Unit of competency details

ACMPHR408 - Educate and train performance horses (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 29/Nov/2017

Usage recommendation:

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  14/Feb/2018 
The content being displayed has been produced by a third party, while all attempts have been made to make this content as accessible as possible it cannot be guaranteed. If you are encountering issues following the content on this page please consider downloading the content in its original form

Unit Of competency

Modification History



Release 1

This version released with ACM Animal Care and Management Training Package Version 1.0


This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge to develop high-level technical proficiency in training horses, including the application of knowledge of equine behaviour, equine cognition and learning abilities and equine ethology to training horses in a variety of disciplines.

The unit applies to individuals who have responsibility for the training of horses in a wide range of behaviours, from starting under saddle, retraining unwanted behaviours or training horses to perform in new disciplines. Individuals must demonstrate existing high-level handling and riding skills and experience handling a wide variety of horses, including those with difficult behaviours in-hand and under saddle.

The unit applies to a wide variety of performance disciplines, sports and equine activities and can be customised for any breed or age of horse undergoing behaviour modification. There is a strong focus on conducting, safely and humanely, horse behaviour modification activities within the cognitive and physical limitations of horses.

No occupational licensing or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Work health and safety and animal welfare legislation relevant to interacting with horses applies to workers in this industry. Requirements vary between industry sectors and state/territory jurisdictions. Users are advised to check with the relevant authority for specific requirements.

NOTE: The terms 'occupational health and safety' (OHS) and 'work health and safety' (WHS) generally have the same meaning in the workplace. In jurisdictions where the national model WHS legislation has not been implemented, RTOs must contextualise the unit of competency by referring to current OHS legislative requirements.

Pre-requisite Unit


Unit Sector

Performance Horse (PHR)

Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance Criteria 

Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1.Establish client needs and requirements for individual horses

1.1 Identify the intended outcomes of the starting or training process with the client

1.2 Confirm a timeframe for the starting or training of the horse

1.3 Negotiate a contract and financial arrangements with the owner of the horse

2. Conduct a pre-training assessment of the horse

2.1 Assess the health, condition and temperament of the horse

2.2 Negotiate horse feed, health and management requirements with the client

3. Determine safe work practices relevant to the handling of horses

3.1 Prepare a safe location appropriate for carrying out the intended activities

3.2 Select and use protective clothing and equipment according to safe work and industry practices

3.3 Conduct a risk assessment and safety check on the area and equipment prior to the activity commencing

3.4 Implement strategies to avoid or minimise risks relevant to horses and people

4. Apply a knowledge of equine behaviour to the handling of horses

4.1 Interpret the behaviour of horses undergoing training or handling and adapt actions according to training objectives

4.2 Apply knowledge of equine body language and senses to handling activities to minimise stress to horses and improve safety for handlers

4.3 Identify environmental factors that influence the behaviour of horses and modify program to take these factors into account

4.4 Identify and manage the behavioural signs and physiological effects of stress and the impact on horse responses to training

4.5 Recognise unwanted behaviours relevant to the riding and handling of horses and the contexts in which they may have developed

5. Develop a sequential program to develop obedience in a horse being re-educated

5.1 Assess the current level of training of the horse

5.2 Identify and evaluate unwanted behavioural problems the individual horse may have

5.3 Design a training plan to achieve training outcomes whilst eliminating unwanted responses or behaviours

5.4 Obtain advice from a range of equine professionals relevant to achieving training outcomes and avoiding or deleting unwanted behaviours

5.5 Select training equipment and processes, based on knowledge of their function and purpose, to assist in training the horse

6. Educate horses to riding

6.1 Apply awareness of the current mental and physical parameters of the horse to training activities

6.2 Apply current scientific information of equine cognition, ethology and learning abilities to training activities

6.3 Habituate horses to the tack and equipment required to achieve training outcomes

6.4 Train the horse to exercises or disciplines to achieve nominated training outcomes

6.5 Monitor horse health and nutritional requirements and adjust to match training requirements

6.6 Recognise and respond humanely to signs of fatigue or stress in horses undergoing training

6.7 Anticipate problem behaviours likely to arise from unforeseen or adverse reactions of horses, and implement a humane plan to eliminate or reduce such behaviours

6.8 Monitor, review and adapt the training schedule to meet training objectives

7. Report on the outcomes of the project to the client

7.1 Communicate with the client on the progress of the horse

7.2 Advise the client on the outcome of the training program

7.3 Recommend future management or training strategies to the client

Foundation Skills

This section describes those language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills that are essential for performance in this unit of competency but are not explicit in the performance criteria.




  • Review a variety of texts, including complex or academic information from a variety of sources, to evaluate and use in developing training programs to meet specific horse needs


  • Record details and complete workplace forms and contractual documentation accurately


  • Use mathematical concepts to calculate training fees and costs
  • Calculate and adjust timelines in schedules or plans

Navigate the world of work

  • Take responsibility for complying with regulatory requirements, including work health and safety and animal welfare within own role and area of work
  • Follow safe, ethical and humane horse handling industry practices

Interact with others

  • Work collaboratively and communicate effectively with clients and specialist professionals to plan training programs and evaluate horse performance and progress

Get the work done

  • Plan and sequence strategies for horse training programs; monitoring progress, and adjusting activities to achieve outcomes
  • Analyse problems and risks, devise solutions and reflect on approaches taken

Unit Mapping Information

Code and title current version 

Code and title previous version 


Equivalence status 

ACMPHR408 Educate and train performance horses

Not applicable

New unit

No equivalent unit


Companion Volumes, including Implementation Guides, are available at VETNet: - https://vetnet.education.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=b75f4b23-54c9-4cc9-a5db-d3502d154103


Assessment requirements

Modification History



Release 1

This version released with ACM Animal Care and Management Training Package Version 1.0

Performance Evidence

An individual demonstrating competency must satisfy all the elements and performance criteria of this unit.

There must be evidence that the individual has educated and trained at least two performance horses, including a young horse, and either a horse demonstrating unwanted behaviour or an untrained horse, including:

  • interpreting behavioural responses of horses to training and proactively anticipating likely behavioural responses of horses, including young horses, to training program and the environment under saddle and in-hand
  • handling horses in-hand at a high level of technical proficiency and safety for the relevant discipline
  • riding horses at a high level of technical proficiency and safety for the relevant discipline
  • undertaking health inspections and temperament evaluations
  • developing training programs to deliver humane training outcomes using relevant research findings in equine cognition, ethology and behaviour
  • designing and implementing training techniques, applying knowledge of equine anatomy, physiology and biomechanics
  • developing a sequential training program for individual horses based on horse cognitive capacities and current physical fitness to cope with the demands of the program as it progresses
  • adapting training programs based on the horse behaviour, fitness and health
  • using equipment appropriately and humanely to achieve training outcomes
  • working proactively with veterinarians, farriers and allied health professionals to manage horse health during training program
  • adhering to regulatory requirements and workplace and industry procedures and practices relevant to role and training performance horses, including:
  • animal welfare and prevention of cruelty to animals
  • work health and safety (WHS)
  • biosecurity
  • environment and sustainability.

Knowledge Evidence

An individual must be able to demonstrate the knowledge required to perform the tasks outlined in the elements and performance criteria of this unit. This includes knowledge of:

  • current scientific findings on equine cognition, intelligence, ethology and learning abilities relevant to training horses
  • equine behaviour, including:
  • body language
  • vocalisations
  • affective states, including fear, anxiety, hunger, fatigue
  • behaviour modification techniques
  • services of trainers and specialists with expertise relevant to the training goals, sport or discipline
  • key features of equine anatomy, physiology and biomechanics
  • purpose, function and operation of training equipment
  • specific requirements of the discipline in which the horse is to be trained
  • specific limitations and requirements of young horses undergoing training
  • signs of stress, fatigue, lameness or other health issues, and when the services of a veterinarian, farrier or allied health professional may be required
  • key requirements of work health and safety regulations and guidelines relating to:
  • risk assessment, control and review
  • due diligence for staff and other personnel
  • safe horse handling techniques
  • personal protective equipment (PPE), including use, storage, maintenance and replacement schedules
  • key requirements of biosecurity standards, relevant to horse disease and hygiene standards
  • key requirements of animal welfare standards, policies and procedures relevant to the safe, humane and ethical care and housing of horses
  • key requirements of environmental and sustainability standards, policies and procedures relevant to equine facilities and properties.

Assessment Conditions

Assessment of skills must take place under the following conditions:

  • physical conditions:
  • a workplace or an environment that accurately represents workplace conditions
  • resources, equipment and materials:
  • variety of horses, including young horses, horses demonstrating unwanted behaviour and untrained horses horses used in assessments must have been assessed as suitable for handling by the individual, who must have pre-existing industry or professional experience
  • personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly fitted and applicable to activity for the individual
  • appropriate tack for individual, horse and education and training programs.

Training and assessment strategies must show evidence of the use of guidance provided in the Companion Volume: User Guide: Safety in Equine Training.

Assessors of this unit must satisfy the requirements for assessors in applicable vocational education and training legislation, frameworks and/or standards.

The following specific assessor requirements apply to this unit:

  • a minimum of three years experience to develop a high level of technical proficiency and knowledge of the discipline in which the horse is to be trained.


Companion Volumes, including Implementation Guides, are available at VETNet: - https://vetnet.education.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=b75f4b23-54c9-4cc9-a5db-d3502d154103

Training component details
The following details are displayed for each different NRT:-

Training packages

- Training package details
- Training package components


- Qualification details
- Qualification components

Accredited courses

- Accredited course details


- Module details

Units of competency

- Units of competency details
- Unit components

Skill sets

- Skill set details
- Skill set components

Click on the Export link to export the NRT information to MS Word or PDF.

Click on the Manage notification link to create or change a notification for this NRT.

When selecting the Display history check box a set of tables will appear displaying a log of historical values describing what has changed and when over time.

If you have access to make changes to an NRT, click on the Edit link on the upper right hand side of the summary box.