The Horse: A Unit Study

The Horse: A Unit Study

Does your child have a sudden fascination with horses?  Ready to use this interest to spur investigation, exploration, and creativity, while developing his skills? Remember, the one doing the research learns the most — so, as much as possible, leave the researching to your child!

The Horse: A Unit Study

They have carried armored knights, and saddle-less native Americans. They have pulled chariots and elegant coaches. They have carried Pony Express riders and munitions. They have been used as cabs in the cities and plow horses in the country; for waging military campaigns and leading parades.

These versatile animals have been used by man throughout history in a relationship that continues today, in uses more inclined to recreation and sport than war.


Further Investigation

Basic Horse Terminology
Vocabulary for the beginner at

Glossary of Horse Terminology

Practical Horse Psychology
Don’t let the word “psychology” throw you.  This 10-page download from the West Virginia University extension teaches the basics of horse behavior, what makes horses act like they do, and what their body language means.  A nice worksheet with answers is included at the end.

4-H Horse Project Manual: Parts of the Horse
This download at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is extensive in scope!  Many of the illustrations would work well for a horse notebook.

Horse Body Parts
Diagram for learning the basics.

Horse Gaits
The four natural gaits of a horse and what they look like at

Colors and Markings
Dun, roan, bay, and others also at

Horse Grooming
Tools and basic instructions at

External Parts of the Horse Hoof
Everything you need to know.



Interactive Horse
Learn the parts of a horse in this interactive encyclopedia from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.  (The rather annoying music can be turned off….)

4-H Horseless Project Member Handbook
Created specifically for those who do not own or have access to a horse, this 26-page download at the University of Minnesota extension covers the parts of a horse, types of horses, coat colors, markings, gaits, horse care, equipment, styles of riding, and tips for finding a horse of your own.  Several of the pages showing diagrams would be perfect for a notebook.

4-H Horse Project Manual
On the other hand, if you own or have access to a horse, you may prefer this manual at Oregon State University covering all of the basics of riding, and caring for your horse.  There are many illustrations that will be helpful to anyone interested in horses.

Martingale and Breastplate Quiz
Test your bridle knowledge.

How to Draw Horses
Wonderful video from Jan Brett.

Horse Height Conversion
From hands to feet and inches, or vice versa at



Album of Horses by Marguerite Henry ~ ReviewAlbum of Horses by Marguerite Henry
Beautifully illustrated reference by beloved author. This book provides a wonderful place to start in learning about the different breeds of horses.
The Horse: A Unit StudyWonderful Art of Drawing Horses by Barry Stebbing
“One learns to draw horses. Just like everything else in life it takes time, practice, understanding, and determination.” 81 lessons that include learning to draw facial features, anatomy, markings, and horses in various forms of movement; along with flip-books, journals, examinations, and art appreciation. From How Great Thou Art Publications.

The Horse: A Unit StudyBilly and Blaze by C.W. Anderson
First book in a classic easy-to-read series about a boy and his horse.

The Horse: A Unit StudyFive True Horse Stories by Margaret Davidson
Also for young readers, these true stories cover:

  • Justin Morgan’s horse, the first Morgan horse.
  • Pacing White Mustang, a horse no one could catch.
  • Misty of Chincoteague.
  • Clever Hans, a horse who could read people’s minds.
  • Brighty, a Grand Canyon donkey.

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
Classic Newbery Honor book from beloved author about Pony Penning Day on the island of Chincoteague and the wild ponies brought into captivity.

The Horse: A Unit StudyJustin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry
Another Newbery Honor book from the same author. The story of the small horse who became the father of the Morgan horse. Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse by Anna Sewell
Written in the late 1800s, this classic has certainly withstood the test of time. Young and old will be captivated as they follow Black Beauty, from pleasant meadows, through difficulties and hard life, and on into retirement. Available as an original and unabridged free download or in the Young Folks’ Edition.

Margaret Henry Stable of Classics
Complete 8-book set!

The Horse: A Unit StudyThe Black Stallion by Walter Farley
Classic story of a wild Arabian stallion and the boy who adopts him.

Frog, The Horse That Knew No Master {Free eBook}Frog, The Horse That Knew No Master {Free eBook}
Great story for horse lovers of all ages!



Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Free Nature Studies: HorsesThe Horse: A Unit Study
Part of our free nature studies covering the horse.

7-page Boy Scout Merit Badge workbook, but can be completed by anyone with a horse interest.

Puzzling Horse Parts!
17-page download from the Virginia Cooperative Extension for younger students  who will cut out and assemble a horse while learning the common names and parts.

“Creating a Lapbook About Horses”
An article by Katie Kubesh, from In the Hands of A Child, that originally appeared in the Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  This how-to covers scientific classification, anatomy, diet, life cycle, horse senses, gaits, size, breeds, use and care.  You’ll also find a recommended reading list to round out the study.

The Horse: A Unit StudyHistory of the Horse by Hilary Severson 
If you are looking for something even more formal, perhaps at a bit higher level, you might enjoy this study guide from Beautiful Feet Books.  Using great literature as a base and incorporating many ideas from the Principle Approach to homeschooling, History of the Horse is written for the 3rd-7th grade levels and covers horse anatomy, breed identification, basic sketching of horses, charting bloodlines, Bible memory verses regarding the horse, and other activities in 92 lessons.  The study guide includes thought-provoking discussion questions, map work, and notebooking instructions.  Highly recommended.


Printables & Notebooking Pages

Parts of a Horse
Excellent diagram download from Oregon State University Extension.

Colors and Markings Reference Chart
Printable for notebook from the American Quarter Horse Association.

Anatomy of the Horse Hoof
Printable for notebook at the University of Missouri Extension.

Skeleton of a Horse Notebooking Page
Diagram for notebook.

Horse Color Chart
Identification chart that can be included in a notebook (scroll down).

Western Saddle
Diagram for notebook.