Course Description

If you are in the presence of a horse, you are a horse trainer—good or bad. Whether you know it or not, you are constantly influencing the behavior of the horses around you. You are reinforcing their behavior which means that you are either encouraging or discouraging behaviors to occur again.   This course will help you understand what you can do to change horse behavior and how to do it.

Our goal as trainers and behaviorists is to understand horses and to learn how to train horses using behavior modification techniques powered by a positive reward system. This system is built on the basic principles of operant conditioning.  Understand the basic rules which control the behavior of all living things and you will be well on your way to becoming a good horse trainer.  Students may be required to provide video (VHS or DVD) of situations with horses....and may be assigned individual projects by the instructor.

Course Outline

Lesson 1:
 1.Psychological Terms Part I
            A.Operant conditioning
            B.Shaping
            C.Classical conditioning
            D.Reinforcers


Lesson 2:  
     1.Psychological Terms Part II
            A.Punishment
            B.Desensitization and sensitization

Lesson 3: 
     1.Language of horses
            A.Verbal communication
            B.Non-verbal communication

Lesson 4: 
      1.Feral horse behavior 
      2.Herd dynamics

Lesson 5:
     1.Aggressive and defensive behaviors
     2.Gender differences in behavior
             A.Colt
             B.Breeding Stallion
             C.Maternal behavior

Lesson 6:
     1.Foal training 
     2.Play

Lesson 7:
     1.The use of the senses 
            A.Sight
            B.Hearing
            C.Vision
            D.Touch
            E.Smell
                   a.VMO
      2.Stereotypies

Lesson 8:
      1.Behavior problems and their causes and treatments
      2.Horse and human interactions

Lesson 9:
     1.Welfare and ethics
     2.Donkey and mule behavior

Lesson 10:  
     1.Behavior Research