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Course Description

Five brown horses grazing in a bright green field.

Gain the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to develop and maintain a healthy nutritional program for your horse. Learn about the basics of nutrition, balancing rations and special populations, and how to identify the unique nutritional needs of different classes of horses. You will benefit from practical information on diet and nutrition and its relationship to the health and performance of your horse.

Individuals responsible for the nutritional requirements of horses—including owners, trainers, coaches, barn managers, grooms, and sales and technical personnel working in the feed and tack industries—are well-suited participants for this course.

I have spent the past seven years taking so many of the Equine Studies courses and they have all assisted in my plans. For me, the most informative and utilized course I took was the Equine Nutrition course.

Crystal Volpe

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Recognize the characteristics of typical horse feeds and identify the function of the major components of the equine diet and the role of forage, concentrates and supplements in the feeding of horses for good health
  • Identify and describe important anatomical structures and basic functions of the digestive tract as well as how it functions to meet the nutritional needs of the horse
  • List horse management decisions and understand how they impose changes on the function of the digestive tract and how these changes affect the health of the horse
  • Identify terminology and concepts that will assist when discussing nutrition with your veterinarian, nutrition specialist or feed store representative
  • Interpret theory as it relates to the feeding of horses, including the functions and required levels of the various nutrients in the diet, and the role of NRC guidelines for horses in different categories
  • Identify the category of horse based on age, physiologic state, exercise level and other important factors when developing rations
  • Read a feed tag and interpret the information that is presented, then apply that information to the formulation of a diet for an individual horse
  • Visually assess forage and recognize the value of the chemical analysis of forage and how to read feed analysis reports
  • Assess a diet and develop a new diet based on the forage the horse is receiving
  • Formulate simplified rations for various types of horses, using the NRC guidelines as a starting point
  • Identify the special needs of different classes of horses such as performance horses, stallions, broodmares and foals

Course Topics

  • Assessing Your Horse
  • Digestive Function and Nutrient Requirements
  • Forages and Pasture Management
  • Concentrates
  • Supplements (Vitamins and Macro/Micro Minerals)
  • Practice Ration Balancing
  • Performance Horses
  • Broodmares and Stallions
  • The Growing Foal
  • Special Needs Horses (Senior, Obese and Hard Keepers)
  • Toxic Plants
  • Nutrition Related Conditions

Additional Requirements

  • This course is intended for adult learners who are at least 18 years of age.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.
  • 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 compete 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


  • Submission (5%)
  • Learning Goals Accomplished (6%)
  • Participation with Guest Speaker (4%)
Quizzes (5 x 2%) 10%
Fact Sheet/Term Paper 40%
Final Quiz 35%
Total 100%

Please note that the course assessment is subject to change.

Sponsoring Partner

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

*Course details are subject to change.


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

Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrolment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrolment opens.

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