Module: Equine Breeding and Genetics 1

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Jo Charles
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    150 hours
  • Contact hrs

    35 hours
  • Teaching Period

    Semester 2

Module content

Breeding – Comparison of feral and domestic breeding systems; natural versus artificial mating (artificial insemination); reproductive physiology; the mare’s oestrous cycle, seasonality of the mare and stallion; factors influencing fertility; gestation and parturition.

Genetics – Genetic science in relation to modern horse breeding strategies. Artificial versus natural selection, inheritance of simple (coat colour) and more complex traits (racing performance, behaviour, disease).

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to:

  1.  Understand the scientific and practical aspects of equine reproduction in the stallion and mare
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the relationship between genetic science and the performance and welfare of the horse.
  3. Apply principles of genetics to predict breeding outcomes relating to performance of the inheritance of diseases and disorders.


Assessment Description Weighting
Examination Exam (2 hours) 100%

Key texts

  • Bowling, A.T. and Ruvinsky, A. (eds.) (2000). The Genetics of the Horse. CABI Publishing.
  • Davies Morel, M.C.G. (2005) Breeding horses. Blackwell Publishing.
  • Davies Morel, M.C.G. (2015) Equine reproductive physiology, breeding and stud management. Fourth edition. Wallingford: CABI.
  • Equine Science Update (no date) All about foaling: an equine science update special guide


Supporting texts

  • Binns, M. and Morris, T. (2010). Thoroughbred Breeding: Pedigree Theories and the Science of Genetics. J.A. Allen.
  • Govaere, J., Martens, K. and De Kruif, A. (2010) Foal in Mare: insights inside the foaling mare. [DVD] Universiteit Gent.


  • Equine Veterinary Journal
  • Journal Equine Veterinary Science
  • Journal Equine Veterinary Education