ASC521 Equine Exercise Physiology (8)


This subject involves an in-depth study of the physiological adaptations of the horse to exercise and training. Emphasis is on early detection and prevention of exercise related problems, and devising and justifying training programs that are sports specific and that minimise injury and/or disease in the horse.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 2
InternalWagga Wagga Campus
Distance*Wagga Wagga Campus
*This subject offering contains a residential school. Please view following information for further details.
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: ASC521
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Assumed Knowledge

Students are expected to have prior knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology as well as biochemistry. Students are assumed to have appropriate horse handling skills.

Enrolment restrictions

Postgraduate Students only
Incompatible subject(s)Related subject(s)
ASC321 ASC321 Paired Subject

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
- be able to describe in detail the biochemical pathways involved in energy production and their control
- be able to explain in detail aerobic and anaerobic energy production in the horse, and the factors affecting the (energetic ) efficiency of these two pathways
- be able to apply this knowledge to the exercising horse
- be able to explain how the various body systems function during exercise
- be able to explain how these body systems adapt to training, their interactions and how they may also limit performance
- be able to justify their horse training practices based on scientific principles (evidence based)
- be able to defend and justify their view point on animal welfare related to the athletic horse
- be able to incorporate best practice into the care of athletic horses
- be able to identify poor performance indicators and its most common causes
- be able to critique about the various sources of information available to horse owners / managers with regard to exercise and training
- be able to demonstrate a detailed understanding of the physiology of  heat stress, exhaustion, and tying up and be able to recognise early signs of these conditions in the horse
- be able to interpret heart rates and other vital signs in athletic horses and relate them to fitness and athletic ability
- be able to explain the limitations of predicting performance potential in horses. This subject is clearly differentiated from the paired subject, ASC321, in that the learning objectives and assessment clearly reflect the higher level offering appropriate to Master level learning.


The subject will cover the following topics:
- Theory (biochemical and physiological) and practical aspects of energy production in the exercising horse
- Physiology of the respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, thermoregulatory systems in the athletic horse, and how these systems interact to support exercise.
- Theory (biochemical and physiological) and practical aspects of adaptation to training of athletic horses
- Theory (anatomical, biochemical and physiological) of some common athletic injuries/problems and their prevention

Residential School

This subject contains a compulsory 3 day residential school. Students will carry out a series of experiments on a horse running ona treadmill to demonstrate the physiological principles of the exercising horse. Dificulties with concepts of the Study Guide will also be explored.


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.