This course is designed to provide knowledge of equine digestion and nutrition for those with an interest in this area. The anatomy and physiology of the equine alimentary canal will be studied to provide students with an understanding of the equine digestive system. Nutrient sources for horses will be discussed, with emphasis placed on the health and welfare issues surrounding the inclusion of various types of feedstuffs in equine diets. Students will also discuss recommendations on rations for horses and ponies performing various activities and should feel better equipped to make judgements on rations for horses and ponies, in health and disease.
Week 1: Anatomy and physiology of the equine gastrointestinal tract
The expectation is that the course participants will come from varied backgrounds in relation to their previous experience of gastrointestinal tract anatomy and physiology. Consequently, this course begins with consideration of digestive anatomy and physiology in equids and will consider nutrient digestion in the various segments of the equine gastrointestinal tract.
Week 2: Feed Composition
The learning materials during this period will focus on the composition of feedstuffs for horses and the factors that affect the composition of feedstuffs. There will also be information on how feedstuffs are evaluated. Discussion should focus on how the composition of feedstuffs affects their digestibility.
Week 3: Equine nutrient sources
This part of the course will consider various nutrient sources for equids. Various feedstuffs that are used in equine diets will be discussed, with emphasis placed on the health and welfare issues surrounding the inclusion of these in equine diets.
Week 4: Equine dietary management
This week of the course will explore the dietary management of equids. Discussions should focus around considering how modern feeding practices do not always consider the anatomy and physiology of the equine digestive tract.
Week 5: Equine clinical nutrition
This part of the course will focus on feeding strategies for the management and prevention of some nutrition-related diseases/disorders in equids; for example, obesity, laminitis, older horses with dental issues etc. Discussions should focus on the dietary management of individuals affected with nutrition-related problems.