Train and condition horses

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to plan and implement conditioning and training programs for recreational and performance horses. This unit focuses on training and conditioning horses and monitoring their health and well being to optimise performance in their given role.


This unit applies to those working as horse riding guides or instructors who are also responsible for the care and wellbeing of horses. This may include those working for private horse riding companies or group leaders in school outdoor education programs. It also applies to those intending to pursue a career as an equestrian coach at a regional or State or Territory level who are responsible for observing the performance of horses to determine the required level of training to enhance performance.



Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the Evidence Guide.

1. Prepare individual conditioning and training programs.

1.1. Identify and assess the needs and requirements of the horse according to the role the horse will perform

1.2. Identify and assess level of fitness of the horse according to organisational policies and procedures.

1.3. Identify conformation faults and injuries of individual horses in consultation with veterinarians as appropriate.

1.4. Consult with stakeholders to identify and confirm goals of the program according to organisational policies and procedures.

1.5. Design and document conditioning and training programs to optimise the performance of individual horses in consultation with veterinarians.

1.6. Identify and confirm availability of equipment and resources for the program according to organisational policies and procedures.

2. Implement conditioning and training programs.

2.1. Implement training and conditioning methods appropriate to individual horse health and fitness levels.

2.2. Monitor health and welfare of horse according to relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures.

2.3. Provide ongoing feedback on progress of horse to stakeholders according to organisational policies and procedures.

2.4. Recognise signs and symptoms of injury and implement appropriate intervention strategies according to organisational policies and procedures.

2.5. Monitor feeding and training regimes to confirm they are appropriate to the individual needs and expected performance requirements of the horse.

2.6. Implement appropriate modifications to the program in response to all variable factors that are monitored.

2.7. Supervise transportation practices to ensure that horses are transported safely where required according to relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures.

2.8. Present horses in an industry accepted condition according to industry regulations.

3. Assess training and conditioning program.

3.1. Seek and acknowledge feedback from relevant stakeholders involved in the program.

3.2. Evaluate all relevant components of the program according to identified goals and record outcomes.

3.3. Identify potential areas of improvement of future training and conditioning programs.

Required Skills

Required skills

communication skills to:

consult with stakeholders and veterinarians to plan a training and conditioning program that meets the needs and performance requirements of horses

convey information about the progress of the horse to stakeholders

problem-solving skills to:

assess needs and potential of a range of horses

design a suitable training and conditioning program to match the horse's performance requirements and stakeholder expectations

monitor and assess different variables which impact upon the performance of horses

modify these in response to monitoring outcomes

planning and organising skills to:

implement and monitor the training and conditioning program

source resources and equipment to support implementation of the program

language and literacy skills to produce and document a plan for the implementation of a training and conditioning program

first aid skills to enable initial response to injury or illness of the horse.

Required knowledge

relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures to ensure health and welfare of horses

principles of conditioning horses for different performance requirements to enable the development of appropriate programs

techniques for training and conditioning courses to enable effective design of programs

principles of nutrition of horses during conditioning and training to enhance program outcomes

fitness indicators of individual horses at various stages of a work, training or competition program to enable the design and implementation of appropriate training and conditioning methods

behaviour patterns and characteristics of horses including individual differences in temperament and behaviour

anatomy and physiology of horses to enable understanding of the impact of training and conditioning on various body systems

spelling requirements for horses to promote health and welfare of horse

conformation faults and their implications for recreation and performance horses to enable identification of training and conditioning methods appropriate to those faults

recording requirements for the training, feeding and veterinary care of individual horses

routine and first aid treatments for care of horses, including treatment of common injuries such as muscle and limb soreness.

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Evidence of the following is essential:

utilises knowledge of anatomy and physiology and behaviour of horses to assess individual horses capabilities and needs

plans and implements conditioning and training programs to optimise the performance requirements of horses according to their role and environment and relevant regulations

monitors progress of conditioning and training programs and applies effective contingency management techniques to ensure horse's health and welfare and adjusts for individual horses according to differing capabilities and or performance expectations or requirements

encourages and responds to stakeholder feedback and evaluates and reflects on own performance to identify strengths, weaknesses and areas that need improvement.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment must ensure planning, implementation and evaluation of training and conditioning programs of sufficient duration and breadth to demonstrate competency and consistency of performance.

Assessment must also ensure access to:

a horse riding establishment

horses of varying physical conditions operating in a variety of roles and at various stages of training

appropriate equipment and resources to implement the training and conditioning program

safety equipment and first aid kit


organisational policies and procedures.

Method of assessment

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

observation of assessment of horse's needs and application of planning processes to develop an appropriate training and conditioning plan

oral and or written questioning to assess knowledge of anatomy and physiology of horses and the effects of training and conditioning

third-party reports from a supervisor detailing performance.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

SISOEQO408A Determine nutritional requirements for horses.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Needs and requirements may include:

stages of work or training

performance and performance potential



care requirements.

Roles may include:

performance sports


trail riding.

Organisational policies and procedures may include:

risk management procedures

assessment procedures

referral procedures

time and budget constraints

use and maintenance of equipment

communication protocols

first aid procedures

industry rules and regulations

code of ethics.

Level of fitness may include:

capability of horse

condition of horse

current nutritional regime

Conformation faults may include:

head and neck set







hindquarters or hips

front and hind legs.

Injuries may include:





Stakeholders may include:




Conditioning and training programs may include:


musculoskeletal conditioning

muscular balancing

feeding and watering regimes


Training and conditioning methods may include:

stimulus response reinforcement.

extended sessions to build fitness

work over challenging country to increase surefootedness

Health and welfare may include:

nutritional and water regimes



monitoring of hoof wear or shoeing maintenance.

Relevant legislation may include:

occupational health and safety

permits or permission for access

environmental regulations.

Intervention strategies may include:


referral to veterinarian.

Modifications may include:

adjustment to feeding regime

adjustment to training program.

Variable factors may include:

level of fitness and well being of horse

work load


recurring injury

horse's needs.

Components may include:

appropriateness of training and conditioning program

availability of resources

enhanced performance.


Outdoor Recreation

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

No licensing, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.