gastric ulcers. Both have been linked to cribbing behaviour. If forage is lacking for hours on end, is the horse coping because there is nothing in it’s gut to buffer the acidity?

The Horse Behaviour and Safety course will delve into topics covering human-made problems in horsekeeping in the very first chapter when wild versus stabled horse behaviour is discussed. Join in the discussions; TheHorsePortal courses connect a large community, all across Canada and beyond, with the same passion for horses.

Special Guest speaker, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez-Husted will return, sharing wisdom gained from her extensive background in teaching Large Animal Rescue around the globe. Gimenez-Husted will be answering your questions in the discussion forums for both the youth and adult offering.

Further topics include: How Horses See and Hear
Herd Behaviour – How Horses Interact with Each Other
Horse Handling – Basic Safety Around Horses
Rider/Helmet Safety, Safe Trailering – Basics
Fire Safety
Safety around the Barn and Paddocks
Returning from an Injury.

“Through learning how horses perceive the world around them, their human handlers can develop safe best practices for working with them,” says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph.

Equine Guelph has partnered with all English-speaking equestrian federations across Canada and a special 15% course discount is available for both adult and junior members. Coaches and facility members of these associations will be interested in taking this very practical Horse Behaviour and Safety online course in preparation for teaching their own workshops.

Sign up at to have all your horse behaviour and safety related questions answered.