New Bolton Center Short Courses on Reproduction, Behavior

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s (Penn Vet) New Bolton Center is pleased to offer a series of equine short courses. These intensive, two-day courses, presented by the Havemeyer Equine Behavior Lab and the Georgia and Philip Hofmann Research Center for Animal Reproduction, are open to the public and designed to be of particular value to veterinarians, horse owners, breeders, trainers, handlers, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and residents in related fields. There is no prerequisite for participation, and each course is valid for 16 hours of continuing education credits.

Programs include a mix of small group presentations, informal talks, and on-site demonstrations by Sue McDonnell, PhD, Certified ABB, and colleagues. McDonnell has traveled worldwide to study the behavior of horses and is the founder of Penn Vet’s Equine Behavior Program, where her work includes clinical, research and teaching activities.

The short courses are scheduled as follows:

  • Stallion Handling (October 20 and 21) focuses on the concepts and skills for safe, efficient handling and general management of breeding stallions. Topics to be covered include stallion and mare restraint, handling for natural covering, dummy mounts, the breeding shed, and encountering and correcting the common behavior problems of breeding stallions. This program will also be offered in March, 2012.
  • Mare and Foal Care and Behavior (October 28 and October 31) looks at both the physical and behavioral aspects of the pregnancy and delivery. On Day 1 the care of the pregnant mare, an in-depth look at normal and abnormal events of delivery and health care of the foal are examined with Patricia Sertich, VMD, Dipl. ACT, associate professor at Penn Vet. On Day 2, McDonnell focuses on the behavioral aspects of pregnancy, delivery, and foal development.
  • Horse Behavior (November 3 and 4) provides an in-depth investigation of social and reproductive behavior of horses, including how horses interact, the subtleties of equine communication, and the ways in which trainers can influence behavior. Time will also be spent observing resting, foraging, breeding, and other natural behaviors of the School’s semi-feral pony herd. "This is one of the very few places to reliably observe a herd of horses exhibiting the natural behaviors that they would exhibit in their habitat, without interference from humans," said McDonnell. "It is one of the best ways to understand what really makes horses tick."

Cost for each short course 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. Courses take place at New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa. For more information or to register visit or call 610/925-6203.

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