Horse Health

Students that major in Dressage at Meredith Manor equintrian career college have 8 one hour dressage riding lessons per week in addition to 16 hours per week in training classes.

Course Name: Horse Health

Prerequisites: None

Horse Health familiarizes students with basic anatomy and physiology of the horse, teaches the basics of equine first aid, and deals with content related to the general health and well-being of the horse. Students also learn to set up preventative health programs for the control of disease and parasites, and identify common lamenesses along with those conformation faults that predispose lameness problems.

Weekly Topics:
Students will have experience applying concepts and principles, as well as skills and strategies to over 100 horses that are involved in the school program. Therefore, content is divided into three week segments which include classroom sessions and extensive field work.

Week 1. General Anatomy - parts of the horse; Directional Terms planes of the horse; General Terms gaits, farrier, problem movement, thorax
Week 2. Skeletal System vertebrae; thorasic limb; pelvic limb; tendons and ligaments; the parts of the hoof; composition of bone basic categories of bone; types of joints; stay apparatus
Week 3. Parasites types of; parasite control; fecal exams
Week 4. Fecal exams; deworming
Week 5. Digestive system; types of feed; teeth; floating teeth; aging; nutrients; vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates; diseases of the digestive system; colic, choke, etc.
Week 6. General Diseases; Pathogens medications; types of Immunity; review and Mid-Term
Week 7. Respiratory System and vital signs; respiratory Diseases; when to call the vet; heat dissipation
Week 8. Lameness of the hind legs; lameness of the front legs; Founder and Laminitis; Conformation (form) and function; Arthritis
Week 9. Circulatory System; Diseases of the Circulatory System
Week 10. Soundness Exams; Preventative Health Care; Strategies for I-V and I-M Injections; First Aid applications and items
Week 11. Presentation of projects
Week 12. Review; Final Exam

Performance Objectives:
Following successful completion of Horse Health, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the horse
  • Explain and demonstrate the concepts and principles of first aid
  • Identify and describe common diseases of the horse
  • Identify and describe common lameness problems of horses
  • Explain causes and treatments for basic diseases and lameness problems in horses
  • Describe what is included in preventative programs for the control of parasites and disease
  • Set up a basic preventative program which includes record keeping and practical applications of preventative health care
Throughout the extensive field work offered through Horse Health, the student will be able to:
  • Identify and read vital functions
  • Diagnose common problems and suggest appropriate treatment
  • Perform follow-up care
  • Demonstrate ability to perform first aid procedures appropriately
  • Demonstrate proper would care
  • Give intra-muscular injections
  • Demonstrate an understanding of proper assistance to health care professionals such as the veterinarian and the chiropractor

In order for students to acquire the knowledge and skills of Horse Health, the instructor will use a variety of teaching methods including: expository learning, discussion, demonstration, & guided practice. Students will have extensive hands-on instruction and guided practice using the 100+ horses that are involved in the school program.

Students will be evaluated on their knowledge & skills through mid-term test, and final exam, quality of notebook, score on their research project, and teacher-made quizzes. In addition, students are expected to participate in a variety of ways including their involvement in:

  • Class learning activities such as discussion and projects
  • Lab activities, assisting in horse care, practicing skills and other field work
  • The School Horse Health Care System
  • Horse care outside of class hours

Formative assessment and immediate feedback during lab activities will be used to guide the teaching/learning process and will allow students to monitor their progress throughout the course.

Recognize that you are one of the fortunate few to have a passion that you can turn into a career.
Kim Read-Graff: 1978 Riding Master IV Graduate