Behavioural assessment, report and rehabilitation

Behavioural Assessment

What to expect:

  1. The client will receive a comprehensive equine behavioural questionnaire to be completed and returned a minimum of 3 days prior to the assessment.
  2. The Assessment:

Part 1: physical examination

Part 2: in-hand behavioural assessment

Part 3: under-saddle behavioural assessment (may not be necessary if the issue is related to in-hand behaviour only)

Duration: 1-2 hours

Behavioural report:

Following the assessment the client receives a written report of the behaviour observed together with the information submitted in the behavioural questionnaire. The findings are discussed and an action plan suggested. This may include lifestyle changes, specific do’s and don’ts during handling or training. Together with a behavioural rehabilitation plan.

If any evidence of chronic or acute pain is found upon examination or during the rehabilitation process the horse will be referred back to their veterinarian.

Commitment from the owner

Owners must be serious about committing to eradicating or reducing undesirable behaviours and readily accept any changes to the horse’s environment, nutrition and current training/handling situation. It is important that all people involved in the handling, riding and training of the horse are notified and also involved, when deemed necessary, in the rehabilitation process.

In some cases weekly telephone support may be offered this will be discussed with the owner.

Behavioural rehabilitation

Behavioural rehabilitation consists of the application of learning theory by use of habituation, operant and classical conditioning techniques. A detailed description of the specific methodologies to be used in each individual case will be given including when, where and their duration.

Each individual case is different and the duration of behavioural rehabilitation varies significantly. Some issues can be resolved in a single session or by making environmental changes alone. Whereas others may be more complex and necessitate biweekly sessions and/or lifestyle changes until the outcome is satisfactory.