Introduction to Forage – Spring ’24

Apr 8 – Apr 19

5-10 hours per week

Register Now

Welcome to the Introduction to Forage online short course on The Horse Portal! 

The purpose of this course is to help horse owners and caregivers understand the importance of forage for horses and practical advice for selecting, feeding and managing forage. During the course we will learn about: the links between forage and horse health and welfare, main forms of forage, tips for evaluating forage quality, strategies and principles of keeping your pasture healthy, and how you can implement good practices at your own farm. We will also hear from experts in the field (pun intended)

  • Introduction to the course
  • Forms of forage
  • Common forage species
  • Hay and evaluating hay quality
  • Hay storage, feeding and common problems
  • Pasture and evaluating pasture quality
  • Common problems with pastures
  • Addressing Common Problems and other Best Pasture Management Practices
  • Assessment of Current Practices
  • New Research and Course Wrap Up
  • Understand the importance of forage for the health and welfare of horses
  • Describe the main forms of forage (e.g. hay and pasture)
  • Describe identifying features and nutritional differences between the two types of plants commonly used in forages: grasses and legumes
  • Identify plant species that are commonly used in equine forages
  • Explain what factors may affect hay quality and how to evaluate hay quality
  • List best practices for hay feeding and hay storage
  • Explain what factors may affect pasture quality and how to evaluate pasture quality
  • Describe some common problems related to horse pastures
  • Explain how to prevent and/or address common problems related to pastures
  • Assess current management practices and develop strategies to address any issues you have related to forage (e.g. with hay or with pasture management)

Certificate of Completion:

Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Equine Guelph – the horse owner’s Centre at the University of Guelph.

Continuing Education Credits/Professional Development:

Time Commitment

  • Occurs over a 2-week period
  • 5-10 hour time commitment is required during this period
  • No set times to be online each week
  • Recommended you visit the course site at least 5 times a week, preferably once or more each day


  • All materials are provided online within course site
  • (Optional) We highly recommend the textbook Horse Pasture Management (2019), edited by Paul Sharpe, as an additional resource and guide.


  • 16 years of age or older

“An interesting and practical course which will help you improve your pastures and the lives of your horses.”


Student – Introduction to Forage

“[Course Instructor] Dr Paul Sharpe was a wealth of knowledge throughout this course! I strongly recommend this course to any horses owner or to professionals in any aspect of the equine industry as a general refresher course.”


Allison Northey
Equine Supply & Feed Specialist/Hunter-Jumper competitor, Peterborough, ON
Student – Introduction to Forage

Nicole Weidner is a PhD candidate at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. Nicole’s MSc and PhD work have focused on animal nutrition, with a focus on links between nutrition and disease. She has been fortunate enough to be mentored by board certified veterinary and PhD animal nutritionists during her time at the University. Nicole is also interested in education. She has experience as a teaching assistant and guest lecturer with courses offered by the University, and has taken several certificate programs centered around developing an understanding of various educational strategies and approaches.

Eligible Partner Discounts:

Course discounts available to members of the following equine organizations:

Federation Members – 15% Discount

access until May 20, 2024 12:00 am

General Enrollment – Register Today!

access until May 20, 2024 12:00 am