Diploma of Higher Education Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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.



  • ​Professional Skills for Equine Therapists - This module is designed to develop analytical, technological, communication and learning skills. These will be developed in an appropriate vocational context by focusing on the key features of the para-professional sector within the Equine industry. This will include consideration of the types and characteristics of the individuals and organisations within the para-professional sector and the various internal and external factors which influence their activities. Delivery of the module aims to meet the needs of a diverse student profile and will therefore adopt a flexible approach centred around the personal development planning (PDP) process and the previous experience of the student. The Introduction to Professional; Skills module is intended to provide the academic, technical and personal skills essential for successful HE study and also to build confidence in the level of professional communication necessary for future employment within the para-professional sector. The module also provides a foundation for the future development of graduate level academic and professional skills later in the course. The module also introduces the practical competency log that will be an aspect of the students practical competence throughout the course.
  • Introduction to Equine Therapy - This module aims to introduce the student to a broad range of concepts that must be addressed when working towards a career in therapy. It will allow the students to gain an understanding of the safe and therapeutic handling skills that are necessary when horses’ are distressed, compensating for injury or have other behavioural indicators. There will also be a selection of riding and in hand sessions where students will be encouraged to discuss and assess what they see. This should begin development of lateral thinking and skills of interpretation particularly with reference to the way of going of the horse. These sessions will also include the use of training aids which may be used for a rehabilitative outcome rather than just as a training tool. Equine therapists must be empathetic and intuitive in their working lives and the module also aims to begin developing skills of feel and palpation. The module will also address factors such as therapist fitness and body biomechanics to reduce injury.
  • 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.
  • Functional Anatomy - This module aims to build on the students existing knowledge of anatomy and physiology in the Equine. It gives the student a detailed knowledge of the musculoskeletal structure of the horse and details the relationships between neurological function and normal/abnormal muscle function. It concentrates on the form and interactions between different parts of the body, clearly relating form to function. It gives a detailed appreciation of osetology, myology, arthrology and neurology.
  • Introduction to Animal Biomechanics - This module will introduce students to theories relating to movement. It will cover the basic laws of motion, projectile motion and other physical theories to aid in students’ understanding of the kinetics and kinematics of movement. Students will explore the movement of animal bodies describing different types of motion and be able to explain the anatomical and mechanical reasons behind the movement. This knowledge will be applied to a wide range of species and situations using both theory and practical based sessions.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Animal Therapeutic Techniques - Students must be able to assess the movement of an animal and link this to functionality prior to therapeutic intervention; this module begins to develop the student’s observational skills. It also introduces them to a number of holistic therapies. The importance of the animal therapist is emphasised in relation to enhancing muscle function using a variety of techniques. To do this a therapist must develop through observation and touch, the ability to recognise tension, restrictions and changes in muscle tone. There will be a chance to work with animals using massage, myofascial release and trigger point therapy to begin developing these important skills. It is also essential for a massage therapist to recognise when other modalities may be needed to enhance physiological and psychological repair. Lecture/demonstrations for chiropractic, animal aromatics, acupressure and cranio-sacral therapy will be included in the module to enhance existing knowledge and gain an understanding of the concepts behind physical, energetic and healing therapies. Whilst carrying out empathetic therapy the recognition of pain is essential and students will learn how to read both subtle and more obvious body language as animals use compensatory mechanisms to deal with low-grade and chronic pain in a variety of ways including behavioural changes, depression and musculoskeletal bracing. This module covers all current issues relating to legislation in the industry, also outlining safety factors when working with animals.
  • Rehabilitation and Performance - This module aims to take the student through the processes of rehabilitation after injury during performance or other injuries which require a period of rehabilitation. It looks at the processes of injury and repair on the body and enables the student to link repair and timescale of injury to length of time required to return to performance. It emphasizes the importance of rehabilitation to prevent re-injury.
  • Exercise Physiology - The module develops an understanding of the scientific principles behind the practical training of performance horses in a variety of equestrian disciplines. Emphasis is placed on the physiological adaptations that occur as a result of physical training and the methods used to induce these responses. Recent advances and techniques in the preparation of performance horses for elite performance will be discussed.
  • Exercise Physiology - The module develops an understanding of the scientific principles behind the practical training of performance horses in a variety of equestrian disciplines. Emphasis is placed on the physiological adaptations that occur as a result of physical training and the methods used to induce these responses. Recent advances and techniques in the preparation of performance horses for elite performance will be discussed.
  • Extrinsic Factors Affecting Performance (EQ) - This double module aims to concentrate on a variety of factors that are important to the therapist when assessing an animal for therapeutic intervention. Saddle fitting, farriery and rider ability will have an impact on the way of going of the horse as will the use of training aids. Track surface for the equine athlete may impact injury in the horse and of course the impact of the rider will be assessed. Students will also explore behavioural patterns of the horse and show how it interacts with its natural and the domestic environment, including the effects of environmental factors such as housing, handling/riding and training methods. It will also investigate factors leading to misbehaviour in the horse during performance, and what these behaviours may indicate (i.e. discomfort, fear, etc.). Clinical equine nutrition will be evaluated and will include nutrition programmes for a range of disciplines and disorders.

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