Michigan State Offering Online Horse Behavior and Welfare Course

Every horse owner has at some time wished that his or her steed could suddenly turn into Mr. Ed and talk about its likes, dislikes, pains, and fears. Because that's not likely to happen, a new online educational program is available to help horse owners better understand equine behavior and welfare.

The four-unit horse behavior and welfare online course is the first offering of "My Horse University," a new educational program from Michigan State University (MSU) Global and MSU Horse Programs.

Students in the program can log on to learn and complete hands-on exercises developed by equine scientists. Camie Heleski, PhD, MS, an animal behavioral scientist in MSU's animal behavioral and welfare group, is the lead instructor. The material is designed to help horse owners better understand how horses learn, why they react in various situations and how to use this information in handling and training.

"There are a lot of horse owners who are very busy or who aren't located near a college or university, but they want to know how better to manage and handle their animals," says Christine Skelly, MSU Extension equine specialist and one of the program's developers. "We can use technology to give these folks, no matter where they are, access to university experts and to the most up-to-date findings on how horses respond to care and what makes them happiest and healthiest."

Participants can work on the course whenever and wherever it's convenient. They have up to six months to complete all the units to earn a certificate of completion.

Future "My Horse University" programs will focus on equine nutrition, conformation and selection, horse health, reproduction, and exercise physiology.

Registration for the horse behavior and welfare program is $200. To enroll or learn more, visit www.myhorseuniversity.com.  

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