Unit 21 – Level 5 Equine Nutrition


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Module / Unit Details

Feeding horses for maintenance, breeding, growth, performance or health requires knowledge of equine nutrition and animal husbandry.  Equine nutrition is a growing discipline in which there have been many advances made recently.  However, despite the advancement of nutritional science, practical feeding also requires a degree of experience and horsemanship.

This unit aims to equip learners with the necessary background knowledge of equine nutrition and puts this information into context by reference to the horse’s normal biochemistry and physiology.  The unit brings together theory and practice, with the aim of enabling the learner to make informed decisions concerning practical feeding situations.

Module 21 Equine Nutrition - Learning Outcomes

Discuss energy sources in the equine diet

Energy sources: energy in feed, energy partitioning, energy stores, energy release from ATP, energy releasing pathways, energy generation, carbohydrates, fat, phosphocreatine, macronutrients, carbohydrates, hydrolysable carbohydrates, fibre analysis, the benefits of fermentable carbohydrate in the form of fibre, negatives to feeding fibre and forage, lipids, proteins, water.

Analyse the digestive physiology of the horse

Digestive physiology: digestive tract, digestive processes, mechanical digestion, chemical digestion. Dietary problems, laminitis, incidence, causative factors, disease mechanism, fructans, levels of WSC in grass, feed and management.   Equine rhabdomyolysis syndrome, equine polysaccharide storage myopathy, feeding guidelines for ERS, management issues.  Recurrent airway obstruction, feed and management practices, alternative sources of forage, bedding.  Gastric ulcers, feed and management factors in gastric ulceration, colic, starch and soluble carbohydrate overload, developmental orthopaedic disease, cartilage maturation, calcium and phosphorus balance, glycaemic nature of feeds, feed and management factors to reduce the likelihood of DOD, weight and condition, behaviour, stereotypic behaviour, management, antacids.

Discuss the nutrient requirements of the horse

Nutrient requirements: calculating feed rations, energy balance, estimation of bodyweight, predicting dry matter intake, calculating daily energy requirement, life stage requirements, condition score, forage to concentrate ratios, protein levels, and contribution of forage to energy and protein requirements.

Evaluate the nature and production of horse feeds

Production of horse feeds: purpose of feed legislation, legislative bodies, classification of feed stuffs, packaging legal requirements, declared analysis, feeding guidelines, marketing claims, types of feed processing and their impact on digestibility and feed quality.

Course Details


TOCES Higher Education Short Course

Academic Level: Higher Education Level 5
Number of units/modules: 1
Study Hours per Unit: 150
Total Hours:  150
Course Duration:  Maximum of 12 months to complete course requirements
Study Week Requirements: Optional Nutrition Study Days 30th Jan – 1st Feb 2017

This is a TOCES Certificate course. You will be awarded a graded TOCES certificate upon completion of the course. This will be of value to prospective employers as well as to you personally as it reflects your commitment to study. Please note that although TOCES Certificate courses do not result in a validated qualification, the course material is of the same high standard as our validated programmes through BTEC, the BHS and City and Guilds.

Day 1: Monday 30th January 2017 with Clare MacLeod MSc, RNutr

Equine Digestive Physiology

The Physiology of Respiration and Energy Metabolism

Supplements in the Performance Horse Diet

Day 2: Tuesday 31st January 2017 with Pat Harris MA, VetMB, PhD, DipECVCN, MRCVS

Nutritionally Associated Problems of the Equine Digestive Tract

Case Workshop: Clinical Rationing

Research Workshop: Nutritional Research Techniques and Developments

Day 3: Wednesday 1st February 2017 with Charlotte Bullard BSc (Hons)

Equine Digestive Anatomy and Physiology

Role of Nutrition in Equine Management

Fee: £175 including lunch and refreshments for 2.5 days


Please book here

As with all TOCES programmes, you will receive detailed study material – each module comprises two work assignments which are completed at home and sent in for tutor assessment and feedback.

The first assignment in each module are formative work assignments designed to prepare you for the second assignment, a summative work assignment which contributes towards your overall grade. The overall grade of your qualification will reflect the grades achieved in your assignments. You will receive a TOCES certificate on successful completion of the course.

For all programmes you must be:

  • enthusiastic!
  • prepared to work hard
  • disciplined enough to set aside time to study
  • prepared to undertake independent study
  • at least 16 years old

While not compulsory, applicants under the age of 21 should hold one of the following:

  • BTEC National Certificate or Diploma in Horse Management or a related area
  • AVCE/Advanced GNVQ in an appropriate vocational area
  • GCE Advanced level profile which demonstrates strong performance in a relevant subject or an adequate performance in more than one GCE subject. This profile is likely to be supported by GCSE grades at A* to C
  • Other related Level 3 qualifications
  • Access to Higher Education Certificate awarded by an approved further education institution


  • Non-UK qualifications of a comparable level to those listed above
  • Overseas students whose first language is not English must hold a minimum of level 7 International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Further information can be gained from www.ielts.org.

Mature learners (21 years and above)
Mature learners may present a more varied profile of achievement that is likely to include extensive work experience (paid and/or unpaid) and/or achievement of a range of professional qualifications in their work sector.



How much work is involved?
It is estimated that, including attendance at Study Weeks, each module involves an average of 150 hours study. To calculate how long a programme will take to complete multiply the number of modules by 150 and divide by the number of hours you feel you can spare each week. Although distance learning is a very flexible mode of study you must complete the course requirements before the course completion date. The more time you spend on additional research, the more likely you will be to attain high grades.

Modules generally consist of one Formative and one Summative Work Assignment. Project work and independent research are integral to most modules.  You will receive detailed tutor feedback for each Formative Assignment. Each Summative Assignment is graded and counts towards your overall qualification. Formative Assignments do not count towards the qualification grade and in some instances are optional.

You are also required to undertake independent research and read around the subject areas to increase your depth of knowledge and demonstrate the ability to analyse, disseminate and evaluate information.  We do not specify how many hours each assignment will take – this is included within the 150 hours and is individual to each student.

How long do the courses take?
We appreciate that our students have work, family and equine commitments so do not set rigid time limits. However a maximum completion date is calculated on enrolment.

Time taken depends on:

  • How much you know already – you will find some modules easier and more interesting than others
  • Work commitments
  • Family commitments
  • Equine commitments
  • Your dedication and motivation

To maintain a steady rate of work through an HE programme you should allocate at least ten hours per week to your studies. If you cannot find ten hours in a week you must appreciate that it will take longer to complete the Course and extra costs will be incurred after the maximum completion date if an extension is granted.

Can I work through the programmes in less time?
You can work through the programme at a faster rate than estimated here if you are able to devote more time to your studies. However, we do not encourage students to work through quickly at the expense of the quality of their work. You will also need to attend the correct number of study weeks and your payment status must reflect the rate at which you work through the programme.

Enrolment and Fees

Enrolments are accepted for all courses anytime throughout the year.  Following enrolment, you will receive access to online course information and course material.

TOCES Higher Education Short Course


Full Payment

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  • Tutor support
  • Printing and postage fees additional (optional)
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The Open College of Equine Studies
33 Pages Lane
Lower Green
Bury St Edmunds
IP28 6NJ

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The Open College of Equine Studies
Eldo House
Kempson Way
Bury St Edmunds
IP32 7AR
Company No. 04354226