Level 4 Certificate in Equine Anatomy and Physiology

This specialist short course is designed to provide an understanding of micro and gross anatomy of the structures of the horse.  Physiology is the study of the physical and biochemical functions of living organisms.  A good baseline understanding of micro and gross anatomy is needed to appreciate how the various organ systems function and how they interact, communicate and integrate with each other.

Course Accreditation

Academic Level:

Higher Education Level 4

Number of Modules:


Study Hours per Unit:


Total Hours: 


Course Duration: 

6 to 12 months

Study Week Requirements:

Optional Higher Education Study Week (Additional fees apply. Please see Study Week page)

Upon enrolment you are provided with access onto TOCES’ online E-Learning Centre where you will find your study guide, study planner, Course Advisor and tutor information, course material, assignments and other helpful study resources.

The HE specialist short courses consist of:

  • Detailed illustrated text in pdf format which you can print or download and save.
  • Online learning resources including in-text questions and activities.
  • Pre-recorded webinars, online lectures and videos.
  • You will study and complete *one formative assignment and *one summative assignment for each short course. Referring to the course material, you will complete the assignments at your own pace, within the maximum study period, and submit online for marking and assessment. Your work is assessed by a qualified tutor, graded and returned to you with detailed feedback.
  • Upon completion of the course you will receive a graded TOCES certificate.

Some short courses offer optional or compulsory study week attendance at TOCES’ yard in Suffolk. This consolidates the theoretical studies with a mixture of taught classroom based lessons and practical sessions.

*HE SC 1 / 2 Equine Anatomy and Physiology has two formative and two summative assignments.

  • at least 16 years old
  • three GCSEs at Grade C (4) and above or hold a level 3 or equivalent qualification in a similar subject area

If you do not have GCSEs or hold a level 3 qualification you may wish to consider an Intermediate Specialist Short Course.  Satisfactory completion of this will ensure you are suitably prepared for the HE Short Course.

Course Accreditation

Module/Unit Details

  • Module 1 Equine Anatomy

    Structure and function of mammalian cells and tissues
    – Cellular structure and function, components of a cell and their functions, nucleus, cell division, mitosis. Tissue types – epithelium, connective tissue, nerves and muscle. Adaptation to function and distribution in the body.

    Equine structural anatomy
    – Skeletal anatomy and the function of bone and joints. Structure of bone and bone formation. Location and function of the major muscles, tendons and ligaments. Structure and function of the foot.

    Anatomy of the horse’s body systems
    – Anatomy of the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urogenital and sensory systems. The integument.

    Equine conformation
    – Evolution of Hyracotherium to Equus caballus. Good and poor conformation in a range of different horses and how it relates to performance. Ageing by dentition.

  • Module 2 Equine Physiology

    Basic physiological principles
    – Fundamentals of physiology and biochemistry including SI units, atomic structure and bonding, elements and compounds, chemical reactions, partial pressures. Organic molecules: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, phospholipids and enzymes. Cell membrane structure and function. Movement of substances, diffusion, facilitated diffusion, osmosis, active transport, endocytosis and exocytosis. Concepts of homeostasis, the internal environment, control mechanisms and how they apply to the principal body systems.

    Functions of the systems of maintenance
    – Circulatory system: the need for a circulatory system, heart- function and control. Respiratory system: mechanics of breathing, ventilation and gas exchange, blood gas transport and regulation of blood gases, cellular respiration and metabolism. Digestive system: prehension and eating, digestion, absorption of nutrients, gastrointestinal motility, the liver, appetite. Osmoregulation and renal excretion: function of the nephron, control of osmolarity, fluid, acid-base and electrolyte balance, excretion of urine.

    Functions of the systems of information and control
    – Intercellular communication: neural and endocrine communication, cellular messengers and receptors, membrane potentials. Nerve function: passive and active transmission, synaptic communication. The nervous system: central and peripheral nervous systems, the autonomic nervous system, sensory organs. Endocrinology: major endocrine organs, their hormones and the role of these hormones. Thermoregulation. Adaptation of muscle types to function, neuromuscular junction, excitation-contraction coupling.

    Major metabolic pathways
    – Equine digestive physiology, organic compounds, carbohydrates, monosaccharides, disaccharides, polysaccharides, starch, glycogen, cellulose, lipids, fatty acids, alcohols, proteins, amino acids, fibrous proteins, globular proteins, nucleic acids, denaturation of proteins. Aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration, glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid cycle cellular respiration, glycolysis, electron transport system, energy from lipids, energy from protein.


Full Payment


  • Online access to all course material and assignments
  • Tutor support
  • Enrolments are accepted at any time throughout the year
  • Additional fees apply for Optional Higher Education Study Week
  • £25 discount when paying in full for this course. (PAYL fees £150)

Pay as You Learn

£50 Initial Fee

  • 4 Payments of £25
  • Online access to all course material and assignments
  • Tutor support
  • Enrolments are accepted at any time throughout the year
  • Additional fees apply for Optional Higher Education Study Week