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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Horse Care Distance Learning Course - Manage the health and condition of your horse.

  • Manage the health and condition of horses in different situations.
  • Learn to identify signs of poor condition and 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 minimise risk factors.

This course has been designed to complement Horse Care I and Horse Care II – but can be studied as a “stand alone” subject.

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Equine Health and Care Course - Learn more about maintaining and improving the health of horses.

You can study this course by distance learning and start at any time.

Learn more about:

  • Equine first aid.
  • Signs of ill health in horses.
  • Caring for horses when travelling.
  • And much more ...



There are 6 lessons in this course:

Lesson 1. Blankets, Bandages & Boots
  • Different blankets and rugs
  • Fitting a rug
  • Surcingles and rollers
  • Caring for rugs and blankets
  • Types of bandages and their uses
  • Rules for bandaging
  • Boots and their uses
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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

There is an assignment at the end of each lesson to submit to your tutor for feedback and marking.  You can also contact your tutor with any questions throughout the course.


  • 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. 


  • 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.


Horses are naturally gregarious creatures who instinctively feel safe in numbers. This results in a very strong desire to stay within the herd. It is not ideal or natural to keep a horse alone.

It can be stressful for a horse to be separated from the other members of his herd or group as this will cause him to feel threatened.

Horses left in their stables when all the others leave the yard to go out on exercise or into the field, may become very upset. Pacing, whinnying loudly and sweating are common reactions. In extreme cases they may try to actually jump out of the stable.

The stable yard can also become a substitute for the safety of the herd. This may explain why horses tend to walk out more freely and are less likely to nap on the way home from a hack, as they are keen to get home. A frightened horse instinctively returns to his stable if they break loose or when their rider has fallen off.

This sense of security can be dangerous in the event of a fire. The horse smells and hears burning and is afraid. The stable represents a safe place and won’t want to leave. To overcome this, the horse will often need to be disorientated by covering their eyes with a jacket or towel before they will allow themselves to be led to safety.


Living successfully and peacefully in groups depends on using the rights signals as well as understanding the signals given by others.

Some signals are discrete such as the presence or absence of an individual’s scent on an object. Others are more obvious and graded on an escalating scale of threats from laying ears back to a full blown double barrel kick with the hind legs.

The medium used to transmit the signal is likely to be the one most appropriate to the type of message being conveyed. Auditory, chemical, tactile and visual mediums are all of great importance to the horse.

Auditory signals can travel a relatively long distance and allow a rapid exchange of information. They do however require a lot of energy to send and the signaller is easy to identify.

Neighs and whinnies signal an individual’s presence and may be used when a horse is separated or isolated from another such as a foal becomes separated from its mother.

Nickers appear to be a sign of encouragement to come nearer. They are used by mares towards foals, stallions when they wish to mate and by either sex when a familiar person is approaching.

Squeals are generally believed to be a defensive threat greeting between unfamiliar horses. They usually follow a nose to nose exchange and are often accompanied by a backward leap. They may act as a warning of more overt aggression if provoked.

Short snorts are often heard when the horse is alarmed. A more prolonged sound is more often associated with frustration.

Groans are usually quite soft and often heard at times of discomfort or tiredness. Occasionally they will be heard from horses that have been confined to their stable for long periods of time.

Roars and screams are made at times of extreme arousal. They appear to threaten severe physical violence and occur when more subtle signals have been ignored.

Foot stamping and pawing are two other auditory signals which are thought to convey a low level threat or discomfort and frustration respectively.

Chemical signals travel well but take longer to exchange. The signaller is less easily identifiable and in terms of energy expenditure, the signals are relatively cheap.

Humans tend to underestimate the importance of chemical signals due to our relatively poor sense of smell. Horses use both sniffing and the flehmen response in order to investigate social odours or pheromones.

Chemical signals are produced in skin secretions, saliva and probably breath, in addition to the more obvious urine and faeces. Greetings between horses often involve investigation of the nose and mouth, followed by flanks and perineal regions. The latter appears to be particularly important to the foal who will shake its tail as it feeds, wafting its odours to the mare. This may aid in the early development of the bonding process.

Chemical signals may be involved in the following processes:

  1. Identification of individuals, including sex, age and physiological state.
  2. Coordinating and spacing individuals within a social group.
  3. Mare-foal bonding.
  4. Navigation and orientation.
  5. Sexual arousal and performance.
  6. Growth, development and maturity

Tactile signals involve close contact and are easily blocked by physical obstacles. They do allow for rapid exchange of information. The signaller is easily identified.

Tactile signals may range from those conveyed during grooming which has a calming effect, to those used in aggression such as biting and kicking which cause excitement.

Visual signals travel a reasonable distance and can offer a rapid exchange of information. The signaller is usually very obvious as they can be seen – although again this signal could be blocked by physical obstacles. Visual signals do not require a lot of energy expenditure.

Sudden or unusual movements are generally quite exciting to a horse and will increase arousal. Such movements are seen in threat displays such as jerking the head forwards and up, striking the foreleg or rearing. This is combined with the appropriate posture. A relaxed horse has a long, extended posture, whereas an excited animal is more gathered like a spring.

Visual signals give an accurate indication of where the horse’s attention is. When a horse notes something new is going on in the environment, depending on the level of arousal it elicits the horse will turn one ear or both ears, the whole head, or the whole body towards the source. Once this source has been identified the horse will then decide on the most appropriate response e.g. run away, stand ground or befriend to defuse the situation.

The horse attempts to defuse the situation by a number of different ways. It may throw its head up but keep its eyes on whoever is approaching. The tail is generally tucked between the hind legs as it moves its quarters away. This suggests the horse is mildly fearful but does not pose a threat unless these signals are ignored.

A more obvious cautious approach gesture is for the horse to tuck its tail under, lower its head, turn its ears outward and champ its teeth. This is commonly seen in young horses and appears to signify uncertainty or general anxiety.

Humans tend to consider the visual route first and think of the obvious visual signals that horses use in their communication. This is not necessarily the most useful or most developed communication channel.


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

" Mr Douglas is a fantastic tutor, I have learnt so much from him. He gave comments that aided in understanding and was always positive and encouraging....makes me feel not so distant. His tutoring made me strive harder." - Lisa

" I have never found the staff at any other learning institution as supportive as the staff at ACS. This gives one a lot of peace of mind and confidence to go on - at every squeak from my side, you guys have always been there, immediately to sort me out. The feedback on my lessons has always been really good and meaningful and an important source of my learning. Thanks!..." - Student with ACS


Register to Study -Go to panel toward top of this page (right column) - You can enrol at any time.

Or, if you have any questions or want help in choosing an Equine course to suit your aims - Get Advice - submit your questions to our specialist Equine tutors, they will be happy to help.

Or, you can phone us on (UK) 01384 442752 or (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

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 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.
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.
Farm ManagementThe Farm Management ebook is a valuable piece of equipment for any farming student or current farmer. Improve your farm management skills or learn new skills and techniques. The topics covered within this Farm Management ebook include 1/ Scope and nature of the farm industry, 2/ The farm site, 3/ Production systems, 4/ Managing livestock, 5/ Managing pasture, 6/ Managing crops, 7/ Managing equipment and materials, 8/ Computer applications, 9/ Farm structures and buildings, 10/ Financial management, 11/ Marketing, 12/ Farm planning, 13/ Staff management, 14/ Water management and 15/ Diversification.