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Horse Selection and Evaluation

Topics: Uses, Breeds, Identification, Unsoundness and Blemishes, Conformation Evaluation, Preparing to Purchase a Horse, Horse Ownership

Course Contact: Dr. Christine Skelly

The Horse Selection and Evaluation course is based on the knowledge of equine experts at Michigan State University and nationally recognized equine professionals. In this course, you will discover a wealth of resources for learning about many factors that contribute to sound decisions when selecting a horse for a specific use. Horse ownership can be a rewarding experience, and selecting the right horse is the first step! For questions regarding this course, please contact Dr. Christine Skelly at

Course Overview

You will learn about many aspects of horse selection, including breeds, uses, identification, conformation, unsoundness and blemishes, key factors to remember when purchasing a horse, and the responsibilities of horse ownership.
More specifically, you will learn about:

  • Horse uses, from dressage to rodeo 

  • Horse breeds and their common uses 

  • Identifying a horse based on color, markings and teeth 

  • The components of conformation, including skeletal structure, balance, muscling, quality and movement as it applies to various breeds and performance disciplines

  • Common unsoundness and blemish problems that may affect the performance of a horse

  • How to evaluate a horse for purchase

  • Common horse-related expenses


Each unit consists of an overview, informative topics including pictures and short video clips, plus optional activities. It is estimated to take 8 to 10 hours to complete the course.

Course Format




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Registration Instructions

To register for this course you will need to create an account, sign in with your email/password, and complete the registration process. To watch a video tutorial, demonstrating an overview of the registration process, click on the following link: Online Course Registration Video Tutorial. Step-by-step instructions are below.


  1. Create your MSU Guest Account and PasswordCreate Your Account

  2. Login to the registration system with your Guest Account (your email) and Password: Horse Selection and Evaluation.

  3. Follow the instructions to register for the course. Upon registration, you will receive a receipt and instructions for accessing the course.

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Technical Assistance  

If you have any technical problems, please contact the Michigan State University IT Service Desk from 7am-12am Monday through Friday and 10am-12am on Saturday/Sunday, any day that the University is open.  

  • Phone: (517) 432-6200 

  • Phone (toll free): 1 (844) 678-6200 

  • Chat 

  • Email Web Form 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is my username/NETID? 
Your username (or NET ID) is the email address you used to create your account during registration (you use the same email address/password for registering and for taking the course). 


What URL do I go to for logging into the course? 
Go to: You will see the Michigan State University at the top of the page. Login with the email address and password you set during the registration process. 


I received a “not authenticated” response when trying to login – what do I do? 
A “not authenticated” message is typically an issue with a password not being entered correctly. 


I forgot my password – where can I reset it? 
If you need to reset your password at any time go to and select the option for "Need help Signing in." 

Course Overview Video

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