AP3A98-Equine Science and Management

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Part 2 of BSc Animal Science, BSc Agriculture
Modules excluded: AP3A100 Equine Science
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Kate Johnson

Email: k.f.johnson@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

What makes a horse a natural athlete? How do we use our understanding of nutrition and metabolism to plan equine diets and manage horse health? Explore these questions and more in this module, and gain a critical understanding of nutrition and feeding, health, exercise and reproductive physiology, behaviour and welfare of horses. You’ll learn through lectures and seminars in the autumn term. In the spring term, you’ll develop your ability to apply your equine knowledge, critically discuss topical issues and construct management plans for horses in a range of settings. You’ll learn through seminars, field visits and guided study in the spring term. Students selecting this module who have not previously taken animal nutrition modules (AP1A18 or AP2A67) will be required to undertake additional background reading prior to the Autumn Term.


This module ties together both theoretical and practical elements of equine science and equine management. In the Autumn Term (module Part 1), the module is designed to enable students to build on and apply their existing scientific knowledge of physiology, nutrition and behaviour, to horses and the discipline of equine science. Special emphasis is placed on the relationship between the growing knowledge of equine biology, and its impact on equine management and performance, particularly in the area of equine nutrition. The second part of the course, in the Spring Term (module Part 2), focuses on building student understanding of evidence based approaches to key management issues within the equine industry including the health and welfare of equines. It also provides an opportunity for students to develop skills in practical assessment of horses and their environments. Students are not required to have previous experience with horses to successfully complete this module.

Assessable learning outcomes:

After Part 1 of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

• Critically evaluate nutritional requirements, factors influencing choice of diet and pathologies associated feeding practices in horses, in the context of their origins, digestive physiology and metabolism.

• Describe and evaluate the physiology of the horse in relation to reproduction and to exercise, training and athletic performance. Discuss the management of horses to optim ise breeding and athletic performance.

• Describe and discuss communication and social behaviour in equids and apply this to develop welfare assessments for equids. Critically evaluate the origins, consequences and management of problem behaviour 

After Part 2 of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

• Critically discuss challenges facing the equine industry; argue possible management strategies and soluti ons, to include consideration of ethical, socioeconomic and welfare issues

• Critically review current research on equine health and welfare issues and construct evidence based management plans to address these issues

Additional outcomes:

The following employability/transferrable skills will be developed:

  • Experience of communicating science in a written style suitable for the lay audience

  • Contextual thinking skills

  • Critical appraisal of literature

  • Building arguments

  • Independent working

Students will improve their Global engagement and multi-cultural awareness through understanding the role of working equids in different cultures.

Through the Spring Term visits, students will:

  • Gain some broader insight into the equestrian facilities provided at different equine establishments, and aspects of the work of some equine businesses and/or charities.

  • Put knowledge gained in Part 1 of the module into a practical context. 

  • Develop practical skills in the safe handling and physical assessment of horses and assessment of their surroundings

Outline content:

The module is formed of two parts taught in the Autumn and Spring terms, with the first term comprising the 10 week ‘Equine Science’ course (AP3A100) and the Spring Term covering practical and topical issues in equine management.

The Autumn Term lectures cover:

• Origins and domestication of equines

• Horses as grazing animals

• Equine digestion and metabolism

• Pathologies associated with nutrition, diets and feeding practices

• Nutrient requirements of horses

• Feeding horses at work and at rest

• Equine reproduction and breeding

• Exercise physiology of performance horses

• Working equids including donkeys

• Equine behaviour and behaviour problems

The Spring Term lectures/practicals/visits cover:

• The equine indus try and sectors within it, legislation relating to keeping and managing horses

- Visits to up to four different equine establishments

• Challenges facing the industry e.g. unwanted horses, horses in the food chain, transportation, risk in equine sports

• Handling horses from the ground

• Health assessment

• Principles of parasite management


Global context:

Students will improve their global engagement and multi-cultural awareness through understanding the role of working equids in different cultures.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will be delivered primarily through lectures, supported on occasions by practical sessions/visits. The Autumn Term ‘Equine Science’ will be a 2-hour lecture each week, each lecture will be accompanied by a student led seminar to assist students in their independent study. . The Spring Term course will consist of a mixture of lectures and visits/practical sessions. 

Important note: Students who have not taken prior modules in nut rition e.g. AP1A18 Digestion and Nutrition or AP2A67 Animal Nutrition are required to undertake additional background reading before completing this module as follows:

McDonald, P., Edwards, R.A., et al. (2011) Animal Nutrition, 7th Ed. Pearson Education Ltd. London.

n.b. 6th edition is also suitable.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 6
Seminars 10
Practicals classes and workshops 6
External visits 13
Guided independent study: 70 75
Total hours by term 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 30
Written assignment including essay 70

Summative assessment- Examinations:

A two hour paper requiring one answer from two questions in Section A and one answer from two questions in Section B.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

There will be three written assessments including a management plan, an assignment in the style of a science magazine article and position paper assignments based on the visits completed.

Formative assessment methods:

Multiple choice questions applicable to Part 1 module content will be available on Blackboard for revision.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
By examination in August/September.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: 

2) Specialist equipment or materials: 

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: Sturdy footwear e.g. boots and wellies, thick trousers/jeans or jodhpurs, t-shirt, plain jumper and warm coat (no hoods) are needed for the external visits.

4) Printing and binding: 

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: 


Last updated: 29 July 2020


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