New Bolton Center Offers Equine Behavior Course

How horses interact, the subtleties of equine communication, and the ways in which trainers can influence behavior are all topics of focus at the upcoming short course on horse behavior. The course will be held May 12-13 on the New Bolton Center campus of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) in Kennett Square, Pa.

The intensive two-day course is geared for horse owners, trainers, veterinarians, and anyone who works with horses or has an interest in horse behavior. There is no prerequisite for participation.

Under the direction of Sue McDonnell, PhD, Cert. AAB, head of the equine behavior program at Penn Vet, participants will enjoy a mix of small group presentations, informal talks, and on-site observation of equine behavior. On both days, mornings will be filled with classroom presentations by McDonnell and colleagues from the Havemeyer Equine Behavior Lab. Afternoons will focus on laboratory demonstrations, including techniques of behavior modification with horses. Time will also be spent observing resting, foraging, breeding, and other natural behaviors of Penn Vet's semiferal pony herd.

"This is one of the very few places where you can observe a herd of horses exhibiting the natural behaviors that they would exhibit in their natural herd environment, without interference from humans," says McDonnell. "It is one of the best ways to understand what really makes horses tick."

McDonnell has traveled worldwide to study horses' behavior and is the founding head of Penn Vet's Equine Behavior Program, where her work includes clinical, research, and teaching activities. She is the author of Understanding Horse Behavior and The Equid Ethogram, A Practical Field Guide to Horse Behavior.

Cost for registration is $500 for one day or $900 for both days. At the conclusion of the two-day course, participants will receive a certificate of completion. This short course and every New Bolton Center short course, qualifies for continuing education credits for veterinarians and veterinary technicians, as well as many other professional specialty organizations. For more information on other short courses or to register visit

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