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Duration (approx) 1500 hours
Qualification Associate Diploma

Diploma in Equine Studies Course

Suitable for anyone wanting to work in the equine field.

  • An in depth study of horses.
  • A great way to find work in the field or to improve your existing job prospects.
  • Study in your own time at your own pace.
  • Taught by highly experienced tutors.
  • A foundation qualification for a career at management or technician level in the equine industry.

Employment opportunities: Graduates may find employment opportunities in any horse industry establishment including stables, stud farms, riding schools, veterinary practices, equine supply and service organisations/companies, event management or race courses.

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Equine Studies Diploma

  • Become an Equine Industry Professional
  • Start a business, get a  job, advance a career
  • Self paced, 1500 hour course -more comprehensive than most diplomas offered elsewhere.
Follow your passion and start building your knowledge of Equine Husbandry and Science


Course Structure
This comprehensive course is made up of the following 15 modules, totaling around 1500 hours of study.

To complete the course you are required to complete fifteen 100 hour modules, which cover –

  • Horse Care I, II and III
  • Equine Behaviour
  • Animal Breeding
  • Pasture Management
  • Event Management
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Animal Health
  • Animal Feed and Nutrition
  • Farm Management
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Soil Management
  • Workshop I
  • Research Project I


You can find more information on each of the modules below.

Horse Care I

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Horse psychology and handling
    • The early horse
    • Survival mechanisms of the early horse
    • The modern horse - behaviour and memory
    • Using psychology to handle horses
    • Catching and leading horses
    • Fitting the bridle and saddle
    • Tying up a horse
    • Safety rules
  2. Buying a horse
    • Temperament
    • Size
    • Weight carrying ability
    • Age
    • Equine dentition and ageing
    • Glossary of terms
    • Dentition diagrams and detailed explanation
    • Colour and markings
    • Breeds
  3. Conformation
    • The shape of the skeleton
    • Body proportions and parts
    • Conformation problems
    • How to describe confirmation
  4. The digestive system and principles of feeding and watering
    • The digestive System
    • The alimentary canal
    • The Stomach
    • The small intestine
    • The large intestine
    • Absorption of food
    • Groups of food nutrients
    • The composition of some common horse feeds
    • The principles of watering
    • The principles of feeding
    • Feeding concentrates and roughages
    • Feeding groups of horses at one time
  5. The grass kept horse and pasture management
    • Advantages and disadvantages of working off grass
    • Paddock size and minimum area needed
    • Types of fencing
    • The water supply
    • Shelter
    • Fodder trees
    • General mangament of the grass-kept horse
    • Management in summer
    • Management in winter
    • Exercise
    • Grooming the grass-kept horse
    • Conservation of the land
    • Keeping horses at grass on small areas
    • Roughing off and turning a horse out
  6. Grooming
    • The skin - epidermis, dermis, the coat
    • How the skin regulates body temperature
    • Reasons for grooming
    • Grooming tools
    • Grooming techniques - strapping, sponging, brushing
    • Using a stable rubber, dealing with stable stains on grey coats
    • Oiling the feet
    • Quartering
    • Setting Fair/Brushing off
    • Washing the mane and tail
    • Washing the sheath
    • Shampooing the horse
  7. Industry Applications
    • Resources
    • Writing resumes - employment readiness
    • Competition horses (overview) - event horse, dressage horse, show jumper, endurance
    • Educating Horses
    • Breeding
    • Farm planning
    • Short term operations
    • Farm business structures
    • Quality management systems
    • Whole farm planning
    • Preparing a farm business
    • Managing risk
    • Sensitivity analysis
    • Financial management
    • Record keeping
    • Finance sources
    • Setting up a small business

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.


Horse Care II  

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Feeds
    • roughage
    • concentrates
    • roots
    • green feeds and succulents
    • tempters and tonics
    • salts
    • feeding for special purposes.
  2. Stabling
    • three ways to keep horses
    • combined systems
    • stalls, stables/looseboxes
    • barns
    • stable layout
    • feed rooms
    • tack rooms
    • the medicine chest
    • stable routine
    • stable tricks and vices.
  3. Bedding and Mucking Out
    • reasons for bedding
    • bedding qualities
    • bedding types
    • choosing a system
    • tools needed for mucking out
    • mucking out
    • bedding down
    • managing the bed
    • conserving bedding
    • comparing bedding
    • the muck heap.
  4. The Foot and Shoeing
    • foot structure
    • trimming
    • advantages and disadvantages of shoeing
    • signs that shoeing is required
    • the farrier's tools
    • how the horse is shod
    • what to look for in a newly shod hoof
    • basic shoes
    • surgical shoeing
    • studs.
  5. Exercise and Conditioning
    • the difference between exercise and conditioning
    • soft and hard condition
    • exercising a horse
    • the fittening schedule
    • principles of fittening
    • maintaining fitness.
  6. Tack and Tack Fitting
    • principles of bitting
    • the mouth
    • types of bits
    • where the bit acts
    • fitting the saddle
    • causes of sore backs
    • care of the back when unsaddling
    • saddle types
    • linings
    • girths
    • saddle cloths and numnahs
    • tack cleaning.
  7. Horse Facility Design
    • farm layout

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.


Horse Care III
All about managing health and condition of horses in different situations. Learn to identify signs of poor condition, and address those problems appropriately

 There are six lessons:

  1. Blankets, Bandages and Boots
  2. Maintaining the Health of Horses
  3. Clipping, Trimming & Plaiting
  4. Travelling & Horse Care Away from Home
  5. Organising & Managing a Horse Event
  6. Managing a Horse Enterprise


Equine Behaviour
Develop your understanding of equine behaviour, and your ability to apply that to the welfare and training of the horse.

Develop your understanding of equine behaviour, and your ability to apply that to the welfare and training of the horse. This course is comprised of seven lessons, outlined below:

1. Introduction: Influences and motivation
2. Genetics and Behaviour
3. Equine Perception and Behaviour
4. Communication and Social Behaviour
5. Sexual and Reproductive Behaviour
6. Learning and Training
7. Behavioural Problems  


Animal Breeding

Learn to plan implementation of an animal breeding program using genetic theory, practical applications to daily husbandry practice, and management of animal breeding programs.

 There are 7 lessons as follows:
  1. Introduction To Genetics
  2. Genetics
  3. Selection
  4. Pure Breeding
  5. Introduction To Cross Breeding
  6. Cross Breeding
  7. Livestock Improvement 


Pasture Management
Learn to evaluate, design and make decisions about the management of pasture for different purposes and animals, including horses.

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Pastures
  2. The Grass Plant
  3. Pasture Varieties
  4. Site Considerations
  5. Establishing New Pastures
  6. Managing Existing Pastures
  7. Managing Stock on Pasture
  8. Pasture Management Work Tasks

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.


Event Management
Learn to plan, create, manage, and evaluate a successful equine-related event in sport, recreation, tourism, agriculture, or other area.

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Event Management
  2. Developing the Concept
  3. Physical and Human Resources
  4. Project Logistics
  5. Marketing an Event
  6. Financial Management
  7. Risk Management
  8. Staging the Even
  9. After the Event

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.



Animal Anatomy and Physiology I
Develop a sound foundation knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology. 

There are 11 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction, cells & tissues
    • Crops and livestock inter-relationship
    • Animal Cell - cell membrane, nucleus, cytoplasm, Golgi apparatus etc.
    • Animal Tissues - epithelial, connective, muscle, and nervous tissues
    • Cellular properties - Osmosis, filtration, hydrostatic pressure etc.
    • Cellular nutrient and waste exchange
  2. The Digestive System
    • Components of the Digestive System
    • Simple stomach structure and function - digestion, absorption, utilization
    • The small intestine structure and function
    • The large intestine structure and function
    • The Ruminant stomach - rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum
    • Digestion, absorption and utilization in the ruminant stomach
    • Poultry Digestion - crop, proventriculus, gizzard
    • Accessory glands of the digestive system - salivary glands, pancreas, liver
    • Hormones and enzymes
    • Microbial breakdown
    • End-products of digestion
  3. The Circulatory System
    • Circulatory networks
    • Pulmonary circulation
    • Systemic circulation
    • Hepatic portal system
    • Lymphatic system
    • The composition of blood - plasma, R.B.C's, Platelets, W.B.C's
    • Functions of Blood - clotting mechanisms, immunity etc
    • The blood vessels - arteries, veins, venules, arterioles, and capillaries
    • The Heart
    • Physiology of the circulatory system
  4. The Urinary System
    • The anatomy of the urinary system - kidneys, ureters, and bladder
    • The physiology of the urinary system - Nephrons, Bowman's capsule, Loop of Henle, convoluted tubules etc
    • Excretion and osmoregulation
  5. The Nervous System
    • Central nervous system (CNS)
    • Peripheral nervous system
    • Neurons - sensory and motor
    • The brain - medulla oblongata, hypothalamus, olfactory bulb, cerebrum, thalamus etc.
    • The spinal cord
    • The cranial and spinal nerves
    • The autonomic nervous system
    • The endocrine system
    • Sensory organs - ears, nose, eye and common integument (skin)
  6. Respiration
    • The anatomy of respiration
    • The trachea
    • The bronchial tree
    • Lungs
    • The physiology of respiration
    • Gaseous exchange
    • Breathing
  7. The Reproductive System
    • Anatomy of male reproduction - testes, accessory organs, and the penis
    • The physiology of male reproduction
    • Hormone and sperm production
    • Erection and ejaculation
    • Fertility problems in the male
    • Venereal disease, injury, physical and emotional immaturity, nutrition etc
    • Anatomy of female reproduction - ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina, and the vulva
    • The physiology of female reproduction
    • The oestrus cycle
    • Ovulation
    • Female fertility problems
    • Pregnancy and parturition
    • Structure of the mammary glands
    • Milk secretion
  8. Muscles & Meat
    • The muscular system
    • Types of muscle - smooth, striated and cardiac
    • The structure of meat
    • Meat quality
  9. The Skeleton
    • The anatomy of bones
    • How bones are formed
    • Fractures and fracture healing
    • Types of bones
    • Bone joints - movable and immovable
    • Dentition
    • The dental formula - cattle, sheep, and pigs
  10. Animal Growth, Development, and the Endocrine System
    • Growth curves
    • Pre-natal growth - ovum, embryo, and foetus
    • Post-natal growth
    • Factors that affect the growth of new-borns
    • Factors that affect post natal growth
    • Compensatory growth
    • The endocrine system - pituitary body, thyroid, parathyroids, pancreas, and adrenals
  11. Comparing Different Animals
    • Poultry digestion
    • Important differences between mammals and bird skeletons
    • Incubating eggs - natural and artificial
    • Set task - comparing a range of other selected animals

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.


Animal Health
Learn to describe common diseases in animals, and to recognise and treat these diseases and wounds.

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Animal Health -
    • Learn to describe common diseases affecting farm animals and the circumstances under which animals contract these diseases - the healthy animal, causes of ill health, preventing ill health
  2. Signs & Symptoms of Diseases -
    • The physical symptoms of diseases in farm animals - common methods of handling animals during health assessments, recognising ill health, restraining a horse, sheep handling facilities
  3. Disease Classification -
    • Methods used in classifying animal diseases
    • viral diseases, bacterial diseases, parasitic diseases, protozoal diseases, disease types in beef cattle, diseases in sheep
  4. Causes and Diagnosis of Disease -
    • The causes of disease and the relevant methods of diagnosis - examining cattle, examining a horse, ticks, tick-borne diseases, diagnosis of diseases
  5. Treatment of Disease -
    • Methods used in the treatment of diseases in farm animals - vaccination, the animal first aid kit, tetanus antiserum, animal nursing, quarantine, slaughter, post mortem, disease prevention in cattle, disease prevention in sheep, treatment of parasites in sheep
  6. Inflamation -
    • Outline the nature and causes of inflammation in farm animals - the inflammatory response, causes of inflammation, types of inflammation, symptoms of inflammation, inflammatory exudate, treatment of inflammation
  7. Fever and Immunity -
    • The biological mechanisms underlying fever and the immune system in farm animals - the fever mechanism, other temperature related disorders, effect of temperature on enzymes, immunity
  8. Tissue Repair -
    • The biological mechanisms underlying tissue repair in farm animals - healing of a clean incised wound, healing of an open wound, common horse ailments to recognise
  9. Wounds -
    • The biological mechanisms of wounds in farm animals and address different treatment methods for repair of common ailments - types of wounds, first aid treatments, bandaging horses, emergencies
  10. Cell changes -
    • The causes and biological mechanisms of cell change in farm animals - neoplasms, tumours and cancers, the course of an infectious disease, death, cancers etc.


Animal Feed and Nutrition
Learn about the composition of a range of feeds, including pasture, fodder crops, grasses, cereals, seed, and other edible plants. This course also explains the role of proteins, vitamins and minerals in animal diets.

There are 10 lessons in this course:

    • Terms and Definitions
    • Groups of Foods
    • Other Terms That Are Used
    • Food Processing Terms
    • Water
    • Carbohydrates
    • Carbohydrates as a Source Of Energy
    • Fats and Oils
    • Adipose Tissue Deposits in Animals
    • Fat Deposits in Different Animals
    • Composition of Proteins
    • The Build Up Of Proteins
    • Biological Value of Protein
    • Protein Content of Foods
    • The Function of Protein
    • Feeding Urea to Ruminants
    • Major Minerals
    • Trace Elements
    • Vitamins
    • Analysis of Feed Stuffs
    • Calculating Digestibility
    • Protein Value
    • Energy Value
    • Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods
    • Cereals and Cereal By-Products
    • Brewing By-Products
    • Grasses, Legumes and Succulents
    • Lucerne
    • Sainfoin
    • Other Succulent Foods
    • Roughage, Hay, Silage and Dried Grass
    • Oil and Legume Seeds
    • Oil Seeds and Their Products
    • Legume Seeds
    • Fodder Trees and Animal Products
    • Fodder Trees and Shrubs
    • Animal Products
    • The Object of Rationing
    • Nutritional Requirements of the Animal
    • Calculating a Maintenance Ration
    • Cattle at Pasture
    • Working Out Rations for a Herd
    • Nutrient Requirements for a Dairy Cow
    • Working Out the Total Requirements
    • Feeding a Ration to Meet Nutrient Needs
    • The Dairy Ration
    • Ready Mix Feeds
    • Using Protein Contents
    • A Summary of Rationing
    • Further Considerations in Rationing


Farm Management
Improve your capacity to more effectively manage a farm or agricultural enterprise which services farms. There are 8 lessons as follows:

  1. Strategic Planning - planning procedures;the policy formulation approach, strategic management approach, initial strategy approach; Farm business structures; Management plans; Financial terminology and the money market; Finding finance; Rural finance sources; Financial terminology and record keeping; Contract law; Elements of a simple contract; Offers; Acceptance; Consideration; Strategic plans; Trusts
  2. Business Plans - Farm Planning; Quality management systems; Whole farm planning; Preparing a business plan; Integrated production plans
  3. Business Assessment - Business goals; factors involved in business assessment;Considering factors affecting your business; Drawing conclusions
  4. Viability Analysis - Assessing profit; Risk analysis and managing risk; Standards; Cost efficiency; Cost of production; Quality and quantity standards; Financial records; The bookkeeping process; End of period accounting; Cash flow; Example of budget; sensitivity analysis.
  5. Management Strategies - Organising the workplace; Scheduling; Production systems;system variables; Animal production systems; Lot feeding; Cropping systems; Polyculture; Office systems; Computers;Business diversification; Value adding
  6. Human Resources - Supervision; Organisational structures; Leadership; Workplace changes; Interviewing, recruitment and staff induction; Giving instructions; Managing human resources; Work work scheduling; Occupational Health and safety; Duty of care; Protective equipment; Dealing with chemicals; Handling tools and equipment; Safety auditing
  7. Physical Resources - Managing equipment, machinery and buildings; Managing physical resources;Engineering efficiency; Animal structures
  8. Natural Resources - Regulations and legislation; Land Care programs; Rehabilitation; Trees; Erosion control; Soil degradation; Salinity; Soil acidification: Compaction; Chemical Residues; Water management; Water quality; Irrigation and watering systems

Sustainable Agriculture 

This course presents many different techniques and general measures which may be adopted in part or full to move a farm toward greater sustainability. There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Sustainable ways of farming
    • Whole farm planning
    • Land Management programs
    • Sustainable ways of farming
    • Natural farming
    • Organic farming
    • Permaculture
    • No Dig techniques
    • Biodynamics
  2. Soils
    • Growing media
    • Major types of soil problems
    • Soil structural decline
    • Erosion
    • Salinity
    • Acidification
    • Soil improvements
    • Phytotoxicity
    • Adding organic matter to soils
    • Cultivation techniques
    • Conservation tillage
    • Plant nutrition
    • Soil life
    • Cover crops
  3. Water
    • Types of water storage
    • Livestock water requirements
    • Water problems
    • Water quality
    • Reed beds
    • Water saving measures
    • Recycling
    • Swales and keylines
    • Irrigation systems
  4. Land Care
    • Weed Management
    • Preventative measures
    • Tree management
    • Timber lots/plantations
    • Wind breaks
    • Wildlife corridors
    • Wildlife habitats
    • Pest and diseases
  5. Financial Sustainability
    • Economic principles
    • Developing a Farm Business Plan
    • Financial plan
    • Controlling growth
    • Value adding
    • Enterprise mix
    • Ecotourism
  6. Broad Management Strategies
    • Toward better planning
    • Land care or land management
    • New enterprises
    • Broad management categories
    • Marketing
    • Personal welfare
    • Plan drawing of farm
    • Looking at risk
    • Quality systems
  7. Plant Enterprises
    • Crop management
    • Hydroponic fodder
    • Hay
    • Considering new crops
    • Nuts
    • Organic farming
    • Agro-forestry
    • Hydroponics
    • Herbs
  8. Animal Enterprises
    • Deer
    • Ostriches
    • Emus
    • Alpacas
    • llama
    • Goats
    • Aquaculture
    • Wool and meat production
    • Horses

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.

Soil Management 

Learn about soil properties and requirements in agriculture, and how to apply that knowledge at a management level in an equine business. There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Physical & Chemical Properties Of Soils
  2. Soil Testing Methods
  3. Sustainable Soil Management
  4. Soils & Managing Earthworks
  5. Land Degradation & Other Soil Problems
  6. Container Growing
  7. Soil Science & Health
  8. Soil Management

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.


Research Project I
Learn to plan and conduct research into the current status of an aspect of the equine industry relating to their area of study, and to complete a descriptive report based on that research


Workshops I
Develop your capacity to identify, select and apply knowledge and skills to appropriate perform workplace tasks in the equine industry through a problem-based learning project.

Course Duration: 1500 hours





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Meet some of our academics

Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.
Cheryl McLardyA scientist, teacher, writer and animal scientist, with more than 20 years experience including: Sports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager. Cheryl has travelled widely, working in England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand; and is now based in Scotland. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons), Higher National Diploma in Horse Management, and a City and Guilds Teaching Certificate.
Peter Douglas Over 50 years experience in Agriculture and wildlife management. Former university lecturer, Wildlife park manager, Animal breeder, Equestrian. Peter has both wide ranging experience in animal science, farming and tourism management, and continues to apply that knowledge both through his work with ACS, and beyond.

Check out our eBooks

Animal PsychologyExplore how animals think and comare how this differs between different animals (and humans)
Horse CareThis book is an accumulation of information from biology, agricultural science and veterinary medicine. It looks to explore and explain the fundamentals of appropriate horse care aims and techniques. In doing so it will consider horsemanship as a combination of art and science.
PoultryPoultry are entertaining as pets and life sustaining as a commercial product! Whether you are seeking a book as a beginner poultry keeper or if you are embarking on a new career in poultry production or management, this book is for you. Easy to read, easy to understand and packed with easy to implement practical advice. Know how to care for the health and wellbeing of poultry and make production a commercially viable enterprise.
Animal HealthUnderstand animal health issues, diseases and how identify and manage illnesses and injuries. Animals can become sick for many different reasons -diseases caused by infections, injuries, poisoning, genetic disorders, poor nutrition and other things.