Unit of competency details

RGRPSH401A - Relate anatomical and physiological features to the care and treatment of horses (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 24/Sep/2008

Usage recommendation:
Supersedes RGRH311A - Apply principles of basic anatomy and physiology to horsesRevised unit with additional elements and aligned to AQF4 with partial equivalence to RGRH311A. 23/Sep/2008

Training packages that include this unit

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
SIS40612 - Certificate IV in Sport DevelopmentCertificate IV in Sport Development 1-3 
SIS40610 - Certificate IV in Sport DevelopmentCertificate IV in Sport Development 1-2 
SIS40310 - Certificate IV in Outdoor RecreationCertificate IV in Outdoor Recreation 1-2 
SIS30713 - Certificate III in Sport CoachingCertificate III in Sport Coaching 1-2 
SIS30712 - Certificate III in Sport CoachingCertificate III in Sport Coaching 
SIS30710 - Certificate III in Sport CoachingCertificate III in Sport Coaching 1-2 
SIS30613 - Certificate III in Sport Career Oriented ParticipationCertificate III in Sport Career Oriented Participation 1-2 
SIS30612 - Certificate III in Sport Career Oriented ParticipationCertificate III in Sport Career Oriented Participation 
SIS30610 - Certificate III in Sport Career Oriented ParticipationCertificate III in Sport Career Oriented Participation 1-2 
RGR50108 - Diploma of Racing (Racehorse Trainer)Diploma of Racing (Racehorse Trainer) 1-2 
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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  24/Sep/2008 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit of competency specifies the outcomes required to identify basic anatomy and physiology of horses, relate anatomy and body systems to the performance of racehorses, and follow illness and injury management plans for racehorses.

This unit also requires the practical care and management of harness or thoroughbred racehorses and application of OHS standards in the workplace.

This unit of competency operates in workplace environments of racing stables, paddocks, yards, racecourses and public areas.

Licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements may apply to this unit, check with your State Principal Racing Authority for current license or registration requirements.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit of competency supports trainers and others authorised to relate anatomical and physiological features to the care and treatment of horses.

Competencies attained in this unit apply to the harness and thoroughbred codes of the industry. Consequently when performance criteria are applied they will relate to the harness or thoroughbred code and statements of attainment will reflect this distinction.

This unit can be contextualised for other industries while also maintaining the integrity of the unit.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Refer to Unit Descriptor


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

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.

Elements and Performance Criteria



Identify basic anatomy and physiology of horses.

1. Key features and functions of skeletal system  and muscular system  are identified.

2. Key features and functions of respiratory system  are identified.

3. Key features and functions of circulatory system  are identified.

4. Key features and functions of digestive system  are identified.

5. Key features and functions of reproductive system  are identified.

Relate anatomy and body systems to performance of racehorses.

6. Common illnesses and injuries  of skeletal and muscular system of racehorses are identified.

7. Common illnesses and injuries of respiratory system of racehorses are identified.

8. Common illnesses and injuries of circulatory system of racehorses are described.

9. Common illnesses and injuries of digestive system of racehorses are described.

Follow illness and injury management plans.

10. Healing processes  following illness or injury are recognised.

11. Impact of medications  on body systems is understood.

12. Impact of therapies  is understood.

13. Care and treatment of injured or sick horse are provided according to directions  and animal welfare principles.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • adhering to responsibilities under OHS legislation and workplace practices
  • adhering to responsibilities under national and state codes of practice; federal, state and territory legislation; and local government regulations covering animal welfare
  • administering or supervising administration of prescribed medication
  • applying safe handling and work practices when caring for and treating horses
  • assessing and responding to illnesses or injuries in horses
  • caring for and treating horses
  • communicating with stable staff, horse health specialists and others using assertive communication techniques to gather and relay information related to relating anatomical and physiological features of horses to their care and treatment
  • evaluating risks associated with catching and handling horses
  • giving and receiving instructions
  • identifying and correctly using different therapies or medications
  • identifying features and functions of body systems
  • identifying common illnesses and injuries
  • reading and interpreting workplace documentation, including relevant rules of racing and material safety data sheets
  • relating to people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with varying physical and mental abilities
  • using or supervising use of technology related to therapy.

Required knowledge 

  • communication procedures within stable and wider racing industry
  • common horse behaviour, social traits and vices
  • common illnesses and injuries in horses
  • handling and restraining techniques for horses
  • impact of medications or therapies
  • industry terminology related to caring for and treating racehorses
  • key features and functions of horses' body systems
  • prohibited substances
  • racing industry animal welfare requirements
  • racing industry safety requirements, including safe operating procedures
  • relevant rules of racing
  • signs and symptoms of illnesses and injuries
  • types of medications and therapies.

Evidence Guide


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.

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

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit and include evidence of the following:

  • knowledge of key features and functions of the skeletal, muscular, respiratory, circulatory, digestive and reproductive systems of horses
  • knowledge of common illnesses and injuries of the skeletal, muscular and respiratory systems of horses
  • implementation of procedures and timely techniques to relate anatomical and physiological features to the care and treatment of horses that meet required outcomes
  • working with others to undertake and complete care and treatment tasks that meet required outcomes.

Evidence should be collected over a period of time using a range of racehorses of different ages and sexes, and at different stages of preparation in racing stable and track environments.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Competency must be assessed in a racing workplace that provides access to the required resources or simulated environment approved by the relevant State Principal Racing Authority. Assessment is to occur under standard and authorised work practices, safety requirements and environmental constraints. It is to comply with relevant regulatory requirements or Australian Standards requirements.

Assessment of the practical components of this unit will be by observation of relevant skills.

The following resources must be available:

  • a variety of harness or thoroughbred horses
  • materials and equipment relevant to assessing candidate's ability to relate anatomical and physiological features to the care and treatment of horses
  • safe handling areas, such as racing stables, yards, and training and racetracks
  • work instructions and related documentation.

Method of assessment 

Assessment methods must satisfy the endorsed Assessment Guidelines of the Racing Training Package.

The suggested strategies for the assessment of this unit are:

  • written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge
  • observed, documented and firsthand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks
  • simulation exercises conducted in a State Principal Racing Authority approved simulated environment.

Evidence is required to be demonstrated over a period of time, therefore where performance is not directly observed any evidence should be authenticated by supervisors or other appropriate persons.

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

  • RGRPSH408A Manage horse health and welfare.

Guidance information for assessment 

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).

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 in the performance criteria is detailed below.

The range statement provides details of how this competency can be used in the workplaces of the racing industry to relate anatomical and physiological features to the care and treatment of horses. Workplaces include harness and thoroughbred stables and racecourses, training tracks and public areas.

Components of skeletal  and muscular systems  will include:

  • bones
  • joints
  • ligaments
  • muscles
  • tendons.

Components of respiratory system  will include:

  • alveolus
  • diaphragm
  • larynx
  • lungs
  • nostrils
  • pharynx
  • trachea.

Components of circulatory system  will include:

  • arteries
  • blood cells
  • heart
  • lungs
  • veins.

Components of digestive system  will include:

  • caecum
  • diaphragm
  • intestines
  • kidneys
  • mouth
  • oesophagus
  • pharynx
  • stomach.

Components of reproductive system  will include:

  • endocrine glands
  • male and female genital organs
  • oestrous cycle
  • pregnancy and foaling.

Common illnesses and injuries  may include:

  • skeletal and muscular systems, including:
  • bone chips
  • bone spavin
  • bowed tendon
  • navicular disease
  • sesamoiditis
  • shin soreness
  • splints
  • stifle joint lameness
  • suspensory ligament injury
  • tendonitis
  • respiratory system, including:
  • air passage inflammation
  • equine influenza
  • heaves
  • pneumonia
  • roaring
  • strangles
  • circulatory system, including:
  • cardiac abnormalities
  • epistaxis
  • myocardial disease
  • digestive system, including:
  • botulism
  • colic
  • colitis x
  • dysphagia
  • enteritis
  • hepatitis.

Healing processes  may include:

  • blood vessels
  • cartilage and bone
  • connective tissue
  • muscle tissue
  • nerves
  • skin and mucosal membrane.

Medications  may include:

  • anabolic steroids
  • antibiotics
  • anti-inflammatories
  • bronchodilators
  • hormones
  • injections:
  • intra-articular
  • intramuscular
  • intravenous
  • subcutaneous
  • muscle relaxants
  • poultices
  • sedatives
  • vasodilators
  • vitamins.

Therapies  may include:

  • acupuncture
  • bandaging
  • chiropractic
  • counter irritation
  • electromagnetic
  • exercise, for example walking or swimming
  • hydrotherapy
  • ice and heat
  • immobilisation
  • laser
  • magnetic
  • massage
  • pharmaceutical
  • rest
  • ultrasound.

Directions  related to care and treatment of racehorses will include:

  • adhering to rules of racing in administration of treatments
  • adhering to medication material safety data sheet directions
  • administering prescribed treatments
  • advice from veterinary surgeons, farriers or other horse health specialists.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit Sector 

Harness and thoroughbred racing codes

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Functional Area

Functional Area 

Racing performance services

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