ASC521 The Equine Athlete (8)

This subject examines the physiology underlying equine athleticism building upon existing knowledge of mammalian energy production systems. 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 will also be examined. Students will undertake practical work and devise comprehensive 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 and be able to apply their knowledge to novel contexts and equestrian scenarios.


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

Session 2 (60)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

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

Grading System



One session


School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Postgraduate students only.

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.
Subject Relationships

ASC321 Paired Subject

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to critically 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 in a range of horse types and disciplines
  • be able to interpret and critically appraise the regulatory requirements of a chosen equine sport with regards to the management of the equine athlete on the national and international stage
  • be able to critically evaluate and apply published evidence-based findings to optimise equine training processes and relay these effectively in order to allow practitioners to improve/enhance their practice


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.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of ASC521 in Session 2 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 %
Exercise and training report
Poor performance literature review
Final exam

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

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.

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.