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Using Learning Theory to Solve Equine Behaviour Problems in the Workplace


For more information on horse training

Postponed.  New date to be set.

Venue:   Sydney Polo Club, 100 Ridges Lane, Richmond NSW 2753

Course Cost $450      

Early Bird price $415      

2nd Registration from same business $405    

Lectures Only $250


10% discount for group registrations up to 5 attendees

20% for 6 or more registrations from same business



This one-day pilot course is presented in association with Equitation Science International. Accreditation has not been sought for this pilot course. 

Horses are large animals that can react suddenly when confronted with stresses placed on them by human interaction, particularly in a workplace where people are trying to accomplish a specific task in limited time.    When horses react inappropriately to human management requirements, it commonly causes Workplace Health and Safety Concerns and almost always decreases efficiency in the workplace.

Examples of behaviours that can interfere with workplace efficiency include:

  • difficulty loading onto a float or truck, or into restraint stocks for veterinary or management procedures
  • not standing calmly for veterinary examination or farrier attention or a management procedure
  • running away or showing aggression when injection is attempted (“needle shy”)
  • not standing still for clipping, or reacting dangerously to clipper noise
  • rearing, striking , spinning or kicking when restrained for a procedure
  • not walking calmly beside a handler when led
  • being difficult to bridle or halter
  • resenting having their head (especially ears or eyes) or hind legs touched 

The list is endless!  Workers who deal with many different horses on a daily basis need to manage many types of behaviours and avoidances calmly and efficiently in order to get their job done safely and in a timely manner.

An understanding of how horses learn, and of the scientific principles of Learning Theory, is essential for workers to apply sound principles when teaching horses how to behave in an appropriate and predictable manner in the workplace.

This one-day course is suitable for workers from any facet of the horse industries who wish to better understand equine behaviour scientifically through Learning Theory and apply that knowledge to increase their skills and safety in dealing with workplace problems associated with equine behaviour.    Business owners and workplace managers who employ workers in any facet of the horse industries can promote this course to their workers as part of a strategy to help workers manage animal-associated Workplace Health and Safety risk.

Under instruction from Equitation Science International’s experts, Andrew McLean and Jonathan McLean, attendees will spend the morning learning about the scientific principles of Learning Theory and gain an understanding of how its techniques can be applied to horse behaviour problems in the workplace in a safe and efficient manner.    In the afternoon, attendees will rotate around 4 instruction stations where our expert instructors will demonstrate how to practically apply the cornerstone principles of Learning Theory to achieve safe and reliable outcomes with teaching horses to accept various activities that commonly cause problems in the workplace.


Our Instructors

Andrew McLean PhD (Equine Cognition & Learning), BSc (Zoology), Dip Ed

Andrew McLeanAndrew is the co-director of Equitation Science International and  a scientifically trained Animal Behaviour expert.  His journey educating people about equine behaviour began with establishing the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre in Victoria but has now expanded to projects around the globe.   He is in great demand as a trainer, coach and speaker, conducting lectures and demonstrations at universities and conferences world-wide (including Australia, Europe, South Africa, USA, Canada and NZ).    

Andrew has written 5 books (including an international best-seller) and authored 35 peer-reviewed journal articles.   He has been awarded the prestigious Eureka Prize for Science (Australia’s highest science award), and also awarded an Honorary Fellow of the International Society for Equitation Science.    Andrew was instrumental in instigating the first International Equitation Science Symposium (ISES) in 2005, which continues today as a world-renowned conference gathering the world’s brightest minds in Equitation Science.

Andrew’s training ventures also led him to begin training elephants in Nepal in 2007.  This led to the establishment of the not-for-profit HELP (Human Elephant Learning Program) Foundation, of which he is Senior Vice President.   In this project, innovative training techniques based on Learning Theory are helping to improve management, welfare and training of elephants in Asia, and eliminate punishment-based training, to the benefit of elephants and humans alike.


Daniel Bowcock Assoc. Dipl. Farm Management;   Cert 4 in Workplace Assessment & Training

Daniel BowcockA director of Safe Industries Australia, Daniel has 30 years’ experience working in the agricultural and Thoroughbred Breeding Industry. He has also worked and managed his own business in the construction, earthmoving and waste management industries for a number of years. He has always strongly advocated WHS management systems in these industries.

Daniel brings a hands-on and practical approach to WHS gained from his experience over such a wide range of industries. This experience allows him to work closely with our clients and their staff to understand the issues and problems faced in order to provide a safe workplace. 

Daniel holds an Associate Diploma in Farm Management, Certificate 4 in Workplace Assessment and Training and has taught the Certificate 4 OHS course at Muswellbrook TAFE.

Daniel’s business, Safe Industries Australia Pty Ltd (SIA), is a Work Health and Safety (WHS) consultancy firm located in Scone and servicing all of Australia. SIA assists clients to incorporate a WHS/OHS management system into their business and works with them to ensure they are meeting their legislative requirements.


Jonathan McLean   Assoc.Dipl. Horse Management, Dipl. Equitation Science (Eq. Behav.), Cert 4 in Workplace Assessment & Training

Jonathan McLeanJonathan (“Jonna” to many) commenced his professional involvement with training horses as a teenager by riding track work at a local racing stable.   This eventually led him to Hong Kong, where he broke in, pre-trained, transported and rode breeze-up horses for international buyers at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.    On a personal level, he has also been a very successful eventer, competing to 3* level and training two horses to 4*.

As Jonna developed his professional horse training and rider coaching career, he became increasingly interested in understanding horse behaviour and in better ways to apply horse training techniques grounded in that understanding and was motivated to complete an Associate Diploma in Equitation Science through Equitation Science International.

Since then, Jonna’s continuing involvement in the racing world gave him an opportunity to lecture at Melbourne Polytechnic College in Cert II Stable Hand and Cert III Racing, from which base his widespread  influence on implementation of evidence-based horse training techniques started.    Jonna is still involved in developing more ethical modern training packages for workers in racing, culminating recently with the acceptance of his “Understanding Horse Behaviour” learning unit included in the mandatory units (Cert III Racing - Handle Horses in Racing) nationwide.   As an added bonus, a second unit developed by Jonna (“Falling Off”) has also been accepted as an elective.

It is Jonna’s dream that, by gradually modernising the racing packages to produce safer and more effective graduates into the racing industry, we will start to see improved safety statistics for handlers and trainers, and hopefully better trained race horses that can go on to enjoy long, happy and productive lives after racing. 

In addition to his work in racing, Jonna has trained with CFA to assist with large animal rescue. This led him to offer training in horse behaviour to large animal rescue volunteers, where it was evident that a deficiency in understanding horse behaviour was making the process quite dangerous for volunteers, the public and the animals. He now runs a Basic Horse Handling and Advanced Horse Handling workshops for large animal rescue volunteers. 


 How to get to Sydney Polo Club:

Sydney Polo Club Google Maps

Please note - there is more than 1 polo club in Richmond.  

From Sydney, drive to the township of Richmond and follow Windsor Street through the township.   Windsor Street becomes Old Kurrajong Road.       Old Kurrajong Road goes past other local polo clubs before coming to what appears to be a T-junction.   At this point, turn RIGHT into Ridges Lane.   Follow Ridges Lane to the end, where you will reach Sydney Polo Club's large stone main gates.




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