BA Hons Racehorse Performance And Rehabilitation

Racehorse Performance and Rehabilitation (with Foundation Year)

BSc (Hons)

If you're passionate about Thoroughbreds, particularly if you want to learn about optimal health and minimising injury & disease throughout their life cycle (pre, during and post race-training) this is the programme for you.

This programme enables you to analyse performance and appraise training methods whether preparing a horse for a race, returning a horse to fitness post injury or, retraining a former racehorse to take part in wider equestrian activities, and is ideal for those looking to combine practical equine skills with a love for science and research.

Key Information

Course Duration: 4 or 5 years full time; part-time available
Part or Full Time: Full Time / Part Time
Level of Study: Foundation Year Degrees
Placement Year: Optional
Typical Offer: 32-48 UCAS tariff points or equivalent

Course information

This science degree is unique due to its consideration of business elements which enable graduates to understand the complexity of the global racing and bloodstock industries, which is beneficial whether working in racing or the wider equestrian sector. In addition to core modules relating to applied anatomy, physiology and practical competencies, students have the option to study nutrition, behaviour, biomechanics, sports medicine and more. 

Throughout your degree, you'll learn how to achieve optimal racehorse performance including returning the thoroughbred to peak condition following an injury.

Our county of Gloucestershire is renowned for horseracing, with leading trainers and facilities on site and nearby.

You’ll benefit from our strong links with racing professionals as well as our research-active commercial Equine Therapy Centre on campus, which rehabilitates racehorses, and other equine athletes, back to competition.

The skills and industry connections you develop will help you take advantage of global opportunities that exist in an innovative, fast-paced industry.

You'll graduate with a strong awareness of the racing industry, combined with the ability to apply scientific principles to training practices, analyse performance and understand the rehabilitation process of the racehorse.

  • UCAS | A typical offer for this course is 32-48 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 and Mathematics.

  • A-level | Typical offer is EE-DD or equivalent. This must include a minimum of one A-level.

  • Vocational Award | Typical offer is a PPP in an Extended Diploma or equivalent in a relevant subject.

  • Access | Typical offer is 32-48 UCAS tariff points in an Access to Higher Education Diploma.

  • Scottish Highers | Typical offer is 32-48 UCAS tariff points in Scottish Highers. This must include a minimum of one Advanced Higher.

We welcome students with equivalent qualifications. Contact the admissions team to discuss further.

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

Previous learning towards a university-level qualification or relevant work experience may count as credit for this course.

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 compulsory 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. Previous students have used these opportunities to explore new areas of the racing and bloodstock industries.

Our county of Gloucestershire is renowned for horseracing and hosts one of the world’s most prestigious annual race meetings – the Cheltenham Festival. The county is home to some of the world’s most prestigious racehorse trainers and racing facilities, which we make good use of to facilitate real world learning.

Equine Therapy Centre

Utilising world-class facilities, you'll gain experience in our commercial Equine Therapy Centre that rehabilitates horses working at a range of levels. You'll also undertake a supported work placement in your final year which can be completed at Hartpury or, at an external centre with therapeutic modalities such as, a swimming pool or over-ground and water treadmills. You'll graduate with the competence needed to implement rehabilitation programmes under the direction of a veterinarian or professional and to positively impact industry practice in the fast-changing equine sector.

Guest lecturers and field trips

Industry professionals and field trips form an important part of your learning, enabling you to experience different businesses and careers. You’ll encounter a wide range of industry speakers from across various aspects of the racing industry throughout the programme. You'll also make valuable industry connections, in preparation for your career.

Graduate destinations

Several of our graduates from our equine programmes have gone on to forge successful careers within the horseracing industry. One has even gone on to become the UK’s youngest racehorse trainer! Roles include:

  • British Horseracing Authority's Development Programme
  • Racecourse Marketing & Operations
  • Equestrian Event Organiser
  • Management role, Irish National Stud
  • Bloodstock Assistant / stud staff / yearling prep
  • Stud Nominations Executive
  • Racehorse Trainer
  • Performance Analyst
  • Racing stable staff: work riders / travelling head staff / pupil assistant / point to point jockey
  • Racing Secretary
  • Specialist yards: Pre-training, sports therapy & rehabilitation
  • Racehorse re-training
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 horseracing industry offers an abundance of varied and exciting careers all over the world. Live briefs, field trips and work experience will strengthen your understanding of equine performance and rehabilitation in the racing world.

You’ll also have opportunities to support the rehabilitation of racehorses in our commercial Equine Therapy Centre, experiencing first-hand the latest scientific approaches to racehorse training and rehabilitation post-injury.

You’ll graduate with a strong portfolio of skills and experience, ready to take your next step into employment or further study.

Module credits

On successful completion of your modules you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your awards. The marks you gain in your final two years on campus may contribute towards your final degree classification.

Your foundation year will focus on developing your skills and knowledge of key information, to enable you to excel in the years that follow.

Compulsory Modules 

Academic Literacy for University Studies

Understand and explore topics including the scientific method and enquiry, team working, research skills, and effective time management.

Professional Development in Practice

An opportunity to explore graduate destinations associated with your programme of study, building a portfolio of experiences aiding your professional development. 

Exploring Current Concepts

Develop understanding and knowledge of literature reviews including constructing a rationale and summarising and presenting relevant information to suit a purpose, subject and audience.

Equine Studies

This module introduces central anatomy, physiology, welfare and health that underpin best husbandry and management practices, along with key legislation and health and safety requirements in the equine industry.

Biological Principles for Land-Based Scientists

Study fundamental biological aspects to gain a clear understanding of how organisms come about and how they function and operate for survival and performance.

Your first year will provide a real-world introduction to the thoroughbred industry, to ensure you have the knowledge you need to progress into year two.

You’ll learn about international racehorse management and the facets that make up the global racing industry.

Alongside this, you’ll develop your understanding of the biology of the racehorse, including how functional anatomy and physiology, nutrition, genetics and health combine to underpin performance and success.

Compulsory Modules 

Equine Functional Anatomy

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

Equine Veterinary Science

Understand the balance between health and disease, and apply management and control theories to practical situations.

Management of Equestrian Facilities

Learn about the management and construction of equine facilities and the legislation that governs them.

Skills for the Equine Rehabilitation Professional

An introduction to academic and professional development in relation to desired career paths.

Introduction to the Horseracing Industry

An introduction to the different stakeholders and funding of the racing industry.

In your second year, you’ll delve deeper into the fascinating principles that underpin training approaches by looking at the performance physiology of the racehorse and performance analysis techniques.

You’ll also explore diagnostics and therapy, with an option to undertake a work placement too.

Compulsory Modules 

Equine Musculoskeletal Diagnostics

Students will learn about diagnostic procedures used by vets for common lameness conditions.

Introduction to Equine Performance Analysis

Develop your physiological and biomechanical knowledge alongside gaining an understanding of common performance measures.

Racehorse Performance and Rehabilitation

Explore the physiological and biomechanical responses to exercise and training alongside the efficacy of racehorse rehabilitation regimens.

Research Methods for Equine Science

This module introduces students to research methods and analysis in equine sciences, helping to prepare them for reading research literature and conducting research projects in the future.

The International Horseracing Industry

Explore the structure, communication and relationships within the international horseracing industry.


Optional Modules 

Equine Nutrition

The study of the horse’s digestive system, their required nutrient intake for different activities, and how to manage the horse’s diet.

International Stud Management

This module allows student to gain an understanding of stud management when breeding Thoroughbreds or Warmbloods, and challenges this involves. The module combines the application of scientific principles to the required decision making and actions during the annual stud cycle.

Introduction to Equine Behaviour

Develop an understanding of behaviour of horses and the neurological pathways resulting in the development of these behaviours.

Introduction to Animal Hydrotherapy

Discover key aspects of hydrotherapy in both equine and canine centres.

Professional Placement Experience in the Equestrian Sector

You'll be supported to complete a minimum of 150 hours of work experience during the year, which can be in a variety of equine focused establishments in the UK or abroad.

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.

Placement year (optional)

An optional integrated placement year before your final year allows you to put your knowledge and skills into practice and gain valuable industry experience. Many students get their graduate roles with the organisation with which they completed their work placement.

Level Six (final year)

In your final year, you’ll be able to focus on areas that interest you, with optional modules enabling you to specialise in an area to suit your interests and career goals. This could include topics around equine sports medicine, performance analysis or rehabilitation and therapy of the racehorse.

Compulsory Modules

Undergraduate Dissertation

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

Analysis of Equine Performance

Performance analysis within training and the role of musculoskeletal function in locomotor and competition performance.

Racehorse Therapy and Rehabilitation

Develop your practical assistant skills alongside knowledge and understanding of functional anatomy to evaluate performance and therapeutic training regimes.

Horseracing, Governance and Law

Apply theoretical concepts gathered over the duration of your degree to the structure and governance of the horseracing industry and its distribution of power.

Optional Modules

Applied Equine Biomechanics

The Applied Equine Biomechanics module utilises the University’s Rider Performance Centre and biomechanical analysis resources to support students in applying and implementing biomechanical principles and theoretical concepts to practical research and industry scenarios.

Equine Nutrition for Performance

Evolution of feeding strategies to support athletic performance in the horse, whilst maintaining good health.

Equine Sports Medicine

Review and evaluate equine sports injuries and exercise intolerance and associated treatment options.

Sales, Negotiation and Customer Service

Gain strategies and techniques to develop communications skills in order to influence, sell and negotiate within the equine industry.

Undergraduate Independent Study

A chance to critically review an approved topic of your choice linked to the programme aims.

The modules contain a mixture of scheduled learning – lectures, workshops and practical sessions – alongside independent learning. Students are 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.

Year Contact learning Placement learning Independent learning
Level three (year one) 24% 0% 76%
Level four (year two) 24% 0% 76%
Level five (year three) 24% 0% 76%
Placement year (optional) 1% 80% 19%
Level six (final year) 16% 3% 81%

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 three (year one) 24% 38% 38%
Level four (year two) 13% 39% 48%
Level five (year three) 38% 38% 24%
Placement year (optional) 0% 0% 100%
Level six (final year) 19% 38% 43%

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 student 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 associat​ed with studying this course.

Clothing and footwear (circa £100)

You’ll need some specialist kit and clothing for the course, such as yard boots, riding hats and gloves for your practical sessions. 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 approximately £1,800)

You'll be encouraged to engage in various trips and visits as part of the programme. It is estimated these costs will be approximately £1,800. A comprehensive package of non-repayable financial support is available to facilitate engagement with placements and study tours/trips where additional costs are involved.

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.


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.

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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Student And Horse In Equine Yard

Meet our academic team

Get to know our dedicated and passionate teaching staff who’ll help you achieve your very best. We’re proud to have been awarded Gold in all three areas of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF): Overall, Student Experience, and Student Outcomes. This places Hartpury University in the top 15% of published institutions in England. Plus, we're ranked sixth in the UK for Teaching Quality, in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.

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.