Level 5 Certificate in Equine Behavioural Science

This short course examines the evolutionary processes involved in the development of the modern day equidae and aims to promote an appreciation of the major effects that domestication has had on horses, particularly with respect to influences upon their natural patterns of behaviour.

You will investigate the evolution of the horse, which began some 65 million years ago, whilst evaluating the extent to which the horse’s survival has depended upon adaptive behaviour patterns that have enabled it to exploit a diverse range of habitats. Many aspects of domestication conflict with the natural behaviour of the horse and the knowledge gained from this course will enable you to consider how important an influence this is with respect to the welfare of horses as they are kept today.

Course Accreditation

Academic Level:

Higher Education Level 5

Number of Modules:


Study Hours per Unit:


Total Hours: 


Course Duration: 

6 to 12 months

Study Week Requirements:


Upon enrolment you are provided with access onto TOCES’ online E-Learning Centre where you will find your study guide, study planner, Course Advisor and tutor information, course material, assignments and other helpful study resources.

The HE specialist short courses consist of:

  • Detailed illustrated text in pdf format which you can print or download and save.
  • Online learning resources including in-text questions and activities.
  • Pre-recorded webinars, online lectures and videos.
  • You will study and complete *one formative assignment and *one summative assignment for each short course. Referring to the course material, you will complete the assignments at your own pace, within the maximum study period, and submit online for marking and assessment. Your work is assessed by a qualified tutor, graded and returned to you with detailed feedback.
  • Upon completion of the course you will receive a graded TOCES certificate.

Some short courses offer optional or compulsory study week attendance at TOCES’ yard in Suffolk. This consolidates the theoretical studies with a mixture of taught classroom based lessons and practical sessions.

*HE SC 1 / 2 Equine Anatomy and Physiology has two formative and two summative assignments.

For all HE Specialist Short Courses students must be:

  • at least 16 years old
  • prepared to undertake independent study and hold a
  • level 3 or equivalent qualification in a similar subject area and/or
  • three GCSEs at Grade C (4) and above.

If you do not hold a level 3 qualification you may wish to consider an Intermediate Specialist Short Course.  Satisfactory completion of this will ensure you are suitably prepared for the HE Short Course.

Course Accreditation

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Module/Unit Details

  • Module 1

    Evolution of modern equidae
    – The evolutionary processes influencing early equidae. Genes and evolution, mechanisms of evolution, gene mutation, gene distribution, gene flow, recombination, genetic drift. Theories of the evolution of modern equidae. The development of breeds for specific purposes, domestication.

    Common terms and the basic theories and concepts in behavioural science
    – Descriptions of behaviour, inherent and acquired behaviour. Key types of learning processes. Behavioural needs and controls and motivation. Factors affecting behaviour, learning and maturation, early experience, imprinting, principles and types of learning.

    Normal behaviour in feral and domesticated horses
    – Past approaches to study of equine behaviour, key methods of studying ethology, direct observation. Maintenance behaviour, communication, vision, hearing, chemoreception, cutaneous information, vocalisation, interspecies communication, social and sexual behaviour.

    Abnormal behaviour in domesticated horses
    -Abnormal social behaviour, abnormal sexual behaviour, effects of management systems, stress, internal and external causal factors, stereotypic behaviours, functions of stereotypies, methods of treatment and management of stereotypies.


Full Payment


  • Online access to all course material and assignments
  • Tutor support
  • Enrolments are accepted any time throughout the year

Pay as You Learn

£50 Initial Fee

  • 2 Payments of £25
  • Online access to all course material and assignments
  • Tutor support
  • Enrolments are accepted any time throughout the year

Online prospectus

View our 2021 prospectus


  • Enrolment and Fees

    Enrolments are accepted for all courses anytime throughout the year

    Following enrolment you will be provided with access onto our online E-Learning Centre where you will find all of your course material, assignments and other helpful study resources.

Online prospectus

View our 2021 prospectus

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