Bsc Hons Equestrian Sports Coaching

Equestrian Sports Coaching

BSc (Hons)

Immerse yourself in a high-performance equine environment, enhancing your practical coaching skills with riders of all levels on campus. You’ll graduate with a strong portfolio of coaching experience and have opportunities to work alongside top-level coaches and at international competitions.

Focusing on both horse and rider, you’ll understand industry-standard sports coaching theory and apply it to the unique area of equestrian sports. You’ll learn how sports psychology can be applied to get the best from the rider.

Key Information

Course Duration: 3 or 4 years full time; part-time available
Part or Full Time: Full Time / Part Time
Level of Study: Undergraduate Degrees
Placement Year: Optional
Typical Offer: 112 UCAS points

Course information

Benefitting from world-class facilities including our Rider Performance Centre, you’ll have access to our unique Racewood Event Simulator which enables analysis and monitoring of rider posture and movement. You'll learn how performance analysis techniques can refine the horse and rider partnership, as well as competitive outcomes.

Throughout your degree, you’ll build a diverse portfolio of experience through coaching practical sessions and equine-specific modules. You’ll also have the opportunity to supplement your riding and equine management skills with British Horse Society qualifications, which are industry-recognised worldwide.

You can use all of this to evidence your coaching expertise, experience and coaching philosophy to employers when you graduate.

  • UCAS | A typical offer for this course is 112 UCAS tariff points or equivalent.

  • GCSE | A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 9 to 4, (or A* to C grades if relevant) or equivalent, to include English Language, Mathematics and a Science.

  • A-level | Typical offer is BBC or equivalent. This must include a minimum of two A-levels.

  • Vocational Award | Typical offer is DMM in an Extended Diploma in a relevant subject.

  • Access | Typical offer is 112 UCAS tariff points in an Access to Higher Education Diploma.

  • IB | Typical offer is 112 UCAS tariff points in an IB Diploma, to include a minimum of two Highers at H3 or above. This must also include Maths and English Language at a minimum of Standard Level S3 if equivalent GCSEs have not been obtained.

  • Scottish Highers | Typical offer is 112 UCAS tariff points in Scottish Highers. This must include a minimum of one Highers and one Advanced Higher.

  • Irish Leaving Certificate | Typical offer is 112 UCAS tariff points in the Irish Leaving Certificate. This must include a minimum of two Highers. This must also include Maths and English Language at a minimum of Ordinary Level.

  • OCR Cambridge Technical | Typical offer is a DMM in a Cambridge Technical Extended Extended Diploma in a relevant subject.

  • T Levels | Typical offer is Merit in your T Level overall grade in a relevant subject

The minimum academic entry requirement for this programme is 72 UCAS tariff or equivalent providing this is combined with relevant experience.  

We welcome students with equivalent qualifications. Please contact us to discuss.

We may interview mature applicants and those with non-traditional qualifications to ensure this is the right course for you.

Practical competency

In addition to the above, applicants are required to hold a minimum of BHS Stage 2 ride, care and lunge or Pony Club B test, or provide signature of a BHS Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship (UKCC level 2 or equivalent) to confirm that the applicant is able to;

  • Ride to BHS stage 2 standard
  • Ride in an arena, jump single fences and a small course of 75 centimetres
  • Evaluate your own riding and the way the horse goes both in flatwork and jumping
  • Understand basic horse behaviour and normal health
  • Handle horses inside the stable
  • Carry out routine grooming tasks
  • Maintain a clean stable and provide food and water
  • Select and fit rugs appropriately
  • Tack up and un-tack (saddle and bridle)
  • Lead a horse safely in a variety of environments and hold a horse for inspection
  • Lunge a horse for exercise according to instructions
  • In the absence of supporting documentation to confirm the above, a practical assessment can be run on a relevant offer-holder day.

Please contact us for further information:

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Your career

Industry opportunities on this course are diverse to ensure you develop the skills, experience and connections needed for your graduate career. Many of our students secure graduate roles with their work placement employers.

Work placements and experience

These form part of optional modules, alongside an optional integrated placement year. We’ll support you to secure a placement with a UK-based or international employer, to match your interests and career goals. Placements can be paid or unpaid, depending on the position.

Field trips and guest lecturers

Field trips and industry professionals in lectures form an important part of your learning, enabling you to experience different businesses, careers and best practices. 

Recent field trips have included the French National Riding School and Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. 

Recent guest lecturers have included leading professional coaches from across a range of disciplines.

Study internationally

Our Study Abroad programme means you can make the most of opportunities to study a semester or full year of your degree at one of our partner institutions, while achieving credits towards your degree.

Graduate destinations

As a Hartpury equestrian sports coaching graduate you may go on to work as a coach within a wide range of settings, either as part of a larger team or in a self-employed capacity. You’ll also be able to use your transferable skill set and use your coaching and communication skills in other sectors, should you wish to do so. 

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Freelance equestrian coach
  • Postgraduate study
  • Events and Education Coordinator
  • (Assistant) Yard manager at a large commercial yard
Success Stories

Your support network

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one to be the best you can be. This will range from your personal tutor and specialist academic support team (our Achievement and Success Centre) to dedicated wellbeing and employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) centres.

Academic support

You’ll have your own personal tutor while you’re here who will support you to succeed in your studies. You’ll also have access to our academic and wellbeing support teams who run regular workshops and one-to-one sessions on campus and online.

Alongside this, we have a comprehensive bank of online study skills resources to help you make the most of your qualification.

Your learning experiences

You'll experience a range of teaching methods to strengthen your digestion of topics, including lectures, workshops and practical sessions, as well as supported work placement learning as part of many courses.

Your career

Each year of your course will be made up of two semesters, within which you’ll study compulsory and optional modules on different industry-focused topics, enabling you to develop your own unique portfolio of knowledge, skills and experience, ready for your career. The course is taught in English.


What you'll study

The course combines sports coaching and specialist equine modules to provide you with modern insights into the role of the successful equestrian coach.

Throughout the course, you'll develop practical coaching experience as part of compulsory modules, whilst refining your own unique expertise through selection from a diverse range of optional modules, which you'll be able to choose from to suit your interests and career goals.

Optional modules change each year in line with student, industry and research demands - you'll find recent topics studied below. You can attend introductory sessions for optional modules before deciding which ones to study.

Module credits

On successful completion of your modules you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain in your second and third years may contribute towards your final degree classification.

The focus of your first year will be exploring and developing your own unique coaching identity, equipping you with the skills and knowledge you need to thrive as a coach. You'll also study equine anatomy and physiology, and the equine industry, while developing your professional skills.

Compulsory Modules 

Coaching and Teaching Portfolio (Theory)

Apply coaching theory to the practical teaching of riders in a number of disciplines.

Introduction to Equestrian Performance

An introduction to the equine industry and performance in various equestrian sports.

Equine Structure and Function

Learn about the biological systems of the horse, how they interact, and how they can be managed.

Equestrian Practice

Develop acceptable industry standards of practice and explore the principles behind them.

Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology

Learn the key theories in sport and exercise psychology to understand behaviours in sport.

Equitation for Coaches

Application of equitation science theory to the assessment, riding and training of horses across a range of disciplines.


Optional Modules 

Equitation (Theory)

Students will develop their knowledge of equitation and their ability to assess the horse’s way of going.

While you continue to develop your coaching skills, you'll focus in detail on the complex horse and rider relationship and how this influences performance. In addition to this, you can choose from a range of optional modules that enable you to explore sports psychology, inclusivity, or further develop practical skills including ground schooling.

Compulsory Modules 

Coaching and Teaching Portfolio (Pedagogy)

Students will evaluate their own ability to educate others in equestrian sport.

Management of the Performance Horse

Explore equine performance management practices and professional development, including how staffing and horse management can be developed through the application of scientific and industry literature.

Equine Performance

Understand how performance horses are exercised and trained to meet the specific demands of various disciplines.

Research Methods Applied to Equestrian Practice

Students are introduced to research methods which are commonly used when exploring questions relating to equitation.


Optional Modules 

Independent Report

A chance to independently review an approved topic area in line with the student’s programme of study.

Sport Psychology

Learn and apply psychological skills to improve athlete performance.

Study Trip

You will engage in a programme relevant study trip which will provide a context for you to synthesise content from across your programme of study and make applications and inferences to this real world setting, while expanding your horizons.

The Inclusive Practitioner

Students will develop an understanding of inclusive practice within sport, physical activity, and physical education.

An optional integrated placement year between your second and final years allows you to put your knowledge and skills into practice and gain valuable industry experience in a coaching or related role, ready for your career. Many students get their graduate role with the employer with which they undertook their placement.

In your third year, while developing more advanced coaching skills, you'll undertake a research project in an area of your own interest, enabling you to develop specialist expertise to benefit your own career as well as industry practice. You can also select from a range of optional modules, which may include studying emerging research areas relating to horse and rider performance.

Compulsory Modules

Coaching and Teaching Portfolio (Reflection)

Critically reflect on your own coaching abilities and how they have developed over time.

Undergraduate Dissertation

Partake in independent research and analysis in a related area of your choice.

Applied Business Management

Understand the essential operations of a small business, including, organisational culture and marketing.


Optional Modules

Contemporary Issues in Equestrian Sport

Explore the application of scientific research to inform developments of equestrian sport.

High Performing Teams

Evaluate the leadership and management of sport science support within the performance environment.

Equine Ethics and Welfare

Students will build their knowledge of ethical philosophy and key equine welfare contributors/research to enable discussion of contemporary industry issues.

Sport Psychology in Action

The purpose of this module is to give students a real picture of sport psychology in action by providing the framework from which psychological techniques can be applied to facilitate psychological and performance outcomes.

The modules contain a mixture of scheduled learning – lectures, workshops and practical sessions – alongside independent learning. You’ll be expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour. Your course may also include work placement learning as part of some modules.

The course is taught in English.

Year Contact learning Placement learning Independent learning
Level four (year one) 24% 0% 76%
Level five (year two) 24% 0% 76%
Integrated placement year (optional) 1% 80% 19%
Level six (final year) 18% 0% 82%

You will be assessed through a mixture of written exams, practical exams and written assignments. Many of the modules will be marked based on a mixture of assessment types, whilst others will be based solely on one type of assessment. Feedback will be given via a mixture of written bullet point-style feedback and/or oral feedback.

Year Written exam Practical exam Coursework
Level four (year one) 22% 59% 19%
Level five (year two) 0% 41% 59%
Integrated placement year (optional) 0% 0% 100%
Level six (year three) 13% 38% 49%

Each year of this course is taught over two semesters, normally consisting of 12 weeks of scheduled teaching and then assessment weeks, with an overview below:

  • Scheduled teaching takes place between 8:30 to 20:30 Monday to Friday
  • Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities
  • Work placements may entail different days and hours
  • Part-time students may need to attend learning activities five days each week, depending on modules selected
  • Timetables are available during enrolment week.
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Please visit our finance page for information on tuition fees and student loans, as well as non-repayable grants, bursaries and scholarships, eligible to different groups, to support with study costs.

Below, you'll find extra costs associated with studying this course.

Clothing and footwear

You’ll need some specialist kit and clothing for the course, such as yard boots, riding hats and gloves to be prepared for your practical sessions on the programme. 

We’ll let you know exactly what you need to bring before enrolment. 

Hartpury University branded clothing is also available through our online shop, for those who wish to purchase it, however, this is not essential.

Optional field trips (up to circa £500)

You are encouraged to engage in various trips and visits as part of the course. These are often included as part of the modules. There is the opportunity to engage in additional study trips, which would incur minimal fees relating to travel and/or expenses.  

Optional semester abroad (study internationally)

You’ll have the opportunity to take an optional semester abroad in your second year. This would incur additional travel costs, dependent on where you choose to study. 

Additional Industry qualifications

These qualifications are optional and self-funded. Please enquire about the latest costs on application.


We have stabling for 230 horses on campus. If you're interested in having your horse at Hartpury on DIY livery while you study, please visit our livery page for details and costs.

Equine Academy

If you have the talent and drive to develop your skills as an equestrian athlete alongside your studies, you may be eligible to join our Equine Academy. For further details including costs, please visit our Equine Academy page.

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

Fees & Finance

For further details about this course, including the programme specification and module descriptions, please visit our document library.

Resource library


If you’re playing sport competitively, or you have the talent and drive to do so, you may want to join one of our Sports Academies. Over 200 international athletes have developed their talents with us over the past 10 years. You could be our next success story. We're a semi-professional sports environment offering world-class facilities and professional coaching and support services.

Hartpury College Mens Football Academy


Settle into an accommodation option to suit your taste and budget – at Hartpury University, undergraduate students can choose to live on-campus surrounded by Gloucestershire’s beautiful countryside or off-campus in the heart of Gloucester City centre. Enjoy the best of both worlds.

Hartpury University Accommodation


We can help you understand how it all works, and what you need to do next. Find out everything you need to know about tuition fees, student loans and bursaries and scholarships. In 2021/22, we provided assistance to over 1/3 of our students through bursaries, scholarships and grants, totalling a little under £1million.

Hartpury University Finance
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TEF Gold

Our undergraduate provision has been awarded Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Gold in all aspects - Overall, Student Experience, and Student Outcomes.

GUG 2024 Top 10 Teaching Quality Landscape

Teaching quality

Ranked in the top 10 universities for teaching quality (The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024).

Graduate Outcomes 2023 97Pc

Graduate employability

97% of our graduates are in employment, further study or other purposeful activity (Graduate Outcomes, 2023). 

NSS 2023 Academic Support

Academic support

We’ve been named as the top university in England for academic support (National Student Survey, 2023).

Jessica Balmer
“I had a whole new world opened up to me at Hartpury. I started as a shy young person and graduated with the confidence and skills to go out and succeed. I had so many opportunities in so many different areas – achieving industry qualifications, helping on the yard, volunteering at equestrian events, training and competing, getting involved with professional demos, and keeping fit in the gyms.”
Jessica Balmer
BSc (Hons) Equine Business Management

High-performance equine environment

We have an international reputation for equine education. Our students are challenged to reach new heights in their fields.

If you’re passionate, hard-working and motivated to make a difference, we’ll give you the skills and connections to channel this energy into an exciting equine career. Whatever your career aspirations, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to gain experience on and off campus.

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Get in touch

Whether you're looking for more details with regards to a specific course, or information on your own academic options or life at Hartpury, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable Admissions team. 

Important information

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are reviewed and developed regularly. Changes or cancellation of courses may be necessary to ensure alignment with emerging employment areas, to comply with accrediting body requirements, revisions to subject benchmark statements or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make necessary changes and will notify all offer-holders of changes as and when they occur.