The University of Florida is offering a free online course titled “The Horse Course: Introduction to Basic Care and Management” through The six-week long course, which will begin in late May, will be instructed by Chris J. Mortensen, PhD, PAS.

The course is intended for a wide audience from novices up to the experienced owner, Mortensen said. It is intended for those interested in learning more about horses and the science behind the many management practices used today. Topics to be covered during the course include:

  • Week 1: Introduction to the history of horses and donkeys
  • Week 2: Basic equine anatomy: coat colors, markings, and hoof care
  • Week 3: Equine behavior and training
  • Week 4: Feeding management
  • Week 5: Maintaining equine health: first aid, parasites, and disease
  • Week 6: Breeding your horse or donkey

The course format is described as weekly video lectures, suggested readings, and forum discussions. Each week the students will view about six video lectures that range from 10 to 15 minutes in length. At the end of each week, students will be asked to finish a 10 question quiz pertaining to that week’s lecture material.

Additionally, unique assignments throughout the course will ask students to either own a hypothetical horse, or apply the weekly assignment to an animal they own. Students will devise basic management plans such as a hoof care plan or basic feeding plan applying the principles presented to them. At the end of the course, students scoring 60% or greater can earn a statement of accomplishment that will be mailed to them.

Mortensen earned his PhD from Texas A&M in Animal Science and served as the state equine Extension specialist for South Carolina at Clemson University. Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Florida where he teaches courses relating to equine science. Mortensen’s main research area is in equine reproduction focused on improving mare fertility.

For more information on the course and to sign up, visit

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