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Associate Diploma in Equine Care & Management Co-op

Program Overview

Are horses your passion? Expand your skills and knowledge to make your passion your career. Learn about horse behaviour, handling, health, management, performance, and business. Begin your studies at REACH Huron, a national-level competition facility, where you will be fully immersed in both hands-on and theoretical equine learning. Whether you are “new” to horses or want to fine-tune your skills, you will learn how to work with performance horses of varying temperaments, and the ins and outs of managing an “A” level facility.

Delivery Locations

Program Features

  • Combine in-depth equine theory and applied business courses
  • Complete coursework with teaching horses from various sectors of the industry
  • Learn and experience different areas of the industry through field trips and guest speakers
  • Travel to England and complete coursework as an elective option
  • Experience two different learning atmospheres: a small, equine-based atmosphere and a larger campus and student experience

Innovative Teaching Team

  • Learn with experienced instructors and teaching horses from a variety of sectors and disciplines
  • Industry experience includes coaching certifications, development of horses to 'A' level standards for competitions, and riding expertise in different disciplines
  • Our teaching team is dedicated to helping students succeed and learn the most up-to-date industry information


  • Complement your applied education with a strong theoretical base and earn an undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph
  • Diploma graduates can receive transfer credits towards a degree. In many cases, this will eliminate 1 to 2 years of your degree completion time

Learn More About

12 - 15
2 Years
4 Week

Required Courses

Year One

DAGR*1090 Students will develop written language skills and become proficient at using word processing software. Practical skills include writing business letters and other business correspondence, resumes, formal and informal reports, instructional writing, critical thinking and critical writing. Students will become familiarized with campus software systems including campus e-mail, library resources, and classroom support software. Instruction will be provided in computer file management and using the internet as a research tool.
DEQN*1010 This course will explore business and employment opportunities in the horse industry. Various sectors and disciplines will be studied to reveal the economic and employment impact on the horse industry provincially, nationally and internationally. An overall theme in this course will be the use of horses as sport and leisure animals versus horses used as agricultural commodities. A study of equine sport and regulatory governing bodies will also be studied in detail.
DEQN*1020 This course encompasses the gross anatomy and physiology of the horse. The course includes an introduction to anatomical terminology, the integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, urinary system, cardio-vascular system, the respiratory system, the digestive system and the endocrine system.
DEQN*1050 This course is an introduction to equine health and disease, the care of sick animals and other stable management practices related to the health care of horses.
DEQN*1150 This course introduces students to the elements and importance of day to day stable facility management. Daily animal care including feeding, watering, grooming, tack maintenance and turn out is taught and practiced. this course emphasizes safe handling of horses, occupational health and safety, daily routines and record keeping. Students are responsible for twice daily feeding and stall care.
DEQN*1200 This course is designed to familiarize students with the basic skills and procedures used in the management of an equine facility. Topics included within this course are the building, renovating and management of horse facilities including site planning and interior design. Special consideration is given to environmental control, waste management and environmental stewardship.
DAGR*2090 Students will develop effective oral communication and presentation skills using software. Oral communication skills, preparing formal and informal reports with and without technological support. Practical presentation skills include the use of voice, eye contact, time appropriateness and response to questions. Students will also understand the importance of formalized meetings and be instructed in the use of spreadsheet software as a data management tool. Software available on personal electronic devices used to access business and production information will be overviewed.
DEQN*2030 Upon completion of this course the student will be able to evaluate a horse's conformation, relate form to function and develop an understanding of the common lameness and blemishes found in horses and their relationship to athletic performance.
DEQN*2040 This course introduces students to the topics of digestion, feed nutrients, feed stuffs and feeding practices for horses.
DEQN*2100 Students will learn to define exercise and understand the importance of conditioning a horse both physically and mentally. Students will also practice developing and monitoring a fitness program and illustrate methods to monitor fitness levels during training.
DEQN*2130 Anatomy and physiology of the mare and stallion is covered, along with sexual maturation, breeding techniques and management, fertilization. gestation, parturition and foal care. Management of stallions. mares and foals in regards to housing and handling is discussed along with genetic selection and inheritance.
DEQN*2150 This course builds on skills taught in Practical Horse Care I. Course focuses on building knowledge and skills in three functional areas: day to day facility operations, horse handling and daily care of horses. This course emphasizes further skill development in handling, grooming, bandaging, daily routine and hoof care. Students are responsible for twice daily feeding and stall care.

Year Two

DAGR*1070 This course introduces business management principles, functions, and processes. Students will learn about the business environment, decision-making, and the role of the organizational functions, with a particular focus on accounting principles, accounting statements, and the use of financial information.
DENM*3150 This course examines the impact and role of farming. Site assessment of environmental risk associated with specific farm operations will be covered by the utilization of best management practices for the conservation of soil, water and other natural resources.
DEQN*3050 Students will learn to identify and prevent common nutrition based disorders in a variety of horse production groups. Horses are used in this course to ensure authenticity and relevancy to industry issues.
DEQN*3070 Students will learn the principles of forage establishment and management for the purpose of providing good quality, affordable pasture and hay for horses. Field trips provide students the opportunity to assess the conditions of local pastures and hay fields and discuss appropriate management practices.
DEQN*3150 This course builds on skills taught in Practical Horse Care I and II. This course emphasizes the management of equine industry staff, scheduling and efficient stable facility routine with consideration being given to equine welfare. Students are responsible for twice-daily feeding and stall care.
DEQN*3210 This course covers the complementary therapies available to a horse care-giver or equine manager in the therapeutic, maintenance or convalescent care of horses. The course includes an introduction to a variety of commonly used therapies. The efficacies and processes are discussed. Case studies and live demonstrations will be included in the lab portion of the course.
DAGR*2020 Student will learn important concepts and techniques required to analyze financial performance and guide business decision making. A broad range of financial topics will be covered, including financial statements and cash flow analysis, financial forecasting and planning, internal control, budgeting, taxation, and the time value of money.
DAGR*3080 This course introduces fundamental marketing concepts involved in the distribution of goods and services from the producer to the consumer. Students will learn about the marketplace, functions of the marketing mix (product, price, promotion, place), as well as personal selling.
DAGR*4600 Students will learn the theoretical and practical skills of management and interacting with people. Topics will include recruiting, supervising, motivation, training employees, effective listening, dealing with difficult people, group dynamics and leadership skills.
DEQN*4120 This course covers athletic conditioning requirements and guidelines for riders at each stage of athletic development. Students will gain an understanding of human anatomy and physiology and how they relate to equestrian sports and injury prevention. Equestrian discipline-specific considerations are also discussed.
DEQN*4320 In this course students will undertake a comprehensive study to develop a business plan for a new venture or develop a long term management plan for an existing equine operation. Drawing upon knowledge and skills gained from previous courses, students will complete and present a formal business report.
DEQN*4500 This course provides students with an opportunity to develop hands-on work experience and exposure to the equine industry. The focus of this externship is to further develop professional work habits. The four-week externship, with a minimum of 140-hours, begins immediately following semester 4. A passing grade is required to complete the diploma.


  • The Associate Diploma in Equine Care & Management requires the completion of 24 courses (12.00 credits) total
  • Successful completion of a 4-week Industry Work Placement, at the end of semester 4, is also required
  • For a list of all courses and the curriculum layout, please refer to the Associate Diploma Calendar


Why Co-op?

As a co-op student, you will gain firsthand work experience, build professional networks, and develop interpersonal skills that are essential for pursuing a career in equine care & management. You will also get paid while earning your diploma. Guelph’s co-op program is unique due to the exceptional level of support provided, including a co-op preparatory course, a personal connection with Co-op Coordinators to assist you during the employment process, and access to senior student mentors.

Course Sequencing

In this co-op program, you will participate in one co-op work term in addition to four academic semesters throughout your two years at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus.

ONE Academic Academic WORK
TWO Academic Academic  


  • Assistant Horse Trainer
  • Equine Events Manager
  • Equine Facility Manager/Owner
  • Equine Marketing & Sales Representative
  • Equine Office Administrator
  • Equine Rehabilitation Technician
  • Exercise Rider
  • Feed or Tack Retail Operator
  • International Show Groom
  • Show/Breeding/Race Barn Manager

There are currently 3 careers posted on the job posting page


  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or Equivalent
  • A minimum cumulative average of 65% in 6 Grade 11 or Grade 12 U, C, M, or O level courses (excludes Co-op credits)
  • Includes a minimum of Grade 11C Math and Grade 12C English
  • Or apply under Mature Student Status: Applicants don't have a high school diploma/equivalent but are 19 years of age or older and out of high school for a minimum of 1 year; pre-admission testing may be required
  • The official secondary school (high school) graduation certificate/diploma that would admit you to an internationally recognized university in your home country is normally acceptable for applications to our programs
  • For further details on out-of-country admission requirements, including the General Certificate of Education (GCE), please refer to the University of Guelph's website at
  • Official documents should come directly from the issuing institution or accreditation body in their official, sealed envelope. Where English translations are needed, please have the documents verified and sent by the issuing academic institution
  • Post-secondary transcripts must be assessed by World Education Services (WES). Both a Credentialed assessment and a course-by-course assessment is required. Supporting documentation should be uploaded to your Ontario Colleges Application Account

English Proficiency

Applicants will be required to present evidence of English proficiency if:

  1. Your first language is not English, and
  2. You have had less than four years of full-time secondary or post-secondary school demonstrating satisfactory academic progress in an English-language school system

The following are acceptable English proficiency tests and their related competence levels. Results must not be dated more than 2-years prior to application:

Test Competence Level
International English Language Testing System (IELTS, Minimum overall score of 6.5 with no band less than 6
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL, Internet Based: minimum total score of 89 with no individual scaled score of less than 21
Computer Based: minimum score of 250
Paper Based: minimum score of 600 with a score of 5
Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL, Minimum overall band score of 70
Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB, Minimum overall score of 85 including composition score of 83 and oral score of 3
Pearson Test of English (PTE, Minimum overall score of 60 with no score less than 60 in the individual components
Advanced Level of English Language Certificate Program (ELCP, Successful completion of the University of Guelph's Open Learning Advanced Level ELCP (levels 9 and 10) is also considered an acceptable form of testing


Estimated fees will be posted soon.


  • Spacious Teaching Barn with Wash Stalls and Heated Tack Room
  • Indoor Arena
  • Computer Lab
  • Classrooms
  • Outdoor Arena
  • Student Lounge
  • REACH Huron-Operated Boarding Stalls


We regret that due to COVID-19, we cannot host you on campus at this time. We are pleased to offer you 3 options to connect with us virtually at this time:

  1. RC Connect Info Sessions

    • One-on-One Microsoft Teams meeting with our Student Recruiter
    • Learn about your academic program(s) of interest and have your questions answered
    • Sessions are typically 45 minutes in length
  2. Open House Events

    • These events will offer an opportunity to meet program staff, answer your individual questions, and enjoy a campus overview. Specific academic program Open House sessions are being offered as highlighted. Book a session that fits your schedule and academic interest(s)!
    • Sessions vary in length
  3. Campus Tours

    Book a campus tour

  • To get to know our campus and facilities - at REACH Huron and at Ridgetown - we invite you to view our short virtual tours

How to Apply

Ontario Colleges Application Code: R304

  • Complete your Ontario Colleges application online at
  • February 1 of the application year is the Equal Consideration deadline. Applications received after this deadline will be assessed on a first-come-first-served basis
  • Offers of admission are posted to your Ontario Colleges account starting February 1 of your application year
  • The deadline to accept your offers is May 1 unless otherwise stated in your offer letter

Connect with us

If you have question about this program or would like to schedule a virtual meeting with us, please contact:

Stacia Pepper, Recruitment Co-ordinator
519-674-1500 x63256
virtual meeting

Meiko Putman

"With all the hands-on learning and practical theory learned in lectures, I knew I would receive an exceptional education in a supportive environment; where staff and students alike know who you are, and you are not just a number. You learn current industry practices and standards, and how to bring your knowledge and skills into the real world to make a difference and impact in the industry in a positive way."

Meiko Putman

London, ON