Horse Management I

Course CodeBAG102
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to manage the daily requirements of a horse at grass

  • Learn about conformation, diet, digestion and the principles of feeding and watering your horse
  • Learn correct grooming procedures and appropriate management procedures
  • Explore commercial opportunities in the horse world.

This course is designed to help you manage horses kept on pasture, and learn relevant pasture management techniques to maintain productivity and prevent "horse sick" pastures. Lay a foundation for working with horses, or for further studies in Horse Management II and III.

Student Comment

 "The course is a lot more detailed than I thought it would be - I am learning a lot more than I hoped! I am very happy with the course and the school, very professional and thorough." Janette - Horse Care I student

Lesson Structure

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


  • Differentiate between the different procedures used for the handling of horses.
  • Describe the procedures for the buying and selling of horses.
  • Develop a program for the evaluation of the conformation of horses on a property/facility.
  • Analyse the digestive system, including structure and function, of horses.
  • Develop appropriate procedures to manage a horse at grass.
  • Explain the methods used to prepare horses for specific uses, including their grooming for different tasks.
  • Explain commercial opportunities available in the horse industry.

What You Will Do

  • Describe different psychological traits of a horse including:
    • herd instinct
    • memory
    • fright.
  • Explain how horse psychology can assist with handling a horse
  • Compare different methods of breaking in a horse for domestication.
  • Demonstrate how to put on different pieces of tack including:
    • a head stall
    • a bridle
    • a saddle.
  • Demonstrate how to lead, then how to ride a horse.
  • Develop safety rules for handling horses.
  • Compare differences in how owners handle their horses, at the same event or meeting
  • Describe different ways of buying or selling horses.
  • Develop a checklist of factors to consider when buying a horse for a specified type of use.
  • Compare different advertisements for the sale of horses of a similar type
  • Evaluate the features of a horse being offered for sale in your locality, to determine the value of that horse.
  • Label an unlabelled diagram of the parts of a horses body.
  • Define the different conformation terminology, including:
    • girth
    • body proportions
    • leg settings
    • conformation
    • bone.
  • Describe the preferred features of the parts of a horses body
  • Compare the conformation of two different breeds of horses, based upon a physical inspection of a horse from each breed.
  • Compare procedures used to evaluate the conformation of horses at two different properties/facilities.
  • Identify parts of the digestive system of horses.
  • Explain the function of different components in a horses diet.
  • Explain how the watering of a horse, as observed by you, on a specific property is likely to affect that horses digestive processes.
  • Evaluate the digestive processes involved in the digestion of three different horse feeds analysed by you.
  • Differentiate between the digestive processes in three different types of horses, including:
    • very active horses
    • horses being rested.
  • Compare the advantages with the disadvantages of keeping a horse at grass.
  • Recommend paddock facilities, in your locality, which are appropriate for horses kept at grass.
  • Prepare a description, and use illustrations where appropriate, of the facilities you recommended.
  • Differentiate between the requirements of a specified horse kept at grass, at different times of the year, in your locality.
  • Develop guidelines for managing a specific horse at grass, on a property visited and investigated by you.
  • Explain different husbandry tasks which are essential to the management of the horse investigated by you.
  • List the different reasons for grooming horses.
  • Describe how to use different items of grooming equipment.
  • Write a procedure for washing a horse, in a specified situation.
  • Compare how to groom horses for different situations, including:
    • dressage
    • pony club competition
    • exhibitions
    • stock work.
  • List the different applications for horses in modern society.
  • List the resources available for different sectors of the horse industry in your locality, including:
    • racing
    • breeding
    • competitions
    • recreational riding.
  • Determine the minimum facilities required to establish three different specified businesses in the horse industry, including
    • a riding school
    • a stock agent
    • another horse business.
  • Evaluate the financial viability of different sectors of the horse industry.
  • Evaluate the potential of different specified horse enterprises in your locality.

Why do horses need shoes?

The horses feet are critical. If their feet do not function, and they cannot walk properly; they are of little use to either themselves or their owners

The majority of lameness is caused as a result of foot injury or disease so every care should be taken to keep the horse’s feet in a healthy condition. The horse’s foot has three key functions:
  • Supporting the weight of the horse
  • Reducing concussion and 
  • Preventing slipping
In its natural environment, the hooves of the horse provide adequate protection for the underlying sensitive structures of the foot.  However, once horses started to be used as working animals especially on hard surfaces, it was recognised that the hooves are worn away more quickly than they can be renewed leading to pain and lameness. It was therefore important to find a way to protect the hooves and the solution was to nail a metal plate or ‘shoe’ onto the wall of the hoof.  The shoe however should not interfere with the normal function of the foot of the gait of the horse.
The purpose of shoeing is therefore to;
  • Protect the foot from the constant wear caused by hard surfaces
  • Protect brittle horn from splitting
  • Reduce the possibility of bruising by removing the sole of the foot from close contact with the ground.
Depending on how often the horse is used, shoes will need replacing every 4-6 weeks when the feet are trimmed.  If the shoes are left on too long problems, may occur such as the shoe moving off the wall at the heels and pressing on the seat of corn causing lameness. The clenches may also begin to rise and cause brushing injuries. Also, if a shoe becomes loose it may get wrenched off and the nails may tear away large pieces in the hoof wall making subsequent shoeing more difficult.  
Horses may be turned out to grass without shoes and some of the tough native breeds have such naturally hard horn they don’t need shoeing. However, the vast majority of ridden horses should be shod.
The Shoeing Process
Shoeing horses is a very skilled and physically demanding job and should be carried out by a farrier. The art of shoeing is to make the shoe fit the foot and not the other way round as this may lead to lameness.
Although shoes can be applied cold, the method of hot shoeing is preferable in order to get a better fit as when the iron is heated it is easier to shape it to the individual foot. It is very important that the horse’s feet and hooves should be examined and trimmed if necessary before a new shoe is applied. If a horse does have a problem with its feet, these may be helped by applying a corrective type of shoe, specifically designed for the purpose 

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