You are here: Home > Enjoy Riding > Events, competitions & training > “Learning Theory– How do Horses Learn Best?”

“Learning Theory– How do Horses Learn Best?”

28 Feb 2020


This course is aimed at all levels and will be very beneficial for those riding their own horses, preparing for BHS Stages Qualifications and developing new ideas for coaching and teaching. This topic is part of the new BHS Stage 4 Syllabus.

The content of the course will include The interaction between learning, motivation, behaviour and safety.

Understanding learning theory and it’s application to horse training.
Why an improved understanding will benefit training and coaching, leading to improved harmony and partnership between horse and rider or handler, and enhanced safety of all concerned.

The plan for the day is to make it informative yet interactive. You will be hands on and encouraged to discuss your thoughts and opinions. This is how we all learn to improve and progress with or training. This course will be of great benefit to all who train their own horses and particularly to those who are coaching and teaching clients.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the best!
Book your place with Susan Spratt 

Booking information required:-
Name:- Mobile Number:- Email address:- BHS Gold Membership Number:- Dietary Requirements:- Any further information we should know:-

The cost per person per day to include lunch is £25 equivalent in euro.

Pre-booking is essential - You may pay by Paypal to


Dr Helen Spence, Equine Behaviour & Training Consultant
Dr Helen Spence has a degree in Psychology and a doctorate on ‘The Influence of Owner Personality and Attitudes on the Behaviour and Temperament of the Domestic Horse’. She is an ABTC Registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist specialising in equines and a Full Member of the APBC.
She has run her own consultancy business since 2003, based primarily in Northern Ireland, offering advice on horse behaviour and on training and rehabilitation issues faced by horse owners, including riding lessons. She also designs and delivers regular educational talks, workshops, clinics and demonstrations for horse owners and riders and for all types of equine professionals, including other pet behaviour therapists, and offers mentoring and training support
for professional equine behaviourists and trainers, including staff training for the Blue Cross. She teaches Psychology, including learning theory and animal behaviour, at undergraduate level at Queens University and has taught equine behaviour and learning on a range of post graduate courses in Clinical Animal Behaviour, including at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Oslo, Southampton University, Waikato University New Zealand and the Royal Dick, Edinburgh.
She lectures on Equine Behaviour and Practical Handling as part of the Optional Behaviour Weekend at University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science run by highly respected veterinary behaviourist, Sarah Heath.

On a personal level, she has an interest in classical riding and is passionate about teaching riders the correct classical seat, heavily influenced by Alexander teacher and classical instructor Gloria Pullan who herself trained with two former pupils of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Charles
Harris FBHS and Daniel Pevsner FBHS. She has been described as a ‘rare breed’, someone who works day in and out handling and training horses and teaching training in an applied way, yet with academic qualifications and a thorough understanding of the theory of training and teaching.
Helen is the author of Chapter 11 - Learning Theory in the recently published BHS Complete Horsemanship Volume 4 book by Kenilworth Press.

For more information about Helen and her work please visit


“Learning Theory– How do Horses Learn Best?”
09:30am Registration

10:00am Classroom Session
Introduction to Learning Theory, motivation and communication

What’s it all about? Benefits for the trainer and all horses.
Practical applications

12:30pm Lunch

1.30pm Practical Session (2)
Working with 3 horses demonstrate practical applications of learning theory.
Practical take away tools that will enhance your training and coaching

Note from Helen
I’d like to split this into two sections: two horses for the first section and then one horse for the
second. I’ll need to have a chat with guinea pigs in advance to make sure of suitability for what
I’ve planned and to see what level they are at.

3.15pm Day Review
Open discussion and further ideas



Download details Poster (pdf)








Please wait while we complete your membership

Processing your details...