Fdsc Equine Performance Hartpury University 2024

Equine Performance


Immerse yourself in the field of professional horse performance and gain applied knowledge and practical experience on this foundation degree. Focus on the latest industry practices and undertake work-based learning. 

Key Information

Course Duration: 2 or 3 years full time; part-time available
UC UCAS Code: D427
Part or Full Time: Full Time / Part Time
Level of Study: Foundation Degree (FdSc)
Placement Year: Optional
Typical Offer: 64-80 UCAS tariff points or equivalent

Course information

This hands-on course will give you the experience required to work within the performance horse industry. This could be as a top-level groom, yard manager, or as a coordinator within a governing body or industry organisation. You’ll focus on maximising equine performance with an emphasis on training, management, and the nutritional requirements of competing horses. Industry-focused modules will prepare you to make important decisions in your chosen career.

You’ll develop your skills while undertaking valuable industry experience to ensure you’re ready for your career when you graduate from the course. You’ll benefit from industry-leading facilities, including our commercial equine therapy and rider performance centres. Our relationships with local and national equine businesses will provide opportunities for you to gain a feel for life in industry.

  • UCAS | A typical offer for this course is 64-80 UCAS tariff points or equivalent.

  • GCSE | A minimum of 5 GCSE A* to C, (or 9 to 4 where numeric grades are being awarded) or equivalent, to include English Language, Mathematics and a Science.

  • A-level | Typical offer is CC-CDD or equivalent. This must include a minimum of two A Levels.

  • Vocational Award | Typical offer is a MPP-MMP in an Extended Diploma in a relevant subject.

  • Access | Typical offer is 64-80 UCAS tariff points in an Access to Higher Education Diploma.

  • IB | Typical offer is 64-80 UCAS tariff points in an IB Diploma, to include a minimum of one Higher 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 64-80 UCAS tariff points in Scottish Highers. This must include a minimum of one Advanced Higher and one Higher.


  • Irish leaving Certificate | Typical offer is 64-80 UCAS tariff points in the Irish Leaving Certificate. This must include a minimum of one Higher. This must also include Maths and English Language at a minimum of Ordinary Level.


  • OCR Cambridge Technical | Typical offer is a MPP-MMP in a Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in a relevant subject.


  • T Level | Typical offer is Pass in your T Level overall grade in a relevant subject.


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.

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

There are many ways that you'll be introduced to the industry as part of this course. You'll complete two work placements and encounter a range of guest speakers as part of your studies - the perfect opportunity to network with leading industry professionals.

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. Former students have obtained placements with employers in the UK, Europe, and around the world and have been situated in rehabilitation centres, top competition yards, and studs.

Our commercial Equine Therapy Centre also offers opportunities for you to gain industry experience ready for your future career – either on work placements or as part of voluntary roles.

Field trips and guest lecturers

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

Recent trips have included visiting the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, as well as the KWPN Stallion Show. Extra costs are required – please see the fees tab.

Recent guest lecturers have included vets, veterinary physiotherapists, equine nutritionists and an Equestrian Health and Safety Consultant.

Graduate destinations

As an Equine Performance graduate, you may go on to complete a one-year top-up to a full degree, in Equine Management. However, you may also go into industry either directly with horses or within larger organisations, as you will have acquired a range of transferable skills.

Our careers team can support you to find and prepare to secure your perfect role. Recent graduate destinations have included:

  • BSc (Hons) Level 6 Equine Management
  • Paralympic Groom, Canadian National Team
  • Racing Secretary
  • Event Organiser
  • Governing Body Coordinator
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

This course is comprised of both compulsory and 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.

You'll cover a broad range of fundamental equine topics through compulsory modules, from managing performance horses to exercise physiology and performance as well as a work placement in industry.

In addition to these topics, you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from, allowing you to specialise your learning 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 year may contribute towards your final degree classification.

In your first year, you’ll study a wide range of topics as you assess and hone current industry practices, and begin to understand what’s involved in the management of equine facilities. You’ll explore health and disease, look at equine anatomy and gain an understanding of acceptable industry standards of practice. You’ll also complete a work placement on Hartpury’s commercial yard to gain real-world experience.

Compulsory Modules 

Equestrian Practice

Discuss acceptable industry standards of practice and the scientific principles behind them.

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.

Equine Structure and Function

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

Equine Industry

Discuss the scope and management of the equine industry in the UK and Europe.

Equestrian Project Management

Gain an understanding of the importance of project management and self‐reflection to aid professional development.


Optional Modules 


Develop your riding knowledge and your ability to assess horses under saddle. Please be aware that Hartpury Equine operates a weight limit of 15 stone (or 95kg) for flatwork and 14 stone (or 89kg) for jumping.

Equitation (Theory)

Develop your knowledge of equitation and acquire an ability to assess the horse’s way of going.

An optional integrated placement year between your first and second years gives you the opportunity to put your knowledge and skills into practice and gain valuable industry experience. Many students gain their graduate roles with the organisation with which they undertook their work placement.

During your second year, you’ll tailor your studies to suit your interests and career goals through a range of exciting optional modules. In addition, you'll complete compulsory modules looking at equine performance and physiology.

As well as a placement in the equine industry, you’ll be able to choose from a selection of modules to tailor your interests further. On successful completion of this course, you’ll have the opportunity to top up your foundation degree to a full honours degree in one year.

Compulsory Modules

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.

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.

Research Methods Applied to Equestrian Practice

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

Optional Modules

Applied Equine Nutrition

Investigate the horse’s nutrient requirements and how to manage a horse’s diet.

Equestrian Event Management and Fundraising

Explore the operational aspects of event management and the customer experience.

Equine Musculoskeletal Diagnostics

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

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 Biomechanics

Introduction to Equine Biomechanics aims to create a solid foundation of understanding of the key biomechanics concepts applied to equine and equestrian examples.

New Venture Creation

This module allows students to the explore the principles and practices faced by entrepreneurs whilst working through the process of developing a new commercial venture. The assessment offers students the chance to engage with their own new business idea and present to both business professionals and academic staff in a ‘dragon’s den’ style pitch.

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 four (year one) 24% 0% 76%
Level five (year two) 21% 12% 67%
Placement year (optional) 1% 80% 19%

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) 25% 51% 24%
Level five (year two) 3% 59% 38%
Placement year (optional) 0% 0% 100%

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
View term dates

Tuition fees and financial support

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)

  • Lab coat - Although not essential, you may wish to purchase your own laboratory coat which costs approximately £18.
  • Yard clothing – You’ll be required to attend practical sessions on the yard, for which you’ll need to wear waterproof outerwear and appropriate footwear. A Hartpury equine clothing pack is available at a cost of approximately £75 but is not a compulsory purchase.

Optional field trips (circa £500)

Students are encouraged to engage in various trips and visits as part of the programme. Additional costs may occur – please enquire on application.

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).

Eliman Jeng
“I loved my lectures and lecturers, you were always engaged, I don't think there was a point where I wasn't interested in what they had to say.”
Eliman Jeng
FdSc Equine Performance

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.