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Course Description

Horses running on green grass

The majestic movement of the horse never fails to thrill horse lovers the world over. The ability of the horse to move and achieve such a variety of athletic feats is fascinating to watch. How does the horse do this? Examine the components of the systems that enable these athletic achievements. It is a study of the functions of those components, and the anatomical structures that fulfill those functions.

Learn the important anatomical structures and their functions, view anatomy from the form vs. function approach, and understand how feeding, movement and health of the horse is dependent on its anatomy.

This course is well suited for those interested in the structure and function of the horse—including riders, trainers, farriers, veterinary technicians, coaches, photographers, artists, equine massage therapists and other health care practitioners.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify the horse's important anatomical structures and their functions
  • Determine how management decisions impact on the health and well-being of the horse from a “use vs. function” approach
  • Recognize the feeding, movement and health of the horse as it is dependent on its anatomy
  • Describe the terminology and concepts that will assist in discussing injuries and disease, should they occur, with a veterinarian

During the course, you will utilize the University of Guelph library resources to conduct research into equine anatomy and its impact on the health of the horse.

Course Topics

  • The Gastrointestinal Track
  • The Respiratory System
  • The Cardiovascular System
  • The Musculo-Skeletal System
  • Understanding the Gait of the Horse
  • The Skin
  • The Hoof

Additional Requirements

  • This course is intended for adult learners who are at least 18 years of age.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course, but we recommend students complete the Management of the Equine Environment course before registering for Equine Functional Anatomy.
  • You may take this as an individual course or choose to complete one of our equine certificates or the diploma.*
  • You do not need access to a horse to participate and be successful in this course.
  • You can expect to spend 6-10 hours per week to complete the course material, discussions and assignments.

*If you are a certificate or diploma program student, we recommend that you complete Management of the Equine Environment first, or very early in your course of studies. This course is offered every semester.


Assessment Item Weight
Focused Discussions (4 @ 5% each) 20%
Unit Quizzes (5 x 4% each)  20%
Minor Written Assignments (Colic (5%)  and one of 
Air Quality, Gastrointestinal, Respiratory, or Cardiovascular issue (10%)
Final Written Assignment (A selection of issues of your choice) 45%
Total 100%

Please note that the course assessment is subject to change.

Sponsoring Partner

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


View the upcoming course schedule at our program website: Equine Studies Online

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