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Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:

Prerequisite Modules:

Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

The module provides students with the knowledge on the principles of athletic movement in the horse, which includes simple gait evaluation and consideration of various factors that impinge on efficient movement / locomotion. The module also develops a greater understanding of the physical preparations necessary for performance and the use of effective practices pre and post exercise. These are key skills in industry to prevent and recognise injury and maximise performance in race and sport horses.


Locomotion; the role of nervous, skeletal and muscular systems in locomotion, use of body segments - head and neck, back and ribs, hindquarters, ring of locomotion, limiting factors - joint range of movement, injury, willingness, opposing muscle groups, stance and flight phases of movement, simple gaits - walk, trot, canter, gallop. Common misconceptions in equine movement. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of equine movement, comparison with competition requirements, locomotion and soundness. Common simple gait abnormalities; lateral and medial deviation, skeletal foundations of gait abnormality, farriery and gait abnormality. Video analysis of simple gait abnormality. Developing equine movement; use of simple techniques on the flat over ground poles and jumping to promote efficiency, co-ordination and power in equine movement. Factors affecting equine locomotion; tack and equipment, the rider, ground surfaces. Lungeing methods and equipment, loose schooling methods and safe practice in accordance to established guidelines.

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to; Evaluate static conformation in a range of horses.Describe and evaluate normal gait and jumping patterns in horses. Discuss the reasons for gait abnormalities and their potential implications for performance. Recognise gait pattern and abnormalities from the ground and while mounted. Evaluate technology available to assess kinematic and kinesthetic aspects of gait analysis. Demonstrate ability to handle and work with equine related technology. Outline basic training methods for the improvement of desirable gait characteristics for equine disciplines. Recognise and evaluate the influence of riders and tack on athletic movement in horses. Recognise the importance of regular hoof care and early recognition of musculoskeletal pain in horses. Observe and practice fitting lungeing equipment correctly and practice lungeing for exercise according to established guidelines. Construct and measure a loose jumping lane.

Affective (Attitudes and Values)

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to; Express their views on the ethical implications of training methods and environments on the physical and psychological well-being of the horse.

Psychomotor (Physical Skills)

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to; Maintain security and balance throughout simple jumping exercises. Practice the ability to adjust stride patterns in jumping simple fences on straight and bending lines.

How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

The module is delivered by a combination of lecture and horse-based laboratory sessions. The module content is continuously revised and recent developments from equitation science, animal science, animal behaviour and animal physiology are included in the discussions and presentations. Students collaborate in group laboratory assignments and presentations directed towards improving their knowledge, team-building and presentation skills. Students are also required to do a significant amount of library research to improve their subject knowledge and journal reports, which improve communication skills, form an important part of the overall module assessment.

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Prime Texts:

Back, W. Clayton, H.M. (2013) Equine Locomotion , Edinburgh: Saunders Elsevier

Other Relevant Texts:

Denoix, J. M. (2014) Biomechanics and Physical Training of the Horse , Boca Raton: Taylor and Francis

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

Semester - Year to be First Offered:

Module Leader: