Jockey using riding simulator at Hartpury's Margaret Giffen Rider Performance Centre
MSc / Postgraduate Diploma / Postgraduate Certificate

Horse Rider Musculoskeletal Therapy and Rehabilitation

Typical offer: 2:1 honours degree (2:2 applicants considered individually)

Duration: 1-3 years; full-time and part-time options

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Delivery: Campus and online; block weekends

Apply for this course here:


Course overview

This course is designed for those who have completed a BSc or MSc degree in a human musculoskeletal therapeutic programme such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, sports therapy or chiropractic. You’ll apply theory to practice in a supported setting while developing new expertise to advance your knowledge and career.

World-class facilities

Using the extensive facilities at Hartpury you’ll study the assessment, evaluation and treatment techniques for injuries typical to amateur and professional horse riders. You’ll also progress your skills to apply therapeutic interventions and devise rehabilitation plans to facilitate optimum performance in the saddle. This will be underpinned by understanding equine movement and behaviour, always considering the welfare of the horse.

Outstanding expertise

We’ll focus on your ability to integrate advanced clinical reasoning skills and reflective practice to musculoskeletal  assessment and treatment, as well as injury prevention. Working within your scope of professional practice, you’ll become an integral part of the multidisciplinary team supporting the horse and rider dyad.

Flexible study options

With both full and part-time learning options, you could study alongside existing employment or other commitments. As a graduate, you'll be a specialist practitioner in horse rider musculoskeletal therapy and rehabilitation.

Apply now Contact us: +44 (0)1452 702244

What you'll study

What you'll study


The focus of this programme is on developing your understanding of the physical interaction between the horse and rider and interventions to enhance the function of the rider. 

Below are some of the skills and knowledge you’ll gain, helping to set you apart from your competition:

  • Knowledge of how the horse moves and how spinal biomechanics affect the motion of the rider
  • Gain a wider understanding of the welfare of the ridden horse
  • Understand how to evaluate human and horse biomechanics using gait analysis and electromyography equipment, as well as riding simulators to assess rider influence on horse performance
  • Understanding of topical issues around the ridden horse including welfare

The range of compulsory modules will enhance your knowledge and understanding of the rider’s function and performance in the saddle, progressing to the application of therapeutic interventions. Your clinical reasoning skills will allow you to compile a problem list and develop goals for treatment, presenting cases based on this information. 

A postgraduate dissertation will allow you to design, implement and evaluate a personal project in a contemporary area of horse rider musculoskeletal therapy and rehabilitation.

Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma

These qualifications form part of and are at the same level as the full master’s degree. They provide the ideal opportunity for you to develop your professional expertise via shorter part-time qualifications to fit around commitments, whilst allowing flexibility to progress each qualification through to the next level including the full master’s degree.

Postgraduate Certificate

Your Postgraduate Certificate in Horse Rider Musculoskeletal Therapy includes modules covering biomechanics and physiology of the horse as well as behaviour and welfare, to support an understanding of how these affect
the horse and rider dyad. Note that the postgraduate certificate does not include the rehabilitation elements of the course.

Postgraduate Diploma

Your Postgraduate Diploma in Horse Rider Musculoskeletal Therapy and Rehabilitation includes all specialist modules within the horse rider musculoskeletal therapy and rehabilitation programme, including an independent study module.


Below you’ll find the modules for this course.

  • MSc students will study all modules
  • Postgraduate diploma students will study all except the dissertation module
  • Postgraduate certificate students will study the following modules:
    • Equine Biomechanics and Physiology
    • Introduction to Equine Behaviour, Welfare and Ethics
    • Rider Musculoskeletal Therapy

Compulsory modules

Acquire the knowledge and ability to critically evaluate equine musculoskeletal anatomy and function including exercise physiology, applicable to the ridden horse and impact on the rider.

Develop broad knowledge and understanding of equine welfare and its critical importance by applying theory to practice, evaluating observations in the context of ridden horse welfare. Key elements of social licensing will be covered to ensure that you appreciate the current issues in the use of the horse for ridden disciplines.

Critically evaluate the biomechanics of horse riders as well as assessment strategies for the rider both on and off the horse. Using a problem-solving approach, your clinical reasoning skills will guide an evidence informed approach to the application of appropriate therapeutic interventions for horse riders.

Discuss research methodologies and applications, as well as strengths, weaknesses and limitations of different methods.

Evaluate contemporary research relating to a horse rider’s performance and practical application of rehabilitation strategies. By considering the biopsychosocial approach to rider management, as well as the role of the therapist within the interdisciplinary team, you’ll be able to support a rider through their return from injury and improve performance in the saddle. 

Build knowledge in your choice of subject area relevant to the horse and rider dyad.

Develop and implement a research project of your choosing. You’ll be allocated an individual supervisor to guide and support you to undertake this innovative independent piece of research.

Please visit our document library for more module information.

Further module information

How you'll study

How you'll study

We're committed to supporting you to fulfil your unique potential while you're here so that you can achieve your personal and professional goals.

Your support network

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one. This will range from your lecturers, supervisors and personal tutor to our specialist academic (Achievement and Success Centre), employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) and wellbeing teams.

Your learning experiences

You'll experience a range of teaching methods to strengthen your understanding of topics, including lectures, workshops and practical sessions.

Further details

One year, full-time

You can study for an MSc qualification full-time and subsequently complete the course within one year.

Two-three years, part-time

Alternatively, we offer flexible part-time options to help students to manage their studies alongside other commitments. These options can be tailored to suit your own needs, enabling you to complete your qualification in two or three years. Please enquire for further details.

Upon successful completion of your modules you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain may contribute towards your final master’s degree differential award (pass, merit or distinction).

  • The modules include a mix of face-to-face campus and online sessions - lectures and workshops - alongside independent learning.
  • Students are expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour.
  • Teaching contact time and method will vary depending on the module that you are studying.
  • The course is taught in English.
Contact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
MSc degree12%0%88%
Postgraduate Diploma16%0%84%
Postgraduate Certificate16%0%84%

Teaching contact time and method will vary depending on the module that you are studying.

You’ll be assessed through a mixture of 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 in written form, with the option to discuss all feedback with academic staff. The following breakdowns may vary, depending on module choices.

Written examPractical examCoursework
MSc degree0%40%60%
Postgraduate Diploma0%48%52%
Postgraduate Certificate0%39%61%

This course is made up of three semesters. Semesters normally consisting of 12 weeks of scheduled teaching and then assessment weeks, with an overview below:

  • Scheduled teaching generally takes place across block weekends (Friday – Sunday)
  • Delivery on the teaching weekends is normally scheduled between 9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Part-time students typically study for fewer block weekends across an academic year
  • Attendance dates and timetables are available before enrolment to support the arrangement of annual leave where required


Your career

This postgraduate programme is designed to enable therapists to develop their practice to a postgraduate level of clinical reasoning and skills application. The applied, practical nature of the delivery with focus on the horse rider will develop practical skills with an evidence-based approach for injury management and to enhance performance. Working within their scope of professional practice, the graduate will be in integral part of the multidisciplinary team supporting the horse and rider dyad.

On-campus opportunities

Our commercial equine therapy and performance centres offer opportunities for students to gain industry experience to support their careers. With teams made up of expert personnel alongside volunteers, you could have the opportunity to get hands-on with clinical cases and to network with the range of allied professionals that involved in the rehabilitation and management of the horses, including veterinarians, farriers, nutritionists and more.

Furthermore, opportunities exist to gain valuable industry experience by volunteering at the national and international level events hosted by our Equine Centre. These include the Five Star Hartpury Horse Trials and the Hartpury International Festival of Dressage.

Find out more about our commercial equine activities below.

Guest lecturers

Guest lecturers may be used to enhance our delivery and provide you with additional insight into professional practice as a rider musculoskeletal therapist, enabling you to experience different businesses, careers and best practices.

Graduate destinations

As a graduate, you'll be ready to progress directly into the specialist field of horse rider injury management and performance, whether as an independent practitioner or within a professional organisation.


Rider analysis in progress at Hartpury Rider Performance Centre

World-class facilities

You’ll have access to a diverse range of facilities while you’re here, many of which are newly built and world-class. Alongside lectures halls and workshop spaces, these include:

Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance

Our Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance is the most advanced of its kind at an academic institution in the world. It provides the perfect place for you to develop real-world expertise, providing access to world-leading equipment and industry experts. Facilities within the centre are incorporated into relevant modules within the programme and, where relevant, are available for use within your postgraduate research project.

Equine Centre

Comprising our commercial livery yard for 230 horses and modern equestrian facilities, our Equine Centre provides a diverse learning and research environment. Riders and horses at different performance levels, alongside diversity of stabling types, offer students extensive opportunities to enhance their learning and practice. Projects recently undertaken utilising Equine Centre resources have uncovered new knowledge in nocturnal behaviour, workload modelling, dietary supplement efficacy and performance parameter assessments, to name only a few.

Student squatting in Hartpury gym

Strength and Conditioning Gym

As part of our £8.8million Sports Academy developments, our Strength and Conditioning Gym will allow you to develop your practical strength and conditioning skills using real-world equipment and technologies that are utilised by coaches to enhance strength, power, speed and injury prevention qualities.

Study spaces

Our University Learning Centre has books, journals, ebooks, computers and breakout study spaces. In addition, we have a study Lounge - an informal space with sports equipment, study booths and chill-out spaces to support both studying and relaxation. Postgraduate students also have a specially designated study area with 24-hour access.

Take the virtual tour

Explore our outstanding facilities on our virtual tour below.

Virtual tour

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Students with 2:2 and relevant experience will be considered on a case by case basis.


Students with non-relevant qualifications but with sufficient work experience or professional experience will be considered on an individual basis.


In addition to the academic qualification an IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required.

Please contact us for further information:

Fees and funding

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 associated with studying this course, as well as costs associated with living and extra-curricular activities that might be of interest.

Clothing and footwear (circa £100)

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

You will also need clothing suitable for in clinic musculoskeletal assessments and if you would like to experience our horse simulators, suitable clothing will be required

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.

Performance Sports Academy membership

Find out costs and details for joining one of our performance Sports Academy teams.

Sports Academy details

Hartpury gym

Find out about costs and details for joining the Hartpury gym.

Gym options

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.

Get in touch

We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch. You can ask a specific question or simply pop your details in to be kept up-to-date with news and events.

Hartpury equine student

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.

*Reflects activities after 15 months for those who graduated in 2020