So, You Want to be an Equine Behaviorist

I am extremely interested in becoming an equine behaviorist. I want to know more about how to go about pursuin
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Q: I am extremely interested in becoming an equine behaviorist. I want to know more about how to go about pursuing a career in this field. I live in north central Kansas and currently have one full-time job and one part-time job. I’m not sure where to go for courses in my area. I learn best with hands-on instruction so I’m not especially fond of online courses. Is there a particular institute you would recommend? What courses should I take? I imagine there would be horse training involved in this field as well as teaching the horse owner? What is a typical day like as an equine behaviorist? Any information you can provide me is greatly appreciated!

Stephanie, via e-mail


A: It’s exciting to hear that you are interested in preparing for a career in horse behavior. Your questions are not uncommon. Here is a list of the course material I would recommend as most useful:

1. Horse behavior basics: natural social structure, the equid ethogram (a catalogue or inventory of all behaviors or actions exhibited by horses), natural foraging, resting, and social interactive behavior

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Sue M. McDonnell, PhD, is a certified applied animal behaviorist and the founding head of the equine behavior program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also the author of numerous books and articles about horse behavior and management.

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