ASC148 Introduction to Equitation Science (8)

Throughout this subject students will develop and enhance their understanding of the basic mechanisms by which horses learn and can subsequently be managed, handled and trained. The multidisciplinary nature of the equitation science discipline will also be examined and students will have the opportunity to obtain and assess interactions with horses that may impact on both horse welfare and human safety. On successful completion of this subject students will recognise the need for evidence based research in order to reach conclusions about existing and future practice within the equine industry. They will be proficient and safe horse handlers.


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

Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: ASC148. 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

This subject is primarily for students in the Bachelor of Equine Science and Bachelor of Equine Science (Business Management) courses. It is also a restrictive elective for Bachelors of Animal Science. Students studying other animal based courses may be admitted with the permission of the Subject Coordinator and appropriate Course Director. Places are limited due to teaching horse numbers and welfare considerations.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to recognize the importance of the principles of science and develop scientific, reading, analytical and communication skills within the context of equine-based practice and evidence-based research.
  • be able to outline the implications of evolution and domestication on horse behaviour;
  • be able to handle horses safely in a range of situations using simple, classical and operant conditioning methods allowing Workplace Health and Safety requirements to be met;
  • be able to employ simple assessment and measurement techniques to determine and manage the effects of humans on horses during interactions;
  • be able to outline and appreciate the underpinning principles and breadth of the Equitation Science discipline with particular reference to horse and human welfare; and
  • be able to distinguish factors essential for a comprehensive and meaningful assessment of the overall welfare and quality of life of any equid.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Equitation Science
  • Equid evolution and domestication
  • Horse behaviour and ethograms, Tinbergen's Four Questions and assessing behaviour
  • Recording physiological indicators
  • Fundamentals of horse training: classical conditioning, operant conditioning, equipment and rider impacts
  • Equine welfare and quality of life

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of ASC148 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Practical skills assessment (done at res school)
Managing the modern day horse - short essay
Putting equitation science into practice - report
Final examination

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

Online students must attend a residential school which will allow them to appropriately cover practical aspects undertaken by their internal counterparts.  Specifically this includes safe handling and management of horses (including assessment - as this subject is a pre-requisite for all subjects where handling horses is involved) and monitoring horse health. They will also be able to  use of some of the specialised equitation-related measurement equipment and to discuss and undertake assessment tasks.

Special Resources

Online students must attend a Residential School which may incur travel and accommodation costs.

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.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.