EQUINE CLINICAL ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR HUB
What is Talk Equine’s Behaviour Hub?
The hub is designed to be a ‘go to’ resource for people interested in a career as an equine behaviourist or who are already practicing as an equine behaviourist registered with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC), the regulatory body for animal trainers and behaviour therapists.
The hub will contain resources designed to help people understand what the process is for becoming a registered equine behaviourist, including what the academic requirements are and the different assessment pathways available. It will also contain resources to help people develop their clinical skills, which may also be useful CPD for behaviourists already registered with the ABTC.
We’re passionate about supporting the development of future equine behaviourists because it will help to improve the welfare of horses across the UK by allowing more owners to access reliable and evidence-based behavioural advice for their horses.
Why are CABs so important to equine wellbeing?
Good welfare isn’t just about ensuring our horses are physically healthy, it’s about ensuring that they are psychologically healthy too. Horses that are physically and psychologically healthy are also safer to handle and train, which is better for everyone!
Registered equine behaviourists are well placed to provide owners with safe, effective and humane advice to help them deal with behavioural problems that they encounter with their horses, and to help them manage and train their horses in such a way that these problems don’t develop in the first place. They also work with veterinary surgeons as part of the multi-disciplinary vet-led team, which is essential as many behaviour problems either have health-related causes or are exacerbated by health problems.
The world of Clinical Animal Behaviour is a minefield to navigate sometimes….here we try and myth bust as many of your equine CAB related questions as possible!
List of acronyms
Trying to navigate the world of equine behaviour consulting can be extremely confusing. To help you, we’ve created a list of common acronyms and their meanings.
ABTC – Animal Behaviour and Training Council
APBC – Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors
ASAB – Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
RCVS – Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
FABC – Fellowship of Animal Behaviour Clinicians
AAB – Accredited Animal Behaviourist
ABT – Animal Behaviour Technician
CAB – Clinical Animal Behaviourist
CCAB – (ASAB Accredited) Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist
What is a registered equine behaviourist?
At the moment anyone in the UK can call themselves a behaviourist and go out and practice. This makes it difficult for vets and owners to know which behaviourists have the knowledge and practical skills required to deal safely, effectively and humanely with horse behaviour problems, and which ones don’t.
The Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC) was set up in 2010 to help address this problem. The ABTC is the regulatory body that represents animal trainers, training instructors and animal behaviour therapists to the public and legislative bodies. It sets and maintains the standards of knowledge and practical skills needed to be an animal trainer, training instructor or animal behaviour therapist (e.g. a Clinical Animal Behaviourist), and it maintains the national registers of appropriately qualified animal trainers and animal behaviourists. ABTC registered behaviourists use science-led, compassionate methods that are not be based on positive punishment or the creation of anxiety or fear. This helps to safeguard the welfare of the horses they work with.
A registered equine behaviourist is someone who is registered with the ABTC as either an Accredited Animal Behaviourist (AAB) or a Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CAB). You can check whether someone is registered with the ABTC on their website:
There are people practicing as equine behaviourists who are not members of a practitioner organisation or who are members of a practitioner organisation that itself is not registered with the ABTC. It may be that the practitioner is a member of an organisation that is in the process of applying to the ABTC to have their members included on the ABTC’S CAB register; however, until this has occurred there is no guarantee that the practitioner has met the required knowledge and skills requirements, or that they adhere to a suitable code of conduct.
Why should I become an ABTC registered equine behaviourist?
Everyone interested in practicing as an equine behaviourist should aim to be registered with the ABTC. Being ABTC registered gives veterinary surgeons the confidence to refer clients to you, and ensures that clients know you have the knowledge and practical skills to help them with their horse.
In January 2019, The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) approved a pathway for paraprofessionals to become associates of or be accredited by the RCVS, which would mean they fall under the regulatory umbrella of the RCVS. The ABTC has applied to the RCVS for accreditation, which would mean that animal trainers and behaviourists registered with the ABTC would fall under the regulatory remit of the RCVS. The RCVS news article on the new regulatory pathways can be accessed here
Further information can be found here
To stay up-to-date with where the ABTC is with RCVS Accreditation, it is worth reading the twice yearly ABTC newsletters. The newsletters can be accessed here
RCVS regulation will benefit vets and owners by giving them increased confidence that the behaviourist they are referring to/using has the required knowledge and practical skills, that they behave professionally, and that their practice complies with the required code(s) of conduct. It will also help to ensure that animal welfare is safeguarded during training and behaviour modification.
It is likely to be several years before the accreditation process is finalised as Brexit and the Covid-19 outbreak have significantly hindered progress. However, once the ABTC is accredited by the RCVS it is unlikely that vets will refer cases to equine behaviourists who are not ABTC registered, and clients may be reluctant to use them. It should be the aim of every behaviourist or aspiring behaviourist to become ABTC registered.
Who are the main equine behaviour practitioner organisations?
Equine Clinical Animal Behaviourists:
- The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellor (APBC) – https://www.apbc.org.uk/
- The Fellowship of Animal Behaviour Clinicians (FABC) – https://fabclinicians.org/
Equine Accredited Animal Behaviourists:
- The International Association for Animal Behaviour Consultants (IAABC) – https://m.iaabc.org/
What is the difference between a Clinical Animal Behaviourist and an Accredited Animal Behaviourist?
The Accredited Animal Behaviourist (AAB) category was created as a temporary register for existing behaviour practitioners who meet many, but not all, of the knowledge and skills requirements for clinical animal behaviourist. This register is open to new equine practitioners until December 2021, when it will close. AAB who join the register before the end of December 2021, can remain on it until they retire, stop practising or no longer hold their practitioner membership with the Practitioner Organisation who has placed them there. However, AAB practitioners are encouraged to work towards becoming a CAB (or Animal Behaviour Technician (ABT)).
The ABTC website explains what each type of behaviour practitioner can do. Click here for more information.
What’s the difference between an ABTC registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist, an APBC registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist, an ASAB Accredited Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist, a full member of the APBC and a certificated member of the FABC?
None! They have all met the ATBC standard for Clinical Animal Behaviourist, they have just gone through different assessment pathways in order to get there. Once you have met the ABTC standard for Clinical Animal Behaviourist, either through the APBC’s new assessment pathway or ASABs accreditation pathway, you can become a full member of the APBC and/or a certificated member of the FABC, and then apply to go on the ABTC register.
The APBC has recently developed its own internal assessment process for provisional members. Information on the process can be found here
Candidate members of the FABC members are assessed via ASABs independent assessment process. Information on the process can be found here
Resources to help you understand the processes involved in becoming an ABTC registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist
In this webinar, Natalie Light from the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) gives an overview of the ASAB Accreditation process.
In this webinar, Natalie Light discusses the ASAB pre-certification process and how you can demonstrate that you have met the knowledge and understanding requirements for becoming a clinical animal behaviourist.
ASAB Accreditation have also produced a series of short videos which set out the ASAB route to becoming a Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist:
In part one, Lynn Hewison, ASAB Accreditation Secretary, provides an explanation of the Knowledge and Understanding requirements for becoming a clinical animal behaviourist, and how these relate to pre-certification.
In part two, Lynn provides a nice explanation of the different ways you can gain the practical experience needed to become a competent clinical animal behaviourist.