ASC548 Horse Behaviour and Training (8)

This subject allows students to critically evaluate horse behaviour and training methods. Students will be able to critically appraise the importance of stimulus control for horse welfare and human safety and experience the use of established training strategies and theories in order to achieve a specified goal. The role of humans associated with horse management and training will also be considered, with particular reference to forms of stockmanship. On successfully completing this subject students will be proficient in identifying a wide range of behavioural signs that may indicate inadequacies and/or anomalies in the horse's behaviour and be able to produce a well-reasoned plan for addressing these, consequently ensuring that the horse's welfare needs are met.  

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 2 (60)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: ASC548. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

This subject is restricted to students enrolled in the Master of Animal Science.

Assumed Knowledge

Students are expected to possess and be able to demonstrate fundamental horse handling skills.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to appraise the limitations of equine learning abilities and establish underpinning training principles;
  • be able to critically assess the importance of and achieve effective stimulus control within equine training;
  • be able to critically analyse and determine the effectiveness of real-life training methods in a range of horse uses and equestrian disciplines;
  • be able to critically evaluate causes of difficulties in training and provide behavioural strategies for their resolution;
  • be able to comprehensively deconstruct the horse-trainer-rider relationship in order to facilitate effective horse training; and
  • be able to differentiate and critically appraise the relationships between contributing factors such as culture, Indigenous cultural consideration and tradition, to horse welfare and quality of life.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Fundamentals of behaviour, learning and memory.
  • Training principles, stimulus, response, reinforcement and stimulus control.
  • Training methods to include indicators of stress, conflict and fear and conditioned emotional responses.
  • Problem solving using conditioning, habituation, extinction, stimulus generalisation, bridging, chaining/stringing, superstitious learning, shaping, counter-conditioning, desensitisation, overshadowing and stimulus blending.
  • Horse-trainer-rider relationship and effective horse training using ridden horse ethograms.
  • Equitation pedagogy and understanding the learning space through triadic spheres, training styles, periodization, arousal and affective states.
  • Stockmanship and cultural impacts including Indigenous Australian cultural competency, tradition and resistance to change and equine quality of life.

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

The Residential School will allow online students to study practical content and develop and practice specific horse training and behaviour management skills using many of the methods/theories studied.

Students will also develop a ridden horse ethogram based on a live rider, so they can study intra- and inter-observer variability in the real world.

Special Resources

Travel to and accommodation is required for distance education students attending the compulsory residential school at a CSU campus.

Online students will be required to attend a Residential School which may incur travel and accommodation costs.

All students are required to have a lab coat, safety glasses and covered footwear for lab based practicals. Closed-in stout leather shoes or boots must be worn when working with horses. Clean overalls with long sleeves are compulsory for this subject. When working with horses it is a requirement that all students wear an Australian Standards approved hard hat AS 3838. You may also use helmets considered acceptable by Equestrian Australia  these include NZ 3838, ARB HS 2012, ASTM F1163, PAS 015 and VG01.040.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.