Diploma in Equine Science


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Diploma in Equine Science

Why Oxford Learning College 


Module 1 - General Principles in Science


This unit provides a foundation for the rest of the course with the simple question of what is science and where does the study of horses fit into this wider context. It introduces the branches of science by covering how we classify organisms or Taxonomy. Then the building blocks called cells, their Biochemistry and how they reproduce is studied. Where horses fit into the group called mammal, their internal systems and how they fit into the external environment is explored. The chemistry of the equine environment ends this unit.


Module 2 - Equine Anatomy and Physiology


A greater and in-depth look at some of the physiological systems that are common to all mammals such as the skeletal, muscular, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, immune and the sensory organs, and the endocrine system are investigated. This unit is equine specific and covers the anatomy of the horse or the structure of its body, and physiology, or the study of how these structures function so how a horse transports food or fights infection. It covers all the points of the horse and the correct terminology for describing organs and regions of the body.


Module 3 - Genetics


An understanding of genetics is necessary in the breeding of horses. The terminology of genetics from a scientific viewpoint and the evolution and history of how horses have developed as a species is explored. The early theories of inheritance and evolution, such as natural selection and sexual selection is discussed. Current knowledge of the basic principles of heredity, how inheritable traits are passed from parent to offspring is addressed. The reproduction of genetic information, the replication of DNA and mutations that arise during replication, and how these alter the genetic instructions to cause genetic disorders in the horse, and how these can be predicted using knowledge of how genes are passed on is investigated. How horses differ genetically from other equines such as zebras and donkeys, and why these species cannot interbreed or why their offspring are sterile is explored. Finally the technology that can help identify common genetic disorders is investigated.


Module 4 - Reproduction


Moving on from genetics, the physiology of reproduction and the care of the new-born foal is introduced here by looking at the reproductive anatomy of the mare and stallion. The oestrus cycle of the mare, conception and early development of the pregnancy is studied. The different methods of insemination, including natural and artificial methods, the procedure of embryo transfer and why this might be used is discussed. The development of the unborn foal, the process of foaling, the stages of birth and the neonatal period, including the importance of the colostrum the foal receives from its mother, and any problems associated with any of these stages is looked at to help horses have successful reproduction and early growth.


Module 5 - Equine Nutrition


Nutrition is more than simply consuming food, it is the science of food and of nourishing the body. Equines have very particular nutritional requirements, and delicate digestive systems. In many cases horses are also used as performance animals, and so the science of correct nutrition is particularly important to maximise their performance. In order to remain healthy, horses must be fed correctly often involving supplements. The structure and function of the equine digestive system and how it differs from some other mammals is studied. The factors that can affect the type and amount of feed a horse requires such as breeding, lactation, age is covered. Monitoring the effectiveness of a diet is explored and understanding what is meant by condition scoring is important otherwise it leads to health problems associated with incorrect feeding, and disorders that are linked to nutritional deficiencies or excess intake of nutrients.


Module 6 - Equine Diseases


Every horse will experience illness at some point in its life, and it is necessary for anyone working with horses to have knowledge of the signs of health and the signs of a horse suffering from disease. The common diseases associated with equines are usually caused by micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses, and the differences between these together with reasons why they may occur are discussed. The main internal and external parasites that affect the horse and how they may cause disease is discussed. The clinical signs and modes of transmission of the main infectious diseases affecting the equine, and how the risks can be reduced are explored. The signs of some degenerative diseases, such as chronic lameness conditions are listed. The signs associated with some diseases where the exact cause is yet unknown, and details of current research being carried out into their likely cause is shown.


Module 7 - Veterinary Science


Equine diseases and the medical care of horses is carried out by the equine branch of veterinary science. This has changed tremendously in recent years, has specific law, and this unit provides an overview of the principles of veterinary medicine, and its aims, and a history of how veterinary medicine developed. The preventive, diagnostic and curative veterinary medicine for various equine diseases is explored. How it tackles equine injuries e.g. a fracture and how these are treated using veterinary technology and how it is used in practice is discussed.


Module 8 - Equine Behavioural Science


A whole branch of equine psychology has been developed. Why horses behave the way they do is discussed by a fascinating look at the reasons behind many of the behaviours expressed by the horse. It covers ethology, the study of horses in their natural environment, and examines the science behind behaviour. The main learning theories cover the areas of the brain associated with various aspects of behaviour and the reasons why horses do what they do in the natural environment. Stereotypical behaviour, including box-walking, weaving and crib biting and the science behind why the horse might develop these problems is investigated.


Module 9 - Exercise Physiology


Horses naturally developed to outrun their predators and whether they are used in the equestrian disciplines or for leisure can be considered as athletes, and knowledge of the scientific aspects of exercise physiology is necessary to help horses work, keep them healthy and to get the best performance from them. The main equestrian disciplines such as racing, endurance and eventing, and their effects on the horse's body are investigated. The effects of exercise on the musculoskeletal system, thermoregulation or the way in which the horse keeps cool during exercise and Biomechanics - how the horse moves during exercise is studied.


Module 10 - Science and the Equine Industry


The equine industry is extremely large and growing as it includes the use of horses for leisure and the use of horses for competition. It pulls together much of the knowledge gained in previous units, as it looks at the ways science is entwined within the equine industry as a whole. The way research into science and technology is having an effect on the way horses in the present day are managed, and the likely developments for the future are investigated. A new product that may become available, for example nutritional products or new veterinary drugs, and the development of tack or equipment to improve the life of the horse or its performance is examined. Some of the products available for the rider and how science is implicated in the development of these products is shown.

Entry Requirements

All students must be 16 years of age and above.

Level 3 Diploma courses require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order that students can manage their studies and the assumed knowledge within course content.

Study Hours

Approximately 20 hours per unit

Assessment Method

Final online multiple choice examination.

Please note that you can enrol on this course at anytime.


Diploma in Equine Science

This course is Quality Assured by the Quality Licence Scheme
Quality Assured by QLS

At the end of this course successful learners will receive an e-Certificate from Oxford Learning College. There is also the option to purchase an Embossed Certificate and also a certificate from ABC Awards for the qualification.

The course has been endorsed under the ABC Awards Quality Licence Scheme. This means that Oxford Learning College has undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet certain quality criteria. The completion of this course alone does not lead to an Ofqual regulated qualification but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills towards regulated qualifications in the future.

The unit summary can be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this sector. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at Level 3 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of demand/complexity involved in successful completion by the learner.

The course itself has been designed by Oxford Learning College to meet specific learners' and/or employers' requirements which cannot be satisfied through current regulated qualifications. ABC Awards endorsement involves robust and rigorous quality audits by external auditors to ensure quality is continually met. A review of courses is carried out as part of the endorsement process.

ABC Awards is a leading national Awarding Organisation, regulated by Ofqual, and the Welsh Government. It has a long-established reputation for developing and awarding high quality vocational qualifications across a wide range of industries. As a registered charity, ABC Awards combines 180 years of expertise but also implements a responsive, flexible and innovative approach to the needs of our customers. Renowned for excellent customer service, and quality standards, ABC Awards also offers Ofqual regulated qualifications for all ages and abilities post-14; all are developed with the support of relevant stakeholders to ensure that they meet the needs and standards of employers across the UK.

How can I progress

For more information on how to progress after completing this course, please click here

Additional Information

You will receive a certificate from the College. A digital version is included in the price and will be emailed to you within 5 days of taking your online exam.

Should you require an embossed hard copy of your certificate to be sent to you by Special Delivery post, you can order this separately after taking your exam.

The course can be enrolled upon by students Internationally. There are no deadlines for enrolments.

To view the differences between our qualifications, please click HERE

What's Included

Online study materials to enable the student to successfully complete the Diploma. Support is provided by the tutor department for the duration of the course (1 year). Certification upon completion. All examination fees.

Course Fee


Payment by Instalments

Students are able to pay course fees in monthly instalments. Click here to download our instalment plan.

Further Information

The Quality Assured Diploma is a Level 3 equivalent on the National Qualifications Framework. The Diploma is a 1 year course which is self study and is examined by online examination. The Diploma is awarded by Oxford College. Upon completion of the course you will receive certification awarded by Oxford College.

The Level 3 Diplomas require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order to for students to manage study and the assumed knowledge within course content.

They provide an ability to gain and apply a range of knowledge, skills and understanding in a specific subject at a detailed level. Level 3 qualifications such as A levels, NVQ3, BTEC Diplomas etc. are appropriate if you plan to progress to university study.

Level 3 Diploma courses can assist you in career development, continued professional development, personal development, and provision of a basis for further study.

Progression from Level 3 is to specialist learning and detailed analysis of a higher level of information (for example university level study, Diploma Level 5 study).

Your course is delivered online via the Oxford Learning On Campus website.

This is a flexible learning course, so the more time you have to commit to your studies, the sooner you are able to complete.

In the student 'On Campus' you are also able to take part in the student chat room and forums as part of our online student community.

After enrolling online you will receive your username and password to access the On Campus area within 3 working days.

Materials and support provided by Oxford Learning. Oxford Learning

For more information please visit our FAQ page.

Overall rating 5 out of 5 based on 2 student reviews

I enrolled on the equine science course in order to support my experience within the equine industry and to consolidate previous learning. I hoped that completing the diploma would make me more eligible for enrolment in a course for animal physiotherapy, since their pre-requisite of an A-level in science was not met by my B grade at GCSE! Happily I have already been accepted and have found this equine science diploma invaluable to my new studies. The course was straightforward and comprehensive, whilst always encouraging me to do more research into each topic. The tutors have always been quick to respond to my queries, marked each assessment shortly after submitting, and have been fair and made positive, constructive comments throughout, even when I struggled with some of the content! Student services are unfailingly cheerful - happy to help with even the most mundane and trivial questions. They have been truly supportive for the duration of the course. I would highly recommend the equine science diploma as good value for money and as an invaluable asset to anyone who wishes to further their career, or simply enhance their knowledge. Jessica Smith

Rating: 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]
I have just completed the course with Distinction. The resources were excellent although you do need the paper version and I think it should be included in the initial cost. I would have liked to have had an email from someone to check that I was getting on ok as I decided not to submit the questions but it would have been nice to know that someone was still thinking of me.

Rating: 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]

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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 13 August, 2009.

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