BSc (Hons)

Equestrian Sports Coaching


Typical offer: 112 UCAS points

Duration: 3 or 4 years full time; part-time available

Placement year: Optional

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Apply for this course here: https://www.hartpury.ac.uk/university/courses/undergraduate/bsc-hons-equestrian-sports-coaching/bsc-hons-equestrian-sports-coaching-2023/


Course overview

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.

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.

How to apply Contact us: +44 (0)1452 702244

What you'll study

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.

Level four (year one)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Optional modules

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

Level five (year two)

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

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

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.

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

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

Optional modules

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

Learn and apply psychological skills to improve athlete performance.

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.

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

Integrated placement year (optional)

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.

Level six (final year)

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

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

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

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

Optional modules

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

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

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

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.

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, which is why you'll receive a minimum of 15 hours of scheduled teaching time per week in your first year - this is 25% above the UK average.

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.

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.

Further details

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.

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 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.

YearContact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
Level four (year one)27%0%73%
Level five (year two)24%0%76%
Integrated placement year (optional)1%80%19%
Level six (final year)18%0%82%

You’ll receive a minimum of 15 hours scheduled contact time per week in your first year. In subsequent years, scheduled contact will vary depending on the modules you select but is typically around 12 hours per week.

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.

YearWritten examPractical examCoursework
Level four (year one)24%38%38%
Level five (year two)0%29%71%
Integrated placement year (optional)0%0%100%
Level six (year three)13%28%59%

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.


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


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 lecture halls and workshop spaces, these include:

Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance

Our Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance is the most advanced rider performance centre in the world at an academic institution. The centre includes a state-of-the-art gym facility as well as our unique racing and eventing simulators. You’ll have the opportunity to put theory into practice within your modules here, using the centre to enhance your own performance or that of others.

International equine events centre 

Our equestrian centre plays host to affiliated and unaffiliated shows and events throughout the year, as well as various lectures and demonstrations. Our international events attract competitors, sponsors and spectators from across the globe. You’ll have the opportunity to volunteer to be a part of these events, enjoying a behind-the-scenes look at how competitions are organised and making valuable industry connections along the way. What’s more, you’ll have a front row seat to witness Olympic, World and European champions competing here at Hartpury.

Commercial yard

Hartpury Equine has stabling for 230 horses, including 125 boxes for student livery. Facilities also include two horse walkers, four indoor schools and three outdoor schools. These impressive facilities are the ideal place to refine your coaching skills and teach a range of riders.

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.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • 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:

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.

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.

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.

Hartpury International Festival of Dressage

This annual event provides a fantastic opportunity for students to volunteer as part of our events team, getting up-close-and-personal with professional riders from across the globe.

Book open day

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.

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.