Article banner region

NOVA PhD Course Equitation Science - Open for Applications

  • Photo: 
    Shutterstock, Petri Volanen

The course will take place on12-16 Aug. 2019, at the National Equestrian Centre Strömsholm, Sweden.
Application deadline: 31 May 2019.

The course is of 4 ECTS. The course is organised by Dr. Elke Hartmann, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

NOVA course information web page

Apply here 


Course Description
The course provides an in depth theoretical/practical knowledge at advanced level of horse behaviour/learning and its consequences for horse welfare and human-horse interactions. The course is designed to develop the participants’ scientific skills and ability to utilize an evidence-based approach when dealing with horses.

The course provides participants with scientific and practical tools with which they can validate human-horse interactions to identify training methods which are ethical, effective and highlight those which represent problems for horse welfare.

Programme Outline

  • Day 1: Introduction equitation science (history, animal rights/welfare) | Equine ethology (behaviour, instincts, biological niche, maintenance behaviour, behavioural needs, domestication, breeding) | Equine perception, communication (senses, social organisation/behaviour)
  • Day 2: Applied ethology (adaptability, umwelt, rationale for studying behaviour, ethogram, anthropomorphism, dominance-leadership concepts, housing, legislation)
  • Day 3: Equine cognition, learning (perception, nervous system, neural control of emotions, learning theory, social learning, stress/pain and learning, motivation) | Influences on performance (biomechanics, laterality, temperament, conformation)
  • Day 4: Applied learning theory (unwanted behaviour, safety, shaping, habit formation, predictability/controllability, equipment, training principles, emotions and learning, ethical equitation), Workshop
  • Day 5: Research methods and communication

Main Teachers

  • Dr Elke Hartmann (SLU, Department of Animal Environment and Health)
  • Dr Maria V Rørvang (SLU, Department of Biosystems and Technology)
  • Ass Prof Janne Winther Christensen (Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, Tjele, Denmark)
  • Prof Paul McGreevy (University of Sydney, Sydney School of Veterinary Science)


For more information on the course and on how to apply, please see:


Published 3. April 2019 - 10:48 - Updated 3. April 2019 - 10:49