Sign up for our newsletter! Register Today!

EQ1850: Equine Exercise Physiology

Date: Summer 2022 Distance Learning
Cost: $549
Duration: 12 weeks


This course is designed for individuals who work professionally in the equine health industry to enhance their understanding of equine exercise physiology. It introduces many of the important aspects of conditioning the equine athlete for various disciplines, including base conditioning, aerobic and anaerobic exercise and recovery, monitoring of conditioning gains, prevention of health and performance problems and more. This course provides practical and updated information needed to ensure a safe and effective training program through applied scientific knowledge of exercise physiology. The course will also enable participants to improve the results of performance horses involved in racing, endurance, roping, eventing, dressage, show jumping and more.

After completing the course the student will be able to:

  • Perform a horse health check
  • Safely carry out a daily conditioning workout that avoids over-work
  • Design and monitor a year-round training program
  • Identify problems specific to the various disciplines and suggest appropriate prevention or actions
  • Explain the scientific rationale for suggested practices based on an understanding of horse exercise physiology Assess the advantages and disadvantages of new technology and alternate training venues or programs for the athletic horse

This course is entirely online, so no travel to the University of Guelph is required. All students begin and end the course at the same time. Each course is supplemented with CDs, DVDs and industry resources. Registered students are provided with a login and password to a secure learning management system which is web-based and accessible through the internet.

The instructors guide students through the course and they will participate in various learning activities, access discussion boards, interact with the course content through readings, videos, and other materials.  Students demonstrate their learning by completing online quizzes, submitting assignments and papers. Every course has an assessment which results in grade recorded on a University of Guelph transcript.


Course Content:

  • Anatomy and physiology of muscle
  • Energy requirements
  • Cardiorespiratory system
  • Thermoregulation
  • Training adaptation
  • Monitoring the training program
  • Training vs. conditioning
  • Functional anatomy and terminology
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Energy requirement of various gaits
  • Taking vital signs
  • Tissue recovery and energy production


  • Unit 01: Learning About Equine Exercise Physiology
  • Unit 02: Movement and Muscle
  • Unit 03: Where Does the Energy Come From?
  • Unit 04: How Does the Energy Get to the Muscle?
  • Unit 05: How Does the Muscle Get Oxygen? The Cardiorespiratory System
  • Unit 06: Thermoregulation: Preventing Heat Stress in the Horse
  • Unit 07: Whether it is better to excrete or recycle: That is the Question!
  • Unit 08: How does my horse keep going and going? And how do I know when he’s tired?
  • Unit 09: What Happens with Regular Exercise? Training Adaptations
  • Unit 10: How do I Monitor the Changes?
  • Unit 11: What Else is There? Nutritional guidelines and other assorted topics
  • Unit 12: Summary and Conclusion of the Course


Students must be at least 18-years-old and able to read English equivalent to the high school level.

Required Materials

No externship is required for this class; however, to receive Equinology/EquiLearn Institute credit, please email your transcripts to

*This course is a requirement for the MEEBW certification.


Dr. Amanda Waller

After begging my parents for years, I was lucky enough to get my first pony at age 9, and they’ve been my passion (and members of the family) ever since. My sport of choice was always jumping, and I competed for years on the hunter/jumper circuit, but these days I mainly ride for fun.

A lifelong rider and horse lover, Dr. Amanda Waller completed a Ph.D. in Equine Exercise Physiology in 2008 at the University of Guelph.  Her graduate research focused on skeletal muscle substrate utilization and glycogen resynthesis, and fluid, electrolyte and acid-base balance during exercise and recovery. Based on her experience in exercise physiology, she wanted to expand her research in the field of muscle and whole-body glucose utilization while applying it to human and equine health.  Therefore in 2009, she began her post-doctoral research at Ohio State University, where she is conducting translational research on glucose transport during insulin resistance and diabetes, using both equine and rodent models.

Gayle Ecker

At Work: Gayle has been the Senior Manager of Equine Guelph since its inception in 2003 and played an instrumental role in its birth. She has dedicated her energies to advancing the equine industry through education and communications. Gayle created the ‘pyramid of education’ model – an educational approach that provides learning pathways for career development at all levels (youth education > industry skills > Equine Science Certificate > higher education) in the equine industry. In collaboration with the Office of Open learning, Gayle developed the Equine Science Certificate program – an online program targeted to the equine industry. She also acts as an instructor in the program.

At Horseplay: Gayle started riding before she could walk! A dappled grey Shetland pony named Pogo was her first mount. Known as the ‘show junkie’, Gayle spent her youth competing at Arabian shows. A former researcher, Gayle’s expertise is in the area of exercise physiology. She has been the Assistant Chef d’Equippe for the Canadian Endurance Team, traveling around the globe with the team to international events like the Pan-Am and World Endurance Championships. These days, Gayle takes pleasure in riding her two Quarter horses through the wooded trails of her country home.


Students register directly with Open Learning of Guelph University for this course. This is an online course that does not require the student to sit at the computer at a specified time and is 12 weeks in length. The course is available at any time during the duration of the 12 weeks. Once registration opens, you may enroll here.

Receive Your Free eBook Today!

Fill out the form below to download your free copy of Targeting The Equine Pectoral Muscles .pdf now!