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Keeping the Hindgut and the Horse Healthy

  • Photo: 
    Gisle Bjørneby

NOVA PhD course of 5 ECTS, organised by Postdoc Rasmus Bovbjerg Jensen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. 
Course dates and location: 25-30 Aug. 2019, in Hafjell/Ås, Norway.

Course Description
In-depth course focusing on nutrition and its impact on hindgut function and health of horses. The course will provide PhD students with the theoretical background for understanding the importance of the horse hindgut in health and disease. The course will focus on the challenges and possibilities when feeding horses in relation to maintaining hindgut health and performance.

The course will include a mix of lectures given by teachers as well as students presenting their own projects or related topics. Field trip to research facilities at NMBU with demonstrations, and a workshop with stakeholders in the horse industry (feed industry, riders/trainers, veterinarians and researchers) where the students should apply their knowledge into practise/innovation. The teachers will be world leading experts within equine nutrition in relation to hindgut health and performance, and the students will visit the unique research facilities and the cannulated horses at NMBU in Ås.

Programme Outline

  • Sunday: Arrival Hafjell, welcome dinner
  • Monday: In-depth understanding of the gastrointestinal tract of the horse, diet effects on nutrient digestion and utilization
  • Tuesday: The microbial environment of the hindgut in relation to health and disease, techniques for studying diet effects on hindgut health
  • Wednesday: Diet and performance - challenges and possibilities when feeding high fibre diets
  • Thursday: Ås, NMBU Research farm, practical demonstrations of advanced techniques for studying the effect of diet on hindgut health in horses.
  • Friday: Future feeding for health and performance, workshop with stakeholders in the horse industry: feed companies, riders/trainers, veterinarians and researchers, evaluation and goodbye

Pre-/Post-Campus Assignments
A written report must be handed in after the course.

Learning Outcomes
After the course, the students will have an in-depth knowledge on the effect of diet on the hindgut in relation to health and disease. Students will also gain knowledge about the possibilities and limitations with different methods used in hindgut research.

The students will have the skills to redefine existing knowledge and they will be able to evaluate possibilities, limitations and consequences when feeding horses diets that challenge hindgut health. 

The students will have competence so that they can solve real-life problems related to nutrition of horses, they will be able to implement knowledge into practice and innovation and communicate their knowledge to various stakeholders in the horse industry.

Evaluation Elements
It is expected that the students are familiar with literature provided before the course and participate actively in group work, demonstrations and the workshop. The students are evaluated based on their presentation during the course week, and they need to hand in a written report after the course.

Pedagogical Approach
Teaching will be a mix of lectures including group work, demonstrations with hands-on experiences and workshops involving problem-based learning.

Estimated Workload

  • 20 hours seminar
  • 20 hours lecture
  • 110 hours independent work

Prerequisite Knowledge
Background in animal or veterinary science.

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.

Apply here


There is no course fee. Cost for accommodation, meals:  2,000 NOK for NOVA/BOVA students and 4,000 NOK for non-NOVA/BOVA students. Participants from the industry can participate, but students are prioritised: 9,000 NOK. Accommodation will be in double rooms, but single rooms can be arranged for 1,000 NOK extra. Travel costs to Norway are not included. Semester registration fee for participants who are not registered students at a NOVA/BOVA member institution or at any of NMBU's other partner institutions: approximately 500 NOK.


Published 11. January 2019 - 14:45 - Updated 1. August 2019 - 10:28