Equine Discomfort Ethogram: Improving Welfare Through Pain and Discomfort Recognition

  • Overview

  • Required

  • Schedule

  • Prerequisites

  • CEUs & Pricing

  • About Your Instructor

Course Begins: (TBD)

Duration: 4 weeks

Instructor: Trudi Dempsey, CHBC, AAB

Course type: Instructed Course


  • Auditors do not attend online meetings
  • Meetings are not recorded
  • Meetings take place on Wednesdays at 12 pm Eastern (first meeting May 15th)
  • Meetings are 1 hour in duration
  • There are 4 meetings for this course

Can you recognise the difference between horse behaviours triggered by pain, discomfort, environmental stimuli, or confusion in training systems? Join Trudi Dempsey, an IAABC Certified Horse Behavior Consultant and ABTC Accredited Animal Behaviourist, for an in-depth study of the Equine Discomfort Ethogram.


This course will help you interpret horse behaviours and postures. You will also learn to distinguish behaviours that might be addressed with behaviour modification from those that suggest the need for further diagnostic procedures. This knowledge can contribute to improved wellbeing in horses.


During this 4-week, instructor-led course, students will:
  • Examine the value of the ethogram in supporting best welfare
  • Interpret pain behaviours and postures
  • Work through case studies to evaluate the core principles of the ethogram
  • Use this knowledge to inform clients, colleagues, and students

Auditors must review all course material and quizzes.

This will be verified in the Learning Management System.


Full Students must:

  • Attend virtual weekly meetings (students who miss more than one meeting or homework assignment will not receive credit for the course)
  • Complete weekly homework (reading, video lectures, quizzes, and any assignments) within suggested timescale (i.e. before the online meeting)
  • Check the forum at least weekly to contribute to discussions and share any homework
  • Complete the final project – design of a relevant (for profession or general interest) media document or video based on the ethogram


Full Students should expect to spend an average of 2 – 4 hours per week on course material and viewing, depending on individual speed of learning and the week’s materials.

This is a 4-week instructor-led course. Each week includes a recorded lecture and a scheduled live discussion (Full Students only).

Students will have access to the course material for 1 year from the date of their most recent IAABC Foundation purchase.

Week 1 -

▪Course overview ▪Ethograms, what they are and their relevance in our work ▪Pain, what it is and how animals might feel it ▪Summary of different equine pain ethograms ▪Case study of horse with undiagnosed pain

Week 2 -

▪Data collection for behavior – post operative, post box rest, prescribed time off or within consultation ▪Using data collection and ethograms to support clients, colleagues, or students – posture and weight bearing signs ▪Final assignment – create something for use in the participant’s field of interest ▪Case study of horse with undiagnosed metabolic disease

Week 3 -

▪Roger’s Unconditional Positive Regard model – difficult subjects and increasing welfare for horses ▪Using data collection and ethograms to support clients, colleagues, or students – limb/body and ear/tail movements ▪Case study of a horse with retained behaviour traits after pain had been treated

Week 4 -

▪Using data collection and ethograms to support clients, colleagues, or students – overall demeanor, attention to an area, altered eating/drinking, and vocalisations/audibles sounds ▪Behavior modification and lifestyle changes to support recovery and return to physical training ▪Review of the case studies and course round up - what the ethogram has done for you!

Prerequisites to this course include an interest and basic understanding in the science of horse behaviour (or willingness to attain this through suggested reading material).

Full Student:


Cost: $300



Cost: $180

Cancellation Policy: We will refund 90% up to 30 days pre-event. A 50% refund will be available up to 15 days pre-event. After these deadlines, no refunds will be issued.

Instructor: Trudi Dempsey, CHBC, AAB

As an IAABC Certified Horse Behavior Consultant and ABTC Accredited Animal Behaviourist, Trudi runs a successful horse behaviour and training consultancy in the UK, helping horse guardians find solutions to behavior problems as well as specialising in classical dressage. Trudi creates programmes of gymnastic training to refine the horse’s physical and emotional balance both on the ground and ridden.


Using reward-based training methods following LIMA protocols, Trudi is a bit-less specialist, and has been providing video assessment to online students and judging online dressage competitions since 2010.


As a guest lecturer at UK universities/colleges and provider of courses, Trudi imparts the science behind behaviour and training but is primarily focused on the practical application of the science to help horses.