Horse Care III

Learn about equine health from experienced veterinary scientists. Our in-depth 100-hour, self paced home study will help you manage horse health and conditioning.

Course CodeBAG302
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn to Manage the health and condition of horses in different situations.

  • Learn signs that suggest poor condition or ill health, and address the problems appropriately.
  • Understand the things that can stress a horse and increase susceptibility to problems.
  • Learn how to manage situations to reduce risk factors.

Comment from one our horse Care III students:

" I think ACS provides a wonderful service"  B. Clarke

Lesson Structure

There are 6 lessons in this course:

  1. Blankets, Bandages & Boots
    • Different blankets and rugs
    • fitting a rug
    • putting on a rug
    • taking off a rug
    • surcingles and rollers
    • caring for rugs and blankets
    • types of bandages and their uses
    • rules for bandaging
    • boots and their uses
  2. Maintaining The Health Of Horses
    • Signs of good and poor health
    • sick nursing rules
    • isolation procedure
    • common ailments to recognize
    • taking the temperature
    • the medicine chest
    • first aid treatments
    • restraining a horse
    • emergencies
    • preventing a disease
  3. Clipping, Trimming & Plaiting
    • Reasons for clipping
    • types of clippers
    • types of clips
    • preparation for clipping
    • how to clip
    • finishing off
    • hogging the mane
    • trimming
    • pulling the mane and tail
    • plaiting the mane or tail
  4. Travelling & Care of The Horse Away From Home
    • Preparing a horse for travel
    • preparing a trailer
    • loading the horse
    • the problem loader
    • safety while loading
    • before a show
    • at the show
    • returning home
  5. Organising & Managing A Horse Event
    • Organising an event
    • contingencies to cater for
    • the public, exhibitors and organisers
    • costs
    • guidelines for planning a show or exhibition
    • the facility
    • exclusive bookings
    • facilities without prior bookings
    • booking records
    • publicity
    • community participation
  6. Managing A Horse Enterprise
    • management plans
    • rural finance sources
    • banks
    • money market
    • financial planning
    • contract law
    • assessing profit
    • risk analysis
    • standards
    • financial records
    • cash flow
    • E.O.P accounting

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Identify the use and purpose of protective equipment for horses, including blankets, bandages and boots.
  • Determine the procedures required to maintain a horses health.
  • Develop a program to prepare a horse for showing.
  • Prepare a management plan for a horse while away from it's home.
  • Develop a plan for the management of a horse industry event.
  • Analyse the management of a horse enterprise, including its marketing and financial viability.

What You Will Do

  • Explain the uses of a horse blanket in a specified locality.
  • Evaluate three different types of horse blankets, in terms of various factors, including: *price *application *quality *longevity.
  • List five situations when bandages are used on a horse
  • Describe the methods of bandaging horses, as listed above.
  • Demonstrate the use of bandages on horses in two specified situations.
  • Explain the different reasons why boots are used on horses.
  • Describe the use of boots on a horse in two specified situations.
  • Define terms used in the health care of horses.
  • Describe the symptoms of five common ailments in horses.
  • Develop a checklist for evaluating the health of a horse.
  • Evaluate the health, using the checklist developed above, of a chosen horse.
  • Describe, in an illustrated report, how to take a horses temperature.
  • List the minimum components and their uses, of an equine first aid kit for two different specified situations.
  • Explain different horse restraining techniques, including the use of: *stalls *twitch *sidelines *crushes *hobbles.
  • Determine the criteria which must be satisfied before, and during, the isolation of a horse.
  • Explain why the isolation procedure is used in a specific situation.
  • Describe the use and maintenance of tools and equipment required for preparation of a horse for showing.
  • Demonstrate plaiting using a fibre comparable to horses hair.
  • Compare the differences in showing under saddle, with showing on the halter.
  • Write a plan for the preparation of a horse for showing, in a specific competition.
  • List the situations where a horse might need to be transported.
  • Explain the different methods of transporting a horse with respect to: *impact on the animal *equipment required *costs.
  • Prepare a set of guidelines for the care of a horse during travel.
  • Prepare guidelines for the care of a horse at a specified show.
  • Plan appropriate procedures for the transportation of a horse, for two different situations, in terms of: *a timetable of events *husbandry tasks to be carried out *a list of equipment and materials required.
  • List the factors influencing the success of different types of events in the horse industry, including: *Shows *Races *Competitions.
  • Determine the minimum first aid facilities which should be provided for horses, riders and spectators at a specified type of event.
  • Prepare a plan for managing a specified type of horse event.
  • Write a report analysing the management of a nominated event in your locality.
  • Evaluate the management of a horse event, such as a show, competition or race; with reference to: *organisation *promotion *success (or failure) of the event.
  • Determine the factors affecting the profitability of two different specified horse enterprises visited by you.
  • Calculate the different costs involved in maintaining a specified breed/type of horse over one year, including: *manpower *agistment *feed *veterinary needs *transport *tack.
  • Evaluate three different systems for marketing horses in your locality.
  • Determine innovative marketing methods for different horse industry situations, including: *Stud services *Yearling sales *Riding instruction.

How Can You Know When a Horse is Sick?

Familiarity with the signs of good health is essential to enable any signs of illness to be detected early in the disease process. The following are visual signs of health (good and poor) in horses.


(i) Attitude/Temperament
Normal: bright, alert with pricked ears and interest in surroundings.
Abnormal: aggressive, restless, depressed (+/- signs of pain such as unwillingness to move, head pressing, repeated yawning).

(ii) Stance & Stretching
Abnormalities may indicate regional pain (e.g. laminitis or abdominal pain)

(iii) Appetite
Eagerness and ability to eat and drink

(iv) Defecation and urination
Normal/abnormal posture, frequency (defecation 8-12 times per day on corn, 16 times plus at pasture), consistency (should break on hitting the ground), colour (green-brown to golden brown).

(v)  Presence of vices
Weaving, crib-biting, wind sucking indicate management problem and may have systemic consequences (e.g. weight loss etc.)

(vi)  State of bedding
Disarray from pawing may be an indication of pain as may, straw on back if the horse has been rolling.

Superficial Signs

(i) Coat condition
Normal: shiny and even distribution
Abnormal: include bald patches/changes in pigmentation which may be an indication of parasites, excess skin scurf (dandruff), and excessive growth (hormonal).

(ii) Skin lesions
Hairless patches, raised wheals, hemorrhages, tumors, moist mottled hair etc.

(iii)  Body condition
The animal becomes obese, normal, emaciated: abnormalities may be related to nutrition, management and/or disease.

(iv) Sweating
Excessive associated with pain and/or stress.

(v) Discharges
... from the eyes or nose: amount and consistency, unilateral and bilateral.


(i) Rate
Normal breathing rate is 8 to 16 breaths per minute

(ii) Nature
Normally respiratory effort should be barely noticeable, abnormal rhythm and involving abdominal effort indicates dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing).

(iii)  Coughing
Consider the frequency and nature (e.g. moist or dry +/- discharge)

Physical examination

(i) Pulse rate
Normal 30 - 40 beats per minute
(ii) Rectal temperature
Normal 37-38 degrees C (99-101.5 degrees F)
(ensure bulb is touching rectal wall and not inserted into a ball of faeces if possible)

(iii)  Body and legs
Palpation for any abnormal swellings or areas of heat or pain (see lameness lectures)

(iv) Head
Mouth: teeth: condition and age colour of membranes and capillary refill time (normal 1-2 seconds)

What Should You Study?

Let us help you make the Best Decision for You!

We have a huge amount of equine experience on our staff; from Lyn Quirk and Peter Douglas who have been teaching horse riding for decades, to Anna Jones and Cheryl Wilson who have outstanding background working in the equine industry across the UK. These people are passionate, highly qualified horse people with a fantastic range of very relevant experience.


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Bob James

Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc.,
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
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