Advanced Certificate in Equine Studies

Study horse husbandry and management online. Learn how to manage an equine facility, service or farm, and plan equine events, such as horse shows, trade shows, and more.

Course CodeVAG060
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

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Make a Career out of Your Passion for Horses

Many horse lovers own their own horses but often work in other fields. If you are interested in more than horse ownership or the occasional horse ride on the weekends, perhaps it is time to convert that passion into a fulfilling career.

There are all sorts of opportunities to gain employment working with horses through farms, stables and other enterprises.

This study course provides a strong foundation for future work in the equine industry or for broadening your studies.

Learn the Skills to be successful in the Equine Industry

Many equine businesses are run in conjunction with other farming or animal based enterprises. This comprehensive, quality course caters for this business diversity.

The course will teach you many of the different facets of running an equine facility or service. You will learn how to care for horses and manage general farming practices, manage public equine events; and develop essential office skills and marketing plans.You will also learn animal husbandry and pasture management techniques; and study sustainable agriculture.

Particular emphasis is given to learning event management principles and to developing the skills to plan, initiate, host and evaluate a successful event in the equine industry. Equine events include: horse shows, sales, clinics, trade shows, community events or any of the wide variety of equine events that are held each year in the equine industry.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Equine Studies.
 Horse Care I BAG102
 Equine Behaviour BAG216
 Horse Care II BAG204
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Research Project I BGN102
 Event Management BRE209
 Horse Care III BAG302
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 13 modules.
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Animal Health Care VAG100
 Farm Management BAG104
 Soil Management (Agriculture) BAG103
 Workshop I BGN103
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Irrigation -- Agricultural Irrigation BAG213
 Pasture Management BAG212
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
 Weed Control BHT209
 Animal Breeding BAG301
 Horse Breeding BAG307

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Equine Studies is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

What You Will Do

  • Explain different techniques and general measures which may be adopted to move a farm toward greater sustainability
  • Plan, create, manage, and evaluate a successful event (and adapt that to equine-centered event design and management)
  • Plan and conduct research into the current status of an aspect of equine management, and complete a descriptive report based on that research
  • Identify, select and apply knowledge and skills to appropriate perform workplace tasks in an industry, and adapt them to equine management
  • Understanding the importance of properly managing the natural environment and built facilities to optimize the health of their horses
  • Manage the day-to-day requirements of a horse
  • Manage the condition of horses and to minimize risk in different situations such as events, travel, or inclement weather.
  • Identify different influences on equine behaviour, whether that behavior supports survival, is self-destructive, or out of boredom, and apply that knowledge to the welfare and training of horses.
  • Plan an animal breeding program using genetic theory, practical applications to daily husbandry practice, and management of animal breeding programs
  • Understand animal anatomy and physiology, as a basis for care and/or management of farm animals
  • Describe the composition of a range of feeds, including pasture, fodder crops, grasses, cereals, seed, and other edible plants, and the role of proteins, vitamins and minerals in animal diets, and select appropriate feeds for digestibility and nutritional content
  • Recognize and treat common diseases and wounds in animals
  • Evaluate, design and make decisions about the management of pasture for horses
  • Manage a farm or agricultural enterprise which services farms
  • Identify soil properties and requirements and adapt that knowledge to equine management

Feeding Horses

Feeding is the most important factor in successful farming. An animal will only perform at it's potential if it is fed well. Being 'well fed' does not imply being 'over fed'. An animal that is fed well is given just enough (but not more) of the correct foods so that it can realise its production potential.

To feed more than necessary would be wasteful and uneconomical and could lead to health problems in the livestock. The successful farmer will feed at the 'optimum level'. In other words, he will feed just enough (but not more) that is need for optimum production.

It requires a great deal of skill, knowledge and practice to be able to feed animals optimally. The first step is to gain a good understanding of the different types of food that can be fed to livestock.  The second step is to learn how the different foods can be mixed together to form balanced rations for animals.

An important step is also to observe the animals around you. By noting what they are fed and how well they seem to be doing, you can begin to develop an eye for feeding animals well. This step will never be completed, for there is always something new to learn about the way different animals respond to food. In addition, new foods are constantly being developed, and it will be up to you to try them out and see if they work for your animals.


Before considering different types of food stuffs in more detail, there are several terms and definitions with which you should become familiar.

Feed Stuff

This is a broad and general term that is used when referring to any food or fodder. It includes naturally occurring plant or animal products and by-products (e.g. grass, maize, brewers' grains). It also includes vitamin or mineral supplements which are chemically synthesised, or otherwise manufactured pure nutrients. In other words, you will be quite safe referring to anything that is fed to an animal as a 'feed stuff'.


A ration is a 24-hour allowance of feed stuff that is given to an animal. The important thing to note is that the term carries no implications that the allowance is adequate in quantity or kind to meet the nutritional needs of the animal for which it is intended. Some confusion normally arises as to the difference between the words RATION and DIET. These can be explained as follows:

Diet is what the animal usually eats or drinks (e.g. the actual food chosen, not the amounts)
  Maintenance Ration is the ration which would allow the animal only enough to stay in the initial condition (ie: to support life with no product, no gain, no loss of body substance). It is the minimum amount of food required to keep the animal alive. This can be particularly important for maintaining stock when there is a shortage of feed (e.g. drought conditions).

Balanced Maintenance Ration
This definition has two parts. 'Maintenance Ration' here refers to a feed mixture which is just sufficient to meet the requirements of a specified animal in a 24-hour period. The animal receiving the ration will neither lose nor gain weight. 'Balanced' means that the proportion of carbohydrate, fat and protein in the ration is correct.



Carbohydrates are made up of sugars and starches (called soluble carbohydrates) and fibre (called  crude carbohydrate). Sugars and starches provide energy and heat. If they are not used immediately they will be stored as fat. Fibre is a woody substance with little feeding value. It does, however, have an important role to play in keeping the digestive system working smoothly. It stimulates the digestive process and helps in the absorption of food. All carbohydrates are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.


Proteins contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. In addition they also contain nitrogen. Proteins are used to maintain the body, and to grow and repair tissues. Proteins also provides heat and energy. Protein is especially important for young, growing animals and for animals who are producing milk, eggs or meat.


Fats also contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, but no nitrogen. Fats renew fat tissue and provide heat and energy. The energy value of fats is two and a half times higher than that of carbohydrates.



On the farm, roughage is normally considered to be material making up fodder such as hay, silage, pastures, etc. The distinguishing characteristic of roughage is usually a high fibre content. For hay, this frequently runs between 25 - 30% of the dry matter.


Technically, all feeds supplying nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) are classed as concentrates if their crude fibre content does not exceed 18%. In the feed trade, the word 'concentrate' has been used to indicate commercially prepared supplements.

Basal Feeds

Basal feeds are concentrated sources of energy and are especially rich in starches and sugars. They include the whole group of grains (e.g. wheat, maize, oats, etc.) and their by-products. Basal feeds have a protein content that is greater than 16% and a maximum fibre content of 18%. The main difference between basal feeds and other feed stuffs is that basal feeds have a high digestible energy content. Basal feeds make up 60 - 90% of all rations.


Feeds of this type are concentrated sources of protein, minerals and vitamins. A mixed protein supplement is, by convention, a mixture of feeds which carries 30%  or more of protein. Single feeds containing 20% or more of protein are included in this group.


Any food constituent, or group of food constituents of the same general chemical composition, which aids in the support of animal life.


This is a measure of the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by one degree Centigrade. One kilocalorie = 1000 calories. A specific number of calories is required by animals each day to either maintain or increase their body weight.


This is an approximate measurement of the amount of food which has been absorbed by the animal. Not all food which is taken in by the animal can be absorbed.  Digestibility is usually described as a percentage which can be worked out using the following formula:


This may seem a strange term to use in conjunction with feed stuffs. However, there are harmful substances which, when used at certain levels, are harmful enough to be classed as toxic. Urea is an example of a feed stuff that is potentially toxic if too much is fed at one time. If the correct amount of urea is fed, the feed stuff is very valuable. The term 'toxic' must not be confused with 'poison'.


Where could this course take you?

If your studies have developed a proper foundation; you will enter the workforce with a network of contacts, an awareness of opportunities, and you will continue learning afterwards, through experience.

An extensive course like this will set you on the path for developing your career faster, easier and more appropriate; provided you approach your career with realistic expectations.
Through the guidance of your available course tutors, who are skilled professionals, fully qualified in the various subject areas. The combination of their qualifications and many years of actual practical experience, will benefit you greatly as you work through the course.
For ongoing success, you need to become "connected".  This networking within the industry will provide the basis to remain "connected", so that you can evolve and adapt to changes as your career moves forward.


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Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand
Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture, equine and education industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. She graduated with a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert. For several years, Cheryl managed the distance
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