The Horse Course: Introduction to Basic Care and Management

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Overview

There are over 100 million horses, donkeys and mules in the world today and owners of these animals can be found on almost every continent and in almost every society. The Horse Course will cover many unique aspects of equine ownership and touch upon the science behind many of today’s management practices.

Syllabus

Introduction to The Horse Course
-Welcome to Week 1 of The Horse Course! To start off the course, we will begin discussing what exactly an “equid” is. We will cover the many equine species inhabiting our globe. Next, we’ll jump into the history of horses and donkeys, touching upon how they have made such an impact on our own societal development. The second half of week 1 will cover the many breeds of horses and donkeys. We will finish up with a lecture on the equine hybrids.

Basic Equine Physiology
-This week will start out with covering some basic physiology. We will then advance into hoof anatomy and care. This will lead to spending a lecture discussing laminitis, a serious hoof condition in horses and other equids. The final two lectures will jump into the various coat colors and markings in horses.

Equine Behavior and Training
-The topics this week will focus on equid behavior and movement. Understanding how equids relate to their environment and communicate is critical to training and management. We will start this week by examining the basic equine senses and communication. Then we will discuss normal and abnormal behaviors and the basic psychology used in training. We will finish the week discussing the basic gaits and how these animals move.

Feeding Management
-The topics this week will focus on equid nutrition. Understanding how and what to feed these animals is one of the most important aspects of basic care. We will start with digestive anatomy, how to evaluate your animal’s nutrient requirements, and then jump into feeding management. We will round out the week discussing colic and other nutritional disorders.

Maintaining Equine Health
-The topics this week will focus on equine health. Monitoring and taking care of your animal’s health is critical to owning any equid. We will start off with the normal equine vital signs and then we will discuss administering first aid to your animals. We will then cover the different parasites and diseases that can afflict these animals. Finally, we will end the week discussing some common genetic disorders.

Breeding Management
-The topics this week will focus on equine reproduction. Breeding is an important component of the equine industry. We will start off this week with some basic anatomy, including what makes the equids unique. Then we will cover the estrous cycles of mares and jennies, followed by common breeding systems used throughout the world. After discussing unique aspects of equine pregnancy and parturition, we will finish out the week covering some management tips for taking care of the newborn foal.

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