Unit of competency details

ACMPHR505 - Manage fitness in performance horses (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 29/Nov/2017


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 
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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 covers the knowledge and skills required to assess options, design strategies and manage conditioning programs for horses. It includes monitoring horse responses to conditioning and competition schedules, responding to problems, and managing spelling and return-to-work periods.

This unit applies to individuals who have management responsibilities in professional horse businesses, working independently and in conjunction with others within organisational guidelines. They have extensive knowledge of horses in a wide range of situations and may have responsibility for highly valuable animals.

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. Assess the physiological and structural adaptations of the musculoskeletal system of horses to conditioning

1.1 Identify the anatomical and physiological effect of conditioning regimes on adaptations in major body systems of horses

1.2 Assess structural differences in physical appearance and muscling between conditioned and unconditioned horses

1.3 Determine strategies and techniques to use for conditioning horses

2. Assess changes to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems in response to conditioning

2.1 Arrange for blood tests to be taken and analysed for indicators of fitness and response to training, in consultation with veterinary experts

2.2 Use heart rate monitors or stethoscopes, using safe horse handling techniques, to evaluate horse fitness and response to training

2.3 Monitor and record heart rate pre- and post-exercise to determine the impact of exercise and competition, and to track changes in fitness

2.4 Measure and record respiratory rates following exercise to evaluate the impact of exercise and track changes in fitness

2.5 Investigate training and conditioning techniques to improve lung function and gas exchange efficiency, and apply where appropriate

3. Monitor and evaluate physiological outcomes of conditioning and exercise programs

3.1 Determine and document conditioning and fitness goals

3.2 Monitor and adapt program on a regular basis to ensure short- and long-term goals are achieved

3.3 Develop and implement a training and conditioning program to achieve required physiological adaptations

3.4 Identify and manage exercise-related illness and injury

4. Evaluate contribution of feed sources on energy production in exercising horses

4.1 Evaluate nutrient sources for their potential contribution to the energy needs of the horse relative to exercise regime, intensity and duration

4.2 Evaluate nutritional supplements suitable for inclusion in the diet of horses undergoing a fitness program

5. Manage fatigue in horses

5.1 Identify causes of fatigue in exercising horses and develop measures to prevent or manage fatigue during training and competition

5.2 Identify the signs and effects of fatigue, and develop measures to minimise harm to the horse

6. Monitor and manage thermoregulation efficiency in exercising horses

6.1 Develop and implement strategies to prevent over-heating during the training and competition schedule

6.2 Identify the signs of over-heating in horses and take appropriate and rapid measures to provide relief

6.3 Ensure that horses are kept appropriately hydrated during exercise, travel and competition

6.4 Identify the signs of dehydration in horses and take appropriate and rapid measures to provide relief

7. Manage spelling and resumption of work in performance horses

7.1 Incorporate planned periods of rest into the design of training and competition schedules

7.2 Arrange rest or spelling periods to minimise loss of fitness

7.3 Develop and implement strategies to manage the transition from work to spelling

7.4 Monitor the health and welfare of horses being spelled

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.




  • Extract and interpret technical information relating to horse fitness and conditioning in veterinary reports, test results and progress reports


  • Prepare written conditioning programs and specifications for individual horses using clear language, accurate industry terminology and logical structure


  • Interpret health and conditioning data, including trends in heart rate responses and performance against goals or industry norms
  • Measure and calculate ration formulations, and speeds and distances travelled, in horse records

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

  • Select and use appropriate communication protocols and conventions when seeking or sharing information with others

Get the work done

  • Organise and plan sequential programs for multiple horses; monitoring actions against stated goals, and adjusting plans and resources in response to changing conditions

Unit Mapping Information

Code and title current version 

Code and title previous version 


Equivalence status 

ACMPHR505 Manage fitness in performance horses

Not applicable

New unit

No equivalent unit


Companion Volumes, including Implementation Guides, are available at VETNet: - https://vetnet.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 in this unit must satisfy all of the elements and performance criteria of this unit.

There must be evidence that the individual has managed the fitness and conditioning programs for a workplace, including at least two horses requiring different conditioning requirements, including:

  • handling horses safely and fitting appropriate equipment and tack, including heart rate monitors or stethoscopes
  • developing and adapting a sequential conditioning program to achieve nominated exercise or competition goals for the horse
  • taking and recording vital signs and other relevant health and welfare indicators
  • measuring and evaluating the physical condition of the horse to assess adaptation to conditioning program
  • administering medications and nutraceuticals including but not limited to oral electrolyte drenches
  • recording, monitoring, and managing health issues related to exercise, including soft tissue injuries, fatigue, overheating, dehydration
  • complying with regulatory requirements and workplace and industry procedures and practices relevant to role and managing fitness in performance horses, including:
  • animal welfare and prevention of cruelty to animals
  • work health and safety.

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:

  • key features of anatomy and physiology of horse body systems
  • key features of exercise physiology, including adaptations of horse body systems to exercise
  • equine body condition scoring systems
  • basic principles of chemistry relating to performance fitness
  • basic principles of biology relating to performance fitness
  • normal and abnormal blood test parameters relevant to exercise
  • equipment relevant for implementing a conditioning program, including:
  • heart rate monitors
  • tack and protective equipment
  • performance horse conditioning techniques and methods
  • common horse health problems and injuries related to exercise
  • risk factors for the development of exercise-related injuries and disease
  • features of thermoregulation
  • feed, supplements and nutraceuticals relevant to maintaining the health and welfare of exercising horses
  • sites and mechanisms of feed digestion
  • key requirements of work health and safety regulations and guidelines relating to:
  • risk assessment, control and review
  • safe horse handling techniques
  • personal protective equipment
  • key requirements of animal welfare standards, policies and procedures relevant to the safe, humane and ethical care of horses.

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:
  • various live horses assessed as suitable for the experience and skill of the individual
  • materials and information about horse conditioning programs, or technology to access the information
  • appropriate tack for individual, horse and conditioning activity
  • personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly fitted and applicable to activity for the individual

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.


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