Advanced Certificate in Equine Studies VAG060

Make a Career out of Your Passion for Horses

Many horse lovers own their own horses but often work in other fields. If you are interested in more than horse ownership or the occasional horse ride on the weekends, perhaps it is time to convert that passion into a fulfilling career.

Do you have the passion and commitment it takes to look after horses?  

Are you ready to take your horsemanship to the next level?

Do you want a better bond with your horse? 

Are you seeking a horse-related career and need knowledge and skills to get started? 

Gain knowledge - Learn skills - Apply change - Live horses.

You will start with 6 Core Modules: 

Module 1: Horse Care I
1. Horse psychology and handling
2. Buying a horse 
3. Conformation
4. Digestive system and principles of feeding 
5. The grass kept horse and pasture management
6. Grooming 
7. Industry Applications

Module 2: Stable Management (Horse Care II)

1. Feeds 
2. Stabling
3. Bedding and Mucking Out 
4. The Foot and Shoeing
5. Exercise and conditioning 
6. Tack and tack fitting 
7. Horse Facility Design 

Module 3: Horse Health (Horse Care III)

1. Blankets, bandages and boots 
2. Maintaining the health of the horse 
3. Clipping, trimming and plaiting 
4. Traveling and care of the horse away from home 
5. Organising and managing a horse event 
6. Managing a horse enterprise 

Module 4: Equine Behaviour 

1. Influences and Motivation
2. Genetics and Behaviour
3. Perception and Behaviour
4. Communication and Social Behaviour
5. Sexual and Reproductive Behaviour
6. Learning and Training
7. Behavioural Problems 

Module 5: Event Management

1. Scope and Nature of Event Management
2. Developing the Concept
3. Physical an Human Resources
4. Project Logistics
5. Marketing an Event
6. Financial Management
7. Risk Management
8. Staging the Event
9. After the Event

Module 6: Research Project 1

1. Determining Research Needs
2. Research Methods
3. Using Statistics
4. Research Reports
5. Searching For Information
6. Conducting Statistical Research
7. Reporting On A Research Project.


You will finish the course by choosing 3 Elective modules from this list

Workplace I: Problem Based Learning (PBL) Projects 
1. Selecting and Using Workplace Tools Equipment and Material PBL
2. Workplace Skills PBL
3. Workplace Safety PBL

Farm Irrigation BAG213
A foundation course for water management on the farm.
Knowledge of irrigation is more than just knowing how to install a system many factors influence what, when and how we irrigate: Understanding that soil texture and structure influences the way that way that the soil absorbs water. Knowing the fundamental plant functions that allow the uptake of water from the roots to the leaves and how this influences photosynthesis and transpiration; knowing how much to irrigation and when. All these things are important in choosing the right irrigation system and its management.  

Agricultural Soil Management BAG103
Soil ... good soil ... makes all the difference to your horse property. Anyone working with horses knows just how quickly decent soils can turn to mud with wet weather and hooves.   The quality of a soil can be judged in terms of both physical and chemical characteristics; and before you manage a soil you must first gain a sound understanding of the theoretical principles of soil chemistry and physics.  This course provides that foundation as well as a familiarity with soil types in your region, and how to apply that understanding to achieve better outcomes on a farm.

Animal Anatomy and Physiology (Animal Husbandry I ) BAG101
Develop a sound foundation knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology, as a basis to understanding care and/or management of animals in domesticated or wild situations. Topics include: cells, tissues, digestive system, circulatory system, urinary system, respiration, reproduction, muscles, skeleton, endocrine system, growth, etc. This is the starting point for working with animals in any situation. 

Horse Breeding BAG307
Apart from the obvious need to increase the number of animals, breeding is also undertaken to improve the quality of animals. By selecting (hence controlling) the mother and father of a new foal, a horse breeder can exercise a degree of control over the characteristics of a new animal. Over time, breeding has allowed us to produce animals more suited to specific tasks:
breeds with greater endurance so they can be ridden longer distances
breeds that run faster, for racing
breeds with greater strength to be used for heavier work

Animal Behaviour BAG203
Learn How to Control Animals. An understanding of animal behaviour is important in any situation where a person works with animals, from farmers to horse trainers. This is an excellent foundation course, and relevant to working with animals in any situation.

Farm Management BAG104
Through this course, learn to analyse, diagnose and make decisions related to management of a farm business. The course relates to managing all resources, including; production, staff, physical resources, and natural resources. You learn strategic planning, whole farm planning, and how to prepare a business plan. This course was developed by a team of experts from Australia and the UK, under the leadership of John Mason, author of three Farm Management books (published by imprints of Simon & Schuster and CSIRO)

Animal Feed and Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
Evaluate feedstuffs and design production rations. Learn the composition of a range of feeds, including pasture, fodder crops, grasses, cereals, seed, and other edible plants. This course also explains the role of proteins, vitamins and minerals in animal diets. It equips you with the skills required to evaluate feeding and select appropriate feeds - for digestibility and nutritional content - applicable to real life horse care. 

Natural Health Care for Animals BAG218

By studying this course you will learn to look after your horses in a more natural way. Modern veterinary medicine often focuses heavily on invasive treatments which respond to a situation only after it has become very serious. Animals have a natural immune system though, which can often resist infections before they even start to become a problem; provided appropriate husbandry techniques are in place. The first step toward a more natural management of animal health, should be two pronged:
1. Minimise risk of infection by keeping the animal well fed and watered, in an appropriate environment, and away from sources of infection. 
2.Inspect the animal regularly, knowing what to look for and react quickly to control problems as soon as they are detected and before they become unmanageable through more natural and less invasive controls.

Animal Diseases BAG219
Develop a foundation for understanding diseases in animals. Routine disease investigations are based on clinical, pathological and epidemiological evidence. If there is a need for conclusive identification of a disease or condition, an accurate laboratory diagnosis should be obtained. It is particularly important, especially in the case of infectious diseases that the final diagnosis rests on adequate aetiological evidence.
Pasture Management BAG212
This is a suitable course for farmers, graziers, students of agriculture, seed producers, or farm supply company staff. Pastures are critical to farms; and with a sound understanding of pasture management it may be feasible to convert unprofitable farms into profitable enterprises. Whether a small or large property, this course provides a foundation for evaluating problems and generating solutions about the management of pasture for different purposes.

Grooming Animals BAG106
Running a successful grooming business involves more than just being able to groom. You need to decide on the services you will offer, how you will package and deliver those services; what you will charge; and then manage the business itself.

Managing a grooming business involves the whole operation from the accounts and administration, marketing and advertising, customer service and client liaison and of course animal handling and grooming well. Any business needs to make a profit to be successful; as such it involves the balanced integration of all aspects of these businesses.

Workplace II and/or Workplace III - Problem Based Learning Projects. 

Each of these modules encourages you to consider the practical issues surrounding working with horses, and the equipment needed. 


Explain the uses of a horse blanket in a specified locality.

Evaluate three different types of horse blankets, in terms of various factors, including: *price *application *quality *longevity.
List five situations when bandages are used on a horse and describe the methods of bandaging and demonstrate. 
Explain the different reasons why boots are used on horses and describe the use of boots on a horse in two specified situations.
Define terms used in the health care of horses.
Describe the symptoms of five common ailments in horses.
Develop a checklist for evaluating the health of a horse.
Evaluate the health, using the checklist developed above, of a chosen horse.
Describe, in an illustrated report, how to take a horses temperature.
List the minimum components and their uses, of an equine first aid kit for two different specified situations.
Explain different horse restraining techniques, including the use of: stalls, twitch, sidelines, crushes and hobbles.
Determine the criteria which must be satisfied before, and during, the isolation of a horse.
Explain why the isolation procedure is used in a specific situation.
Describe the use and maintenance of tools and equipment required for preparation of a horse for showing.
Demonstrate plaiting using a fibre comparable to horses hair.
Compare the differences in showing under saddle, with showing on the halter.
Write a plan for the preparation of a horse for showing, in a specific competition.
List the situations where a horse might need to be transported.
Explain the different methods of transporting a horse with respect to: impact on the animal, equipment required and costs.
Prepare a set of guidelines for the care of a horse during travel.
Prepare guidelines for the care of a horse at a specified show.
Plan appropriate procedures for the transportation of a horse, for two different situations, in terms of: a timetable of events, husbandry tasks to be carried out, a list of equipment and materials required.
List the factors influencing the success of different types of events in the horse industry, including shows, races and competitions.
Determine the minimum first aid facilities which should be provided for horses, riders and spectators at a specified type of event.
Prepare a plan for managing a specified type of horse event.
Write a report analysing the management of a nominated event in your locality.
Evaluate the management of a horse event, such as a show, competition or race; with reference to organisation, promotion, and success (or failure) of the event.
Determine the factors affecting the profitability of two different specified horse enterprises visited by you.
Calculate the different costs involved in maintaining a specified breed/type of horse over one year, including manpower, feed, veterinary needs, transport and tack.
Evaluate three different systems for marketing horses in your locality.
Determine innovative marketing methods for different horse industry situations, including: stud services, yearling sales and riding instruction.



The majority of stable vices are the direct result of boredom or stress caused by long periods of confinement. The horse is by nature a wanderer and this confinement is both unnatural and stressful. Stable vices can take many forms but the most common are:

Crib-biters take hold of an object such as the stable, feed manger or partition with their teeth and chew or pull at the object usually for long periods of time. 
This causes damage to the teeth and can mean they are ingesting harmful material such as wood splinters. It is caused by drastic negative events resulting in an emotional build up, over excitement through deprivation, frustration or conflict.  It is best prevented with appropriate management, feeding and handling. 

Prevention of crib-biting can be achieved through: 
• Painting the stable doors or mangers with an anti-chew paste such as cribox. 
• Fitting all potential cribbing surfaces with wide metal strips which do not allow the horse to get his mouth round or putting electric fencing on paddock rails.

Wind sucking: Wind sucking is when the horse takes hold of an object in the stable and gulps in air. This is a very serious vice which must be declared if the horse is being sold. The swallowing of air can cause colic and loss of condition.

Prevention is generally by the use of a collar which stops the horse from arching its neck sufficiently to be able to gulp in the air.

Weaving: A horse that weaves will sway or rock from side to side transferring his body weight from one front leg to the other. This is a serious vice and again must be declared if the horse is being sold. Horses that weave put extra stress and strain on their front limb joints and lose condition.

Between 1 and 10% of all horses weave (depending on breed, management and use).

The extent of weaving can vary greatly also. At one end of the scale a horse may exhibit as few as 3 or 4 weaving periods each day; while others might exhibit up to 15. The duration may be as short as 15 mins but in extreme cases a weaving period can last almost 5 hours.

Weaving is commonly caused by traumas (e.g. Studies have shown weaving occurs following traumatic events such as weaning, at the start of training, upon change of ownership, etc). It is not triggered by boredom. It is triggered by heightened stimulation (e.g. anxiety, excitement). In situations where feeding is at set times each day, for instance, as the horses anticipation rises, weaving can occur 1-2 hours prior to feeding. If weaving persists it can become a conditioned response that is difficult to eliminate.

Weaving is best treated by reducing the source of agitation. Horses may often weave when kept in a stable, but the weaving can decrease or disappear when they are put in a paddock. Extending feeding times, social contact and exercise opportunities are all positive moves toward treating weaving.

Anti-weave grills can be fitted to stables or plastic bottles can be hung either side of the doorway to discourage the side to side movement and give the horse something else to think about.
Box walking: Because of boredom, nervousness or stress, the horse paces round and round the box digging up the bedding and working itself into a sweat. This can also be seen with horses that are turned out in a paddock when they pace up and down the fence line.

Tearing clothing: The horse chews or tears rugs and bandages because they are irritating his skin or because he is bored. In extreme cases this can escalate to self mutilation where the horse will physically bite itself until it breaks the skin.

Eating droppings: Manure eating is normal in nursing foals up to about eight weeks of age and may have dietary significance. In adult horses, this behaviour can be caused by boredom or a craving for minerals.  Manure eating is primarily seen in horses with insufficient access to chewable roughage. Sometimes it may also be related to parasite problems. The latter is usually accompanied by other signs such as weight loss and other signs of ill-health. Manure eating increases the risk of parasite infestations.

Failure to lie down: This is classified as a symptomatic behavioural aberration.  Horses generally rest in a standing position and it is quite normal for them to spend very little time lying down. A refusal to lie down can also be the result of a feeling of insecurity, perhaps due to a new environment perhaps following a move to a new barn or from an isolated situation to a group situation.  

More serious causes may include an underlying disease such as degenerative joint diseases or back problems, which may make the lying position painful for the horse.  In this instance, appropriate medical therapy should be sought.  

Biting and snapping: This may vary from a harmless pulling of faces to the more dangerous habit of lunging at people from the back of the box or over the stable door with bared teeth. It is often caused by mismanagement of the young horse when they may nip playfully and are not reprimanded.



1.  List factors affecting the suitability of a site for pasture. Write no more than 1 page - 12pt font size maximum. 

2. Assess climatic and edaphic (environmental factors that are determined by the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of the soil) data for a specific pasture site, including:

soil type

Write no more than 1 page - 12 pt font size maximum. 

3. Compare the suitability of three different sites in your locality or on your farm, to determine the most suitable site for a specified pasture application. Write no more than 1 page - 12 pt font size maximum. 

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Fee Information (AC)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $4,822.40  1 x $4,384.00
B 2 x $2,603.70  2 x $2,367.00
C 3 x $1,874.40  3 x $1,704.00

Note: Australian prices include GST. 
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