Diploma of Higher Education Equine Behaviour

Writtle University College
United Kingdom
Study mode
Full-time, Part-time
2 years
Tuition fee (local)
Information not available
Tuition fee (foreign)
USD 28,248

Entry Requirements

  • UCAS Tariff Points: 180 - 240
  • GCE A Levels: 180 UCAS tariff points, to include one GCE A level grade C or above
  • Irish Certificate: 180 UCAS tariff points, to include 2 x ILC higher at B1
  • Scottish Highers: 180 UCAS tariff points, to include 2 x higher at B
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MPP (160) in combination with other qualifications (180)
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma: MM (160) in combination with other qualifications (180)
  • C & G Level 3 Extended Diploma: Pass (120) in combination with other qualifications (180)
  • C & G Level 3 Diploma: Merit (160) in combination with other qualifications (180)

English language requirements
If you do not have English as a first language, you will normally be required to demonstrate an IELTS overall score (or equivalent) of:

  • 5.5 with a minimum of 5.0 in all elements for a Further Education course
  • 5.5 with a minimum of 5.0 in all elements for a Foundation degree, Higher Certificate or Higher Diploma
  • 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all elements for a degree
  • 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all elements for a postgraduate degree

If you have lower scores, you may be accepted onto a Pre-sessional English Language course, which can lead to entry to the appropriate programme of study.



  • ​Essential Skills for the Equine Industry - This module will allow the student to develop practical skills in the care, management and use of horses, which will underpin future employment in a range of roles within the equine industry. Within the module are opportunities for the student to advance their knowledge in subjects particular to their programme of study from breeding or behaviour to therapy or coaching. The vocational skills that students achieve are aligned with professional qualifications such as those offered by the British Horse Society, Association of British Riding Schools and the Pony Club. For the riding element of the module the first half of the semester will cover the requirements of the BHS Stage One syllabus. The second half of the semester will focus on developing and consolidating these elements and begin to move onto the BHS Stage Two syllabus. In addition, students will develop and improve their transferable skills by undertaking academic exercises related to the equine sector and which integrate practical and scientific theory. Throughout the module students are encouraged to reflect on their abilities and are given support to plan how to acquire competency in the skills they will need throughout their course and in order to be successful within their chosen sector.
  • Professional Skills for the Equine Industry - This module will enable the student to enhance the practical skills required for working with horses in the equine industry, alongside essential analytical, learning and communication skills. These will be developed in a suitable vocational context with emphasis on the key-features of the para-professional sector. The vocational competencies are aligned with professional qualifications, such as those offered by the British Horse Society, Association of British Riding Schools and the Pony Club. For the riding element of the module the first half of the semester will cover the requirements of the BHS Stage Two syllabus for riding on the flat. The second half of the semester will focus on developing and consolidating these elements and begin to move onto the BHS Stage Two syllabus for jumping. There will be opportunities to tailor elements of the module to particular programmes of study or specific interests while simultaneously developing a host of essential transferable skills. Integrating scientific theory and practice is an essential aspect of study at degree level and a vital skill to posess regardless of the area of the sector the student plans to work in.
  • Equine Anatomy and Physiology - This module is designed to develop students' understanding of the relationship between form and function in the horse. Taught in the first semester of the first year, this module will introduce students to the anatomical structure and physiological functions of all the major body systems, laying the foundations for future modules in health, nutrition and functional anatomy. The module will make use of theory based lecture sessions and lab-based dissections to enable students to achieve a greater understanding of anatomy and physiology.
  • Equine Nutrition and Parasitology - This module is designed to develop students' knowledge and understanding of the biochemical basis of equine nutrition. The structure of carbohydrates, proteins and fats is studied in the context of digestive physiology, energy provision and equine metabolism. Scientific principles are then applied to the practice of ration formulation used in feeding different types of horses. This module also develops an understanding of parasitology and microbiology in the context of equine health and performance.
  • Introduction to Psychology and Welfare - In this module students will be introduced to fundamental concepts in equine behaviour, from evolution to domestication, exploring what drives equine behaviour. Students will appraise the role of the horse in human society, examining the effect of various management systems on the behaviour and welfare of the horse, and recognising the consequences of domestication. Students will practise the correct identification of the body language integral to the horse’s behavioural repertoire, categorising and defining when and why we are likely to observe these behaviours in both natural and domestic settings. Students will be taught to differentiate between behaviours caused through pain and fear rather than disobedience, in a range of situations exploring handling, ridden, social and other problems involving horse-human and horse-horse interactions. Students will learn how to take case histories and create note taking systems, developing appropriate techniques for interviewing clients to extract the information needed to develop hypotheses of the causation of individual behaviour problems. This is a fundamental step for any behaviour consultant to identify the necessary information needed to further develop rehabilitation programs. This module involves the delivery of content that allows assessment of the following SEBC modules: 1. Case History and Procedure, 2. Key Signs in Equine Body Language.


  • Equine Pathophysiology - This module builds on knowledge gained in the first year in anatomy and physiology as well as practical equine management. It is designed to link theory with practical application for managers of large equine establishments of all kinds and those with responsibility for international equine performers. It includes analysis of the causes, prevention and control of infectious and non-infectious diseases.
  • Research Methods (EQ) - The module is designed to develop the knowledge, understanding, skills and thought processes necessary for effective original research. Students will study the nature and fundamentals of the research process, such as literature reviewing skills, the design of a research project, techniques for collection of research data and statistical techniques for analysing research data and drawing valid evidence based inferences.
  • Business Skills (EQ) - This module is intended to develop professional and managerial skills in an integrated way in the context of the career aspirations, industry sector and academic discipline of the individual student. It is intended that the flexibility of this module will allow subject specific benchmark standards as defined by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to be incorporated depending on the particular HE programme that the module is serving. In continuing with their personal development planning students will gain a deeper understanding of the need for the development of professional and managerial skills within their industry sector and as appropriate to their intended career paths. The module begins by enabling students to develop a critical understanding of career development, and the process of personal development planning for their intended careers. An initial skills audit will be undertaken and a personal development plan developed towards the students intended career path. Advice and guidance given by module tutors will be augmented by periods of work shadowing, interviews, visits and talks industry professionals. The module supports the career development learning outcomes described in Course Programme Specifications (and related Subject Benchmark Statements). Students develop their understanding of personal development planning leading to the identification of realistic and satisfactory career goals and the skills development and knowledge acquisition that will be necessary to achieve these. .In the context of their specific sector, the module provides a basis for the student to understand their eventual role in dealing with complex situations as professional practitioners and managers. In order to achieve this it provides an understanding of the key aspects of the operation of individuals and organisations which the student may encounter within their career; including financial, human and market focused aspects. Exercises, case studies and interaction with industry professionals will provide material for students to discuss various management issues, typical of those encountered in the “world of work”. This module is intended to be carefully contextualised to ensure its relevance to each academic discipline and industry sector. The indicative content, skills development and learning materials are consequently not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive.
  • Young Horse Production - An understanding of the principles behind the training and production of young horses for a variety of roles will be gained via the experience of producing a young horse over a specified time period, with due regard to correct industry practice and the legal requirements and obligations of the stud farm manager. Thus students will gain an understanding of how a modern stud farm operates at both an operational and strategic level.
  • Biological Basis of Behaviour - This module focuses on the underlying anatomy and physiology that regulates behaviour. Students will review the biology of the nervous, sensory and endocrine systems. This knowledge will then be applied to how horses behave in both their natural and artificial environments and the implications for how we train them. The module will investigate which parts of the brain are involved in regulating different types of behaviour as well as the neurotransmitters responsible for initiating or inhibiting different behaviours, including stereotypic behaviours. How the horse sees, hears and feels will all impact on how the horse responds to training. It is very easy to just look at it from a human perspective but this module will encourage students to think about the impact of how the horse senses its environment on how it responds to training. The endocrine system affects both social and reproductive behaviour as well as being involved in the flight response. This module provides a great opportunity for students to relate what is happening at the biological level to how the horse responds. A range of activities including practical sessions, dissections, group discussions and lectures, will support learning on this module.
  • Measuring Behaviour and Welfare - The study of behaviour and welfare must be conducted in a scientifically robust manner. There are many different techniques and measurements that can be used to determine both the physiological and psychological states of the horse, and generally behaviour is seen as an external manifestation of the internal physiological state. How this data is collected and then interpreted is fundamental in conducting research. This module will introduce students to the range of methods currently used in academic research to measure behaviour and welfare both quantitatively and qualitatively. Students will gain an appreciation of the application of behavioural and physiological measures of welfare and be able to identify their appropriate use in experimental design. Students will learn why, when and how to carry out various behaviour and welfare sampling methods in a combination of theoretical and practical taught sessions, which will also involve evaluating experimental design in research papers. Techniques to analyse and interpret this data will also be studied to provide students with the skills to perform their own research investigations within this and other modules.
  • Ethology and Domestication - This module explores the natural behaviour of the horse in a free-ranging environment, looking at their social organization, maintenance, sexual and developmental behaviours, motivational priorities and examining the impact of domestic managements systems on these natural behavioural patterns. Students will explore how horses interact with one another through various means of communication and examine in particular the effects of these methods on the horse-human relationship in day to day activities, including handling and ridden procedures. Students will learn how to analyse the different situations leading to aggressive, agonistic and affiliative displays of behaviour, and whether horses are displaying dominant, submissive or neutral gestures. In-depth study of how common husbandry procedures and management regimes can lead to unwanted behaviours will also be discussed. This module involves the delivery of content that allows assessment of the following SEBC module: 3. Understanding Equine Social Behaviour
  • Equine Cognition and Training - This module looks at how the horse learns, looking at underpinning theories of habituation and desensitisation, classical and operant conditioning, latent learning and problem solving, social and observational learning. Building on this foundation of understanding we will then apply these key principles to how the horse learns in everyday situations to evaluate what type of learning is occurring so that we can identify how to get the training process right and where it may go wrong. Understanding the roles of positive and negative reinforcement are also studied in depth and practical examples of these methods are utilised to assess their efficacy. Evaluation of traditional and alternative training techniques including classical riding and natural horsemanship techniques is a key part of this module. The main criteria is to understand what basic learning methods are happening within the vast array of training styles available in today’s industry. This module involves the delivery of content that allows assessment of the following SEBC modules: 4 Recognising learned behaviour problems 5 Practical training techniques 6 Evaluation of alternative training systems

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