Equine Digestion and Nutrition

This module is designed to provide an in depth knowledge of equine digestion and nutrition, allowing students to pursue careers in research, industry or academia.


horse and coat

20 credits.

Course leader

Dr Andrea Ellis

Short description of course

The anatomy and physiology of the equine alimentary canal will be studied to provide students with a detailed understanding of the equine digestive system. The pathophysiology of selected equine alimentary diseases will also be studied.

Information will be given on the nutrient requirements of horses involved in all types of work. 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 horse diets.

Evaluation of the methodologies used to determine the nutritive value of feedstuffs for horses will also be undertaken and will include a review of the current research and ethical issues surrounding experimentation in the horse.

Students will also formulate diets for horses performing various activities and will be able to make recommendations on rations for all classes of horses.

Learning outcomes

  1. Explain the anatomy of the equine gastrointestinal tract, discuss the digestive physiology of equids and appraise its limitations in relation to nutrient digestion.
  2. Evaluate the various diseases/disorders relating to the gastrointestinal tract of horses and their prevention/treatment through correct feeding.
  3. Recognise and critically appraise nutrient sources for all types of equids.
  4. Inspect the nutrient requirements of horses and critically assess the methods used to evaluate the nutritive value of feedstuffs for equids.
  5. Define nutrient requirements and carry out ration evaluations for equids in various circumstances.