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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Study horse breeding and management

  • Understand why horses are bred and inherited traits.
  • Learn about mare and stallion selection and selective breeding.
  • Understand each stage of the pregnancy, birth and after care of the foal.
  • Learn about caring for a newborn and reducing the health risks.
  • Learn about caring for a pregnant mare - nutrition, exercise, and health needs.
Horses are bred not only to produce more animals; but also to manage the type of animals being produced. Selective breeding for specific uses has formed ‘modern’ horses of four general types including Hot bloods, Warm bloods and Cold bloods and Ponies.

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Horse Breeding - studies in the planning and management of horse breeding.

  • Understand why horses are bred and inherited traits.
  • Learn about the processes of selecting horses for breeding and inherited characteristics. 
  • Learn about caring for a pregnant mare - nutrition, exercise, and health needs.
  • Learn about caring for a newborn and reducing the health risks.
  • Study with the support of specialists - our tutors.
  • Course Duration: 100 hours of self paced learning.
  • Start Date: Start at any time to suit you.


Selective breeding (artificial selection) means humans choose a particular parent – dam or sire - based on what the research of heritability and variation has led us to believe. Through carrying out breeding over a number of generations and controlling the reproduction then we can control which traits are expressed to quite a high degree.

In genetic terms, this is done by fixing a high proportion of the genes responsible for desirable characteristics in a herd and getting rid of as many undesirable genes as possible. Once this has been achieved, the breeders will have a herd of good performers (good phenotype) and good breeders (good genotype).

The starting point in any breeding program is the selection of the horses from which to breed. These become the foundation stock when starting from scratch with a new herd to breed from.

It is important to appreciate the difference in the terms ‘breed’ and ‘type’ when describing horses. For a horse to be a specific breed it must possess the appropriate parentage and physical characteristics to allow it to be registered in its specific breed stud book.

A ‘type’ of horse can be of any breed but is bred for a specific purpose or job.

Example: Hotblooded horses like Arabs and Thoroughbreds tend to be more quick-witted and ‘sharp’ and also possess great speed across the ground. Coldblooded horses tend to be of a more even, quiet temperament and are generally bigger built in stature and therefore incapable of achieving speeds similar to a Thoroughbred.

Hotblooded horses like Arabs and Thoroughbreds tend to be more quick-witted and ‘sharp’ and also possess great speed across the ground. Coldblooded horses tend to be of a more even, quiet temperament and are generally bigger built in stature and therefore incapable of achieving speeds similar to a Thoroughbred. Hotblooded horses like Arabs and Thoroughbreds tend to be more quick-witted and ‘sharp’ and also possess great speed across the ground. Coldblooded horses tend to be of a more even, quiet temperament and are generally bigger built in stature and therefore incapable of achieving speeds similar to a Thoroughbred.


The Horse Breeding course comprises 8 lessons, as outlined below.

Lesson 1 Breeding Horses

  • Why breed horses?
  • An understanding of heritability is fundamental.
  • Meiosis.
  • The Work of Gregor Mendel.
  • Chromosomes and Genetics in Breeding.
  • Selecting the mare and the stallion.
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Inheritance.
  • Inbreeding and Line Breeding.
  • The Genetic Effect of Inbreeding.
  • Line Breeding.
  • Advantages of Inbreeding.
  • Stallion and Mare Complementation.
  • The Industry.

Lesson 2 The Broodmare

  • Mare Anatomy.
  • The Reproductive Cycle of the Mare.
  • Hormonal Control.
  • Abnormal Oestrus.
  • Breeding Fitness.
  • General Broodmare Care.
  • Nutrition and Feeding.
  • Rations.
  • Carbohydrates.
  • Fat.
  • Protein.
  • Vitamins.
  • Roughage.
  • Hay.
  • Pre-Season Care.

Lesson 3 The Stallion

  • Stallion Anatomy.
  • Sperm Production.
  • Semen Release.
  • Reproductive Cycle of the Stallion.
  • Breeding Fitness.
  • General Stallion Care.
  • Handling.
  • Pre-Season Care.
  • Stallion Management for Reproduction.
  • Training the young stallion.
  • Steps in training a novice stallion onto the phantom.
  • Common clinical problems with stallions.
  • Castration (Gelding).

Lesson 4 Breeding Management

  • Managing the Arrival and Departure of the horse at the stud.
  • Semen from the Stallion.
  • Collection and Processing.
  • Evaluating the Quality of Sperm.
  • Breeding methods.
  • Natural Breeding.
  • Live cover – In-hand or Pasture.
  • Artificial insemination.
  • Handling Frozen Semen.
  • Embryo transfer.
  • When to breed.
  • Detection of Oestrus.
  • Teasers.
  • Visual Signs.
  • A plan for when things go wrong.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Lesson 5 The Pregnant Mare

  • Pre-natal growth.
  • Conception of twins.
  • Gestation and Methods and Detecting Pregnancy.
  • Methods of Diagnosis.
  • Palpation.
  • Pregnancy Tests.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Post-Natal Growth.

Lesson 6 Parturition and Foaling

  • Care of the Pregnant Mare.
  • Nutritional Requirements.
  • Caslicked Mares.
  • Preparation for foaling.
  • Exercise Needs.
  • Worming.
  • A de-worming program for mares.
  • Preparation of the foaling environment.
  • Preparation for if things go wrong.
  • The Physical Environment - Bedding.
  • Common Bedding in the Foaling Environment.
  • Straw.
  • Wood Shavings.
  • Wood Pellets.
  • Rubber Matting.
  • The Parturition Process.
  • Stages of Labour.
  • Common Foaling Problems.
  • Dystokia.
  • Abnormal Presentations.
  • Health Problems of the post-partum mare.
  • Retained placenta.
  • Haemorrhage.
  • Post-Partum Metritis.
  • Rejection of the Foal.
  • Prolapsed Uterus.
  • Lactation (Udder edema).
  • Lactation (reduced milk supply).
  • Foal and foaling reports.
  • Example Foaling Record.
  • Example Foal Report.

Lesson 7 Care of the New-born Foal

  • General newborn care.
  • Stabling and safe environment for newborn foals.
  • Lactation and suckling.
  • Premature foals.
  • Orphan foals.
  • Common health problems in newborn foals.
  • Infections, Constipation and Diarrhoea.
  • Septicaemia.
  • Meconium Impaction.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Congenital disorders.
  • Neonatal Isoerythrolysis (NI).
  • Angular Limb Deformities.
  • Flexor and Extensor Tendon Abnormalities.
  • Delayed Ossification of the Cuboidal Bones.
  • Heart Murmurs.
  • Congenital Papilloma (Warts).
  • Entropion.
  • Neurological disorders.
  • Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome (NMS).
  • Head Tilt.
  • Structural abnormalities.
  • Uroperitoneum.
  • Umbilical Hernias.
  • Training a foal in the earliest stages.

Lesson 8 Infertility in the Mare and Stallion.

  • Introduction to Fertility.
  • Understanding Fertility in Mares.
  • Understanding Fertility in Stallions.
  • Handling and Management in Stallions.
  • Age.
  • Overuse.
  • Nutrition.
  • Illness and Injury.
  • Other Abnormalities.
  • Semen problems.
  • Haemospermia.
  • Urospermia.
  • Oligospermia.
  • Structural disorders of the reproductive tract (mares).
  • Pneumovagina.
  • 'Maiden Cervix' or Cervical Incompetence.
  • Vesicovaginal Reflux or Urine Pooling.
  • Structural disorders of the reproductive tract (stallions).
  • Cryptorchidism.
  • Testicle Conformation.
  • Testicular Torsion.
  • Testicular Tumours.
  • Scrotal Hernia.
  • Venereal diseases (mares).
  • Endometritis.
  • Bacterial Endometritis.
  • Fungal Endometritis.
  • Mating Induced Endometritis.
  • Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM).
  • Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA).
  • Pyometra.
  • Abnormal Oestrus Cycles.
  • Silent Heat and Post-Partum Anoestrus.
  • Persistant Oestrus.
  • Vernal Transition.
  • Ovarian Tumours.
  • Persistant Corpus Luteum.
  • Haemorrhagic Follicles.
  • Abortion.
  • Venereal diseases (stallions).
  • Bacterial Infections.
  • Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA).
  • Equine Coital Exanthema.
  • Dourine.
  • Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM).
  • Infectious causes of abortion (mares).
  • Viral Abortion.
  • Bacterial Abortion.
  • Leptospirosis.
  • Non-infectious causes of abortion (mares).
  • Congenital Defects.
  • Twinning.
  • Umbilical Cord Torsion.
  • Progesterone Deficiency.


A horse breeder may be involved in the buying, selling breeding and studding of stallions, mares and foals.  A horse breeder is someone who has to have a great deal of skill in handling horses and a knowledge of horse breeding and genetics. It can be a high responsibility job and they may have to plan and carry out the successful breeding of expensive racehorses. 

The Mare needs Proper Care and attention During Pregnancy

It is important to continue caring for the fitness of the broodmare throughout her pregnancy, but bear in mind that every mare is different. What is appropriate for one mare may not be appropriate for another.

Mares that are overweight or underweight may present difficulties during foaling. Fitness and muscle strength is needed to for her to have a successful birth.
The rate of recovery after foaling is also quicker if her fitness has been maintained through the pregnancy. Uterine health and her future fertility can be impacted upon if she experiences difficulties during foaling which require intervention.

A nutritionally balanced diet will ensure the mare is not overweight or underweight. The underweight mare is likely to experience reduced energy levels and will often struggle with foaling due to a lack of strength, whereas the overweight mare has a tendency to ‘give up’ mid-way through foaling.

The mare should definitely not lose weight during the pregnancy. In the event there is weight loss during pregnancy, the first response should be to have a veterinarian check the mare and foal. It is recommended to reduce any exercise regime or paddock time if she starts losing weight, whilst additionally increasing her feed rations (if necessary) until her weight is managed again. A breeding farm manager will be monitoring the conditions of all broodmares.

If the facilities are available it may be appropriate to walk her or do some light trotting work with the mare in the early stages of pregnancy. Riding is a matter of choice by the owner. All riding should be done with the pregnancy in mind – racing and showing and competing might be best avoided but certainly light bareback work in the paddock and around the yard is totally suitable and normal for most mares that are used to being ridden. Do not introduce a harder than usual training routine. Any yard work would be on or off the lunge consisting of short periods of gentle exercise only. Do not force the mare into a canter or any hard work and when she is not ok with being ridden anymore she will let you know!

By her late pregnancy the mare can happily be left to roam in large open paddocks with only a bareback ride every day or two to encourage her to keep moving. Encourage her to interact with other mares and provide shelter and water within easy walking distance from any part of the paddock when she is out in the paddock.


  • Explain how mares and stallions are selected for use in breeding.
  • Describe anatomical and physiological reproductive features in the female horse, and their impact upon the success of breeding.
  • Describe the physiological; and anatomical features of a stallion’s reproductive system.
  • Describe the physical characteristics, of both a mare and a stallion, which are preferable for a successful breeding.
  • Explain different ways of breeding horses.
  • Explain appropriate management of a pregnant mare.
  • Explain the birth of a foal.
  • Describe care of a newborn foal.
  • Discuss a range of fertility problems that occur in both mares and stallions.


You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor.  The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading. 


At ACS we provide you with more than just a set of course notes.

Your 'learning package' includes:

  • Course notes.
  • Self-assessment quizzes.
  • Assignment feedback.
  • You can interact one on one with a professional tutor with decades of experience - just email, phone or log on to chat to connect with them.
  • Depending upon your course, your studies may involve independent research, interviews, practical exercises, assessments, Problem Based Learning projects, and more.



"My time with ACS has been extremely beneficial... and I would recommend the school to anyone seeking to study by Distance Education."
Victor - Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (Horses)

"[The course] was more in-depth than I thought it would be and it was information that I could apply with my own horses. The feedback was very helpful and it was information that could only have been gained from experience with horses. She [tutor] would always answer any questions that I have and always had something positive and helpful to say!"
Paula Grima - Equine Behaviour Course



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Meet some of our academics

Alison Pearce (animal)B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Masters Degree in Ecotourism. P.G.Cert. Ed. (Science). Alison's first job was in 1982 as a stockwoman, working with pigs in Yorkshire. Within a few years she of that she was working for the University of Western Australia as a Research Technician and instructor with their school of Agricultural Science.In 1989 she moved to Melbourne University as Unit Manager and Instructor in Animal Husbandry. By the mid 1990's she moved back to England to work in Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing at Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture. Throughout her career, Alison has developed and delivered courses in veterinary nursing and animal sciences for vocational colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand and Australia. She has built a high level of expertise and an outstanding international reputation as an expert in animal sciences.
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.
Marius Erasmus Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.

Check out our eBooks

Animal Feed & NutritionThe Aniaml Feed and Nutrition ebook is a comprehensive guide to animal feed and the nutritional requirements of different animals.
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.
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.