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Course Description

Five brown horses grazing in a bright green field.

You know your horse needs a good solid nutritional program. His life and career depend on the building blocks that nutrition will provide as the solid foundation; but you don’t need a Ph.D. to make sure your horse has a good basic diet! This course leads you through the maze of equine nutrition and gives you the practical knowledge and skills you need to develop and maintain a healthy nutritional program for your horse. The course covers the basics of nutrition, balancing rations and special populations.

Designed For

Students 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.

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

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Develop knowledge of 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. Identify terminology and concepts that will assist when discussing nutrition with your veterinarian, nutrition specialist or feed store representative;
  5. 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;
  6. Identify the category of horse based on age, physiologic state, exercise level and other important factors when developing rations;
  7. 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;
  8. Visually assess forage and recognize the value of the chemical analysis of forage and how to read feed analysis reports;
  9. Assess a diet and develop a new diet based on the forage the horse is receiving;
  10. Develop the skills and knowledge needed to formulate simplified rations for various types of horses, using the NRC guidelines as a starting point; and
  11. Identify the special needs of different classes of horses such as performance horses, stallions, broodmares and foals.

Course Topics

Equine Nutrition will provide you with practical information on diet and nutrition and it's relationship to the health and performance of your horse.

  • 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. Students must either be 18 years of age or have completed Grade 12 or equivalent, in order to register.

It is recommended certificate and diploma students complete Management of the Equine Environment as their first course.


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%


Equine Guelph
Open Learning and Educational Support


You do not need access to a horse, or own your own 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. Plan to be on the course website at least 3 - 5 per week to keep up-to-date and on schedule with weekly readings, activities, and discussion.

Do you have more questions? Visit our program page Frequently Asked Questions or send us your question by completing the Request Information contact form.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

*Course details are subject to change.


Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in

Section Title
Equine Nutrition
September 09, 2019 to December 01, 2019
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Potential Discount(s)
Section Notes

You are responsible for purchasing the required textbook for this course. Textbooks can be purchased from the University Bookstore, the Co-op Bookstore, or a bookseller of your choice.

Textbook Notes:

The Nutrient Requirements of Horses NRC textbook is available in a free online version but is not printable

Please review our new Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

If you require assistance, please contact our main office

Section Materials
  • Textbook (Mandatory) Nutrient Requirements of Horses by Various NRC, 2007 Sixth Revised edition ISBN 030910212X
  • Textbook (Optional) Equine Nutrition and Feeding by Frape, David Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, 2010 4th Edition edition
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