Veterinary Assistant with Horse Care Management

Do you love animals — horses in particular? Have you considered a career as a veterinary assistant, stable manager, or horse caretaker? If so, this course sequence teaches you the skills you need to work directly with horses. Whether you're interested in joining a stable, equestrian center, or veterinary facility that works with large animals, having a fundamental knowledge of horse caretaking and veterinary science is essential. The Veterinary Assistant with Horse Care Management sequence...

18 Months / 625 Course Hrs
Open Enrollment
Externship offered
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

George Mason University

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Veterinary Assistant with Horse Care Management

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Course code: GES191

What you will learn

  • Basic principles of equine husbandry practices.
  • A broad knowledge of horse care for both the stabled horse and horse kept on grass.
  • Proper management of the health and condition of horses in various situations and conditions.
  • A deeper understanding of horse behavior as well as practical skills in properly handling and training horses.
  • A practical knowledge of various aspects of horse breeding, as well as the importance of genetics and selective breeding.
  • The anatomy and physiology of the major organ systems.
  • How to handle medical records and communicate with clients and coworkers.
  • How to restrain animals for procedures, take vital signs, and bathe them.
  • All about nutrition, vaccinations, and administering medication.
  • How to assist during surgery and dental procedures.
  • Preparation of prescriptions and taking blood samples and radiographs.

How you will benefit

  • A comprehensive understanding of horse care, horse management, and husbandry is key to starting a career in the horse industry.
  • Cultivating a broad knowledge of horses will increase your level of success as a wrangler or horse caretaker
  • Holding a certificate of completion increases your competitiveness in the horse industry job market.
  • Upon passing this course, you will have the knowledge to be a valued team member in a veterinary hospital.
  • For the Veterinary Assistant portion of the course you will have assistance from our Externship Coordinator and access to our Externship Starter Kit.

How the course is taught

  • Self-paced, online course
  • 18 Months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 625 course hours
  1. Veterinary Assistant
    1. Getting Started file
    2. Welcome to the Veterinary Hospital file
    3. Getting Ready for Your First Visit file
    4. Physiology and Anatomy 1: Directional Signs and the Skeletal System file
    5. Physiology and Anatomy 2: The Nervous System, Endocrine System, and Muscles and Joints file
    6. Physiology and Anatomy 3: The Circulatory and Respiratory Systems file
    7. Physiology and Anatomy 4: The Digestive System, Urogenital System, Liver, and Spleen file
    8. Front Office Duties: Records, Confidentiality, and Client Relations file
    9. More Front Office Tips, and Determining Age and Gender of Kittens and Puppies file
    10. Canine Restraint file
    11. Feline and Exotic Restraint file
    12. The Physical Examination: Procedures, Restraint, and Vital Signs file
    13. Everyday Procedures for the Veterinary Assistant file
    14. Workplace Hazards and Infection Control file
    15. The Reproductive Cycle and Sterilization Procedures file
    16. Vaccinology file
    17. Nutrition Basics and Prescription Foods file
    18. Prescriptions: Preparing and Calculating Doses file
    19. Prescriptions: Types of Medications and What They Do file
    20. Giving Medications file
    21. The Euthanasia Process file
    22. Taking Blood Samples file
    23. Interpreting Blood Tests and Handling Blood file
    24. Urine Collection, Handling, and Interpretation file
    25. Tests: Serology, Scrapings, Smears, Flotations, and Necropsies file
    26. Radiographs and Personal Safety file
    27. Radiographic Positioning file
    28. Pain Recognition and Emergency Care file
    29. Dentistry: Charting, Tooth Disease, and Dental Care file
    30. External Parasites: Fleas, Ticks, Mites, and More file
    31. Parasites of the Gastrointestinal Tract and Heart file
    32. Poisonings in Pets file
    33. Surgery 1: Preparing the Patient file
    34. Surgery 2: Your Role During and After file
    35. Understanding Animal Behavior file
    36. The Job Search and Future Opportunities file
  2. Horse Care Management
    1. Horse Care I: Equine Husbandry Basics
      1. Domestication/Development of the Horse
      2. Form to Function
      3. Definitions of Movement
      4. Teeth and Age Determination
      5. Feet & Hoof Care
      6. Horsemanship and Equitation
      7. G. Basic Handling of Horses
    2. Horse Care II: Equine Herd Health Management
      1. Review of Disease
      2. Normal Health Parameters & Signs of Disease
      3. Common Infectious Diseases
      4. Parasite Management
      5. Digestive System Disorders
      6. Miscellaneous Diseases
      7. Wound Management and First Aid
    3. Horse Management III: Equine Nutrition
      1. Review of the Horse's Digestive Anatomy & Physiology
      2. Review of the Basic Nutrients
      3. Animal Factors Affecting Nutrition
      4. Feed Factors Affecting Nutrition
      5. Feeding Factors Affecting Nutrition
      6. Feed-Induced Diseases
    4. Horse Training Principles (Option 1)
      1. Introduction to Equine Behavior
      2. Patterns of General Behavior
      3. Social Behavior
      4. Intelligence/Factors Affecting Learning
      5. Foundations in Horsemanship
      6. Principles of Training
    5. Horse Breeding (Option 2)
      1. Basic Principles in Selective Breeding
      2. Reproductive Physiology of the Mare
      3. Reproductive Physiology of the Stallion
      4. Breeding Management of the Mare
      5. Breeding Management of the Stallion
      6. Management of Pregnancy & Parturition
      7. Reproductive Failure
      8. Principles of Artificial Insemination & Embryo Transfer

Jeff Grognet

Jeff Grognet has been a companion animal veterinarian for 25 years. He was a pioneer in the field of veterinary assistant teaching, developing his first course more than 18 years ago. Due to the success of his veterinary receptionist/assistant courses, he expanded his teaching into other high-demand areas including pet first aid and alternative medical therapies for companion animals. He practices at a veterinary hospital and contributes regularly to several magazines.

Meg Anema

Meg Anema holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Animal Science and Agricultural Economics from New Mexico State University and a Master of Science degree in Equine Reproductive Physiology from Colorado State University. Anema, a certified Career and Technical Education instructor, has taught courses in Equine Science, Animal Science, and Veterinary Science for over 10 years. She grew up training horses and has years of experience as a breeding farm manager, equine A.I. technician, and equine events coordinator.

Instructor Interaction: The instructor looks forward to interacting with learners in the online moderated discussion area to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have on the course content.


There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • All applications listed above must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment. The following textbooks will be shipped to you approximately 7-10 business days after enrollment:

  • Tasks for the Veterinary Assistant, by Paula Pattengale

Please Note: You will receive a digital book if the physical book is on backorder.

The number one job of a veterinary assistant is to assist the veterinarian and veterinarian technicians with basic tasks. As a veterinary assistant, you may feed, weigh and take the temperature of various animals. You may also help give medication, clean cages, and provide nursing care for animals when they have surgery or other medical procedures. You may also bathe and exercise animals as needed and help restrain them during treatment. As a veterinary assistant, it is also your responsibility to clean and sterilize equipment and exam rooms. Some veterinary assistants even perform clerical work such as scheduling appointments and speaking with customers as well. The duties vary widely, but all are important to ensuring the health and well-being of animals inside the veterinary practice.

The typical career path for a veterinary assistant involves earning a high school diploma or GED, enrolling in a certificate course, learning the specifics of the job, and gaining skills that will help you in your new role. After earning a certificate of completion, you will be prepared to begin work as a veterinary assistant.

According to, the average salary for veterinary assistants is $31,904, with those who have more than 10 years of experience earning over $37,000.

While the people in both these jobs may work in the same location (and potentially with the same animals), they perform very different roles. Veterinary assistants most likely have received training through a certificate program and training on the job by veterinary technicians to help with basic duties like setting up equipment and cleaning areas of the clinic like surgery sites. Veterinary technicians, or vet techs, have a formal education—likely a two- or four-year degree accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. They are also required to pass a licensing exam in most states. In short, veterinary technicians can perform more advanced clinical tasks under a veterinarian's supervision to help treat animals.

No, you do not need to obtain certification to work as a veterinary assistant. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there is no required credentialing exam for veterinary assistants.

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America has a certification course that began in 2012. Currently, this requires attending a college that also has a veterinary technician certification course. Once NAVTA creates a way for online courses to lead to certification, we will be exploring this avenue.

Upon completion of this course you will receive a certificate in Horse Care Management and Veterinary Assistant.

Yes, ed2go courses are completely online. However, keep in mind that not all certifying bodies or industry-specific certifications are recognized internationally. Please review your country's regulations prior to enrolling in courses that prepare for certification.

This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

All of our courses are self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start them when you want and finish them at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive eighteen (18) months to complete the course.

The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

The course instructor will be available by email to answer any questions and provide feedback on your performance. Occasionally, your course may be supported by a team of industry experts. You will also receive support from the student advising team.

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.

This course will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.

This course is non-credit, so it does not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses. Additionally, some students may qualify for financial assistance when they enroll, if they meet certain requirements. Financing is available from select schools. Learn more about financial assistance.

If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.