Horse breeding courses are essential for anyone who works with horses, whether as a professional breeder or a stable hand.
Surprisingly, knowledge of horse breeding is also important if you’re considering buying a horse. Why? Because knowledge of genetics and good conformation ensures you purchase wisely.
Our Certificate of Horse Breeding will deepen and strengthen your understanding of horse breeding, which will improve your career prospects in many areas of the equine industry.
There are many different reasons to breed horses, but the most significant is to improve vigour, strength, conformation or temperament. These qualities will be dependent on the horse’s purpose, from showjumping to working on a farm.
This course is beneficial for stud owners, equine assistants, riding instructors, horse trimmer and stable hands. The knowledge gained will help you to build experience in the field of horse breeding and understand how to raise healthy horses.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking horse breeding courses include:
- An understanding of heritability is fundamental
- The Work of Gregor Mendel
- Chromosomes and Genetics in Breeding
- Selecting the mare and the stallion
- Quantitative and Qualitative Inheritance
- The Reproductive Cycle of the Mare
- Hormonal Control
- Abnormal Oestrus
- Breeding Fitness
- General Broodmare Care
- Nutrition and Feeding
- Stallion Management for Reproduction
- Training the young stallion
- Steps in training a novice stallion onto the phantom
- Common clinical problems with stallions
- Artificial insemination
- Handling Frozen Semen
- Embryo transfer
- When to breed
- Detection of Oestrus
- Gestation and Methods and Detecting Pregnancy
- Methods of Diagnosis
- Pregnancy Tests
- Post-Natal Growth
- Preparation of the foaling environment
- Preparation for if things go wrong
- The Physical Environment – Bedding
- Common Bedding in the Foaling Environment
- Stabling and safe environment for newborn foals
- Lactation and suckling
- Premature Foals
- Orphan foals
- Common health problems in newborn foals
- Understanding Fertility in Mares
- Understanding Fertility in Stallions
- Handling and Management in Stallions
What is Good Conformation?
When assessing the conformation of a horse, there are many factors involved. The following is a list of some characteristics that make up good conformation, but there are many more you can discover in horse breeding courses.
- Lean and in proportion with the entire horse.
- Jawbone should have space between its lower edge and the jugular allowing flexion.
- The set of the head on the neck affects flexion (therefore control and balance) so look for a well-set head – for this consider the shoulder angle.
- Clear and bright, not too large or too small. Widely set eyes give a broad range of vision.
- It is a common belief that the expression of the eye is a sign of temperament.
- A good size, flexible and forward-facing when pricked.
- Look for clean nostrils.
- There should be a convex curve with a distinct arch from the poll to the withers
- In the front withers, the neckline should be straight.
- The neck muscle should disappear into the shoulder smoothly in the middle of the shoulder.
- Look for clean lines of the neck and a balanced length in proportion with the rest of the horse.
- The highest part of the horse (height is determined from here).
- Withers are defined clearly, providing a point for attachment of the shoulder and back muscles.
- Shoulders should have a definite slope forward from the withers to its point.
- The top of the shoulder blades should be close together.
- The chest should be of medium size and allow heart space.
- The body should be deep, allowing heart space, but additionally, it should allow plenty of room for the lungs at full volume.
- Measurements from the withers to the lowest part of the girth should be the same measurement as from the girth to the ground.
- Eighteen ribs attached to vertebrae, interconnected by cartilage, should only by slightly curved to start with, then increasing in curvature to give a well-rounded appearance.
- Should be almost level, the length should be medium (neck length and back length are in proportion).
- Located on either side of the spinal processes, they should be broad and well developed.
- The shape will vary; however, a fit horse will have well-developed and firm muscle tone.
- Should be straight from the top of the leg to the foot when viewed from the front.
- When viewed from the side, the straight line should continue from the top of the leg to the front of the fetlock.
- When viewing from the side, there should be a straight line from the point of the buttock through the point of the hock and fetlock.
5 Popular Horse Breeds in Australia
In Australia, horse breeding is relatively new. However, there are a few standout breeds that are unique in looks, temperament and enthusiasm.
#1. Australian Draught Horse
The Australian Draught Horse is a result of crossbreeding four pure draught horse breeds that were brought to Australia. These breeds include Clydesdales, Percherons, Shires, and Suffolk Punch – and some light horse bloodlines that were introduced to improve genetics.
The requirement for heavy farm work has all but disappeared due to advances in technology, but these horses are still found on smaller farms as work-horses.
#2. Australian Riding Pony
The Australian Riding Pony was introduced in the 1970s and was greatly influenced by the British Riding Pony. There are also Arabian and Thoroughbred bloodlines incorporated into the breed. Like other pony breeds, this pony is popular for children and makes an excellent competition horse – particularly in showjumping and dressage.
#3. Australian Stock Horse
Renowned for its calm and willing temperament, the Australian Stock Horse is a hardy breed also popular for its endurance and agility.
The Australian Stock Horse is a combination of Thoroughbred, Arabian, Barb and Spanish horse genetics. These horses are intelligent, tough, courageous, quick and agile, making them popular work and leisure breeds.
A free-roaming, wild breed that can be found throughout all of Australia, the Brumby is descended from escaped or lost horses dating back to the European settlement.
Breeds that have contributed to the Brumby’s make-up are the British Pony, Draught horses, Timor ponies, Thoroughbreds and Arabians.
#5. Coffin Bay Pony
The Coffin Bay Pony is descended from 60 Timor ponies which were brought into Australia (Coffin Bay) by English settlers. Often confused with the Brumby, as the breed is somewhat feral by nature, Coffin Bay ponies live in protected areas that are fenced off from the general population.
Gain an understanding of horse anatomy, good conformation, fertility, pregnancy and newborn care with horse breeding courses, such as our Certificate of Horse Breeding.