ASC321 The Equine Athlete (8)

This subject examines the physiology underlying equine athleticism building upon existing knowledge of mammalian energy production systems. During this subject students will develop an appreciation of the physiological  capacity of the horse to adapt to exercise demands. Vulnerability to injury, breakdown and associated management challenges are examined.  Students will undertake practical work and devise training programs that optimise both performance and welfare.  On successfully completing this subject students will be proficient in designing and monitoring equine fitness and training programs.  

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: ASC321. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Students in the Bachelor of Equine Science, Bachelor of Equine Science (Business Management), Bachelor of Animal Science, Bachelor of Animal Science (Honours) or Bachelor of Veterinary Technology may enrol on this subject.  Other students may enrol at the discretion of the Subject Coordinator and appropriate Course Director.


ASC171 and ( ASC206 or ASC106 or ASC148 )

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to evaluate the physical demands being made on the equine athlete during different equestrian sports;
  • be able to critically appraise the physiological processes occurring within the equine athlete in response to exercise and training and design comprehensive training and management programs;
  • be able to apply current scientific monitoring protocols to evaluate equine athletic fitness and equestrian sport potential;
  • be able to critically assess the common causes of poor performance in horses, evaluate indicators of poor performance and design effective remedial management strategies;
  • be able to interpret the regulatory requirements of a chosen equine sport with regards to the management of the equine athlete on the national and international stage; and
  • be able to critically evaluate and apply published evidence-based findings to optimise equine training processes.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Physiological response to exercise in the horse.
  • Physiological response to training over time in the horse.
  • Identifying exercise demands of different sports.
  • Developing training plans to optimise athletic performance in the horse.
  • Investigating poor performance.
  • Managing the older equine athlete.
  • Identifying and managing exertion related medical conditions in equines.

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

During the Residential School students will carry out a series of experiments on a horse running on a treadmill in order to enhance their understanding of the physiology of the exercising horse.  Students will have the opportunity to put theory into practice within a controlled industry-appropriate environment.

Special Resources

Travel to and accommodation is required for distance education students attending the compulsory residential school at a CSU campus.

Online students will be required to attend a residential school which may incur travel and accommodation expenses.

Closed-in stout leather shoes or boots must be worn when working with horses. Clean overalls with long sleeves are compulsory for this subject. When working with horses it is a requirement that all students wear an Australian Standards approved hard hat AS 3838. You may also use helmets considered acceptable by Equestrian Australia  these include NZ 3838, ARB HS 2012, ASTM F1163, PAS 015 and VG01.040.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.