Horse on high-speed treadmill In Equine Therapy Centre
BSc (Hons)

Equine Performance and Rehabilitation (with Foundation Year)

UCAS Code: DF38

Typical offer: 32-48 UCAS tariff points or equivalent

Duration: 5 years full-time; part-time available

Placement year: Compulsory

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Apply for this course here:


Course overview

If you’re passionate about maximising equine performance and rehabilitation alongside veterinary and professional teams, then this is the ideal course for you. This degree is also ideal for those looking to combine practical equine skills with a love for science and research.

This foundation year pathway provides an alternative route into degree-level study. It’s ideal for those who need to gain subject-specific knowledge and skills in order to progress onto the full BSc qualification.

You’ll explore the fundamentals in equine performance analysis and rehabilitation, whilst developing your practical horsemanship skills further. The unique incorporation of practical competences ensures continual development of practical skills including ground schooling and equine performance analysis.

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 during your studies, as well as a compulsory placement year before your final year.

Key to the course is developing your leadership skills through dedicated modules and ‘live’ projects. 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.

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

What you'll study

What you'll study

Central to this degree is the training, performance and rehabilitation of the equine athlete. You'll develop practical skills in ground schooling, performance analysis and therapeutic equipment.

Equine anatomy, physiology, veterinary science and nutrition will be core themes in your learning. You’ll examine how these underpin performance and success, as well as the impact of injury and disease on both short-term and long-term performance.

You’ll benefit from world-class facilities, gaining experience in our commercial Equine Therapy Centre and working alongside multi-disciplinary teams of veterinarians, physiotherapists, osteopaths and saddlers.

A work placement during your studies alongside a compulsory integrated placement year means you'll gain valuable industry experience. Students have recently undertaken work placements in veterinary care, rehoming centres and at our state-of-the-art Equine Therapy Centre, as well as at rehabilitation facilities in the UK, USA and Hong Kong, specialising in the retraining of racehorses.

You’ll be exposed to, and be a part of, the latest research in equine performance analysis and rehabilitation, placing you at the forefront of emerging scientific knowledge. Draw on your own experience and interests to develop your own research question, which you’ll explore through your applied research project in your final year. Advance your research skills and delve deeper into the areas you’re passionate about.

Course modules

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.

Level three foundation year (year one)

Compulsory modules

Learn about the scientific method and enquiry, team working, research skills and effective time management.

Undertake an internship role at Hartpury, linked to your programme of study, to develop reflective, practical and transferable skills in preparation for level 4 study.

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

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.

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

Optional modules

There are no optional modules during this year. Your learning is focused on compulsory modules to ensure you have a thorough understanding of key topics to prepare you for module choices in your subsequent years.

Level four (year two)

Compulsory modules

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

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

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

An in-depth look at the scope and management of the equine industry in the UK and Europe.

An introduction to academic and professional development relating to your desired career path. Fundamental practical competencies will be developed throughout.

Study the basic principles of equine feeding and nutrition.

Optional modules

There are no optional modules during this year. Your learning is focused on compulsory modules to ensure you have a thorough understanding of key topics to prepare you for module choices in your subsequent years.

Level five (year three)

Compulsory modules

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

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

Explore the physiological and biomechanical responses to exercise and training alongside the efficacy of equine rehabilitation regimens. The module builds upon practical competencies in ground schooling for performance and rehabilitation.

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.

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 even abroad.

Optional modules

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

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

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

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 - compulsory (year four)

An integrated placement year before your final year gives you further opportunity to put your knowledge and skills into practice and gain valuable industry experience. This could take place in the UK or abroad.

Level six (year five)

Compulsory modules

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

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

Develop practical assistant skills alongside your knowledge and understanding of functional anatomy to evaluate performance and therapeutic training regimes. Develop self-awareness alongside professional practical competency.

Optional modules

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

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

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

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

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. The course is taught in English.

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 during your degree 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 will also include work placement learning as part of some modules.

The foundation year includes an internship using Hartpury’s on-site facilities and industry links.

This course is taught in English.

YearContact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
Level three (year one)30%0%70%
Level four (year two)24%0%76%
Level five (year three)21%12%67%
Placement year (year four)1%80%19%
Level six (year five)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. A mandatory work placement is part of this course during year two. The work placement will take a minimum of 150 hours. A work placement year in an approved rehabilitation setting that is relevant to the programme aims will be supported in year three.

You'll 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 informally during scheduled learning and formally following each assessment.

YearWritten examPractical examCoursework
Level three (year one)28%44%28%
Level four (year two)25%51%24%
Level five (year three)18%32%50%
Placement year (year four)0%0%100%
Level six (year five)24%38%38%

This programme 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

A compulsory work placement forms part of a level 5 core module on this course, alongside an integrated placement year before your final 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.

Our commercial equine yard, equestrian events centre and equine therapy centre also offer opportunities for you to gain industry experience ready for your future career – either on work placements or in a voluntary role.

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.

You'll develop a greater understanding of equine performance and rehabilitation as you take part in study trips to local and national equine institutions. You’ll also hear from industry experts and professionals in lectures and explore potential career paths.

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 graduate, you will understand the complexity of the equine industry and will be capable of working within it, having met industry informed practical competencies.

You'll have a thorough knowledge of the science underpinning performance and rehabilitation and will be able to use this knowledge to appraise training methods, monitor the effectiveness of rehabilitation programmes and analyse equine performance to enter a graduate-level position within the equine industry.

You’ll also have the transferable skills you need for other graduate careers. Our careers team can support you to find and prepare to secure your perfect role. Typical graduate destinations might include:

  • Equine therapy centre management
  • Rehabilitation and re-training on competition and racing yards
  • Postgraduate study, eg. McTimoney practitioner
  • Equine performance analyst


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:

Equine Therapy Centre

The Equine Therapy Centre has extensive facilities including a Sato high-speed treadmill and an Aquafit water treadmill. You'll have the opportunity to gain industry experience working alongside the therapy team. The facilities are also used as part of teaching, providing opportunities for demonstrations and data collection as part of research projects.

Commercial equine yard

We have a large commercial yard with stabling for 230 horses, including 125 boxes for student livery. We take horses on a loan basis, which are used during the semesters for educational and teaching purposes. This provides you with the opportunity to apply theory to practice in topic areas such as behaviour, training and human-horse interactions.

International equine events centre

Our equestrian centre hosts many 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 at these events, where you can experience behind the scenes and make valuable industry connections. You'll also enjoy a front-row seat to witness Olympic, World and European champions right here at Hartpury.

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 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 two A-levels.

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

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

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

  • Irish Leaving Certificate | Typical offer is 32-48 UCAS tariff points in the Irish Leaving Certificate. This must include a minimum of one Highers. This must also include Maths and English Language at a minimum of Ordinary Level.

  • OCR Cambridge Technical | Typical offer is a PPP 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. 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:

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 to purchase some specialist kit and clothing before you enrol, or during enrolment week. In particular, appropriate footwear for practical sessions on the yard. We’ll let you know exactly what you need to purchase in your enrolment guide.

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'll have the chance to engage in various trips and visits as part of your course. While many of these are included in the course fees, there is the opportunity to engage in additional optional tours which may require self-funding.

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.

Olympic-standard quality

You could have opportunities to work as part of veterinary teams with real horses in our commercial Equine Therapy Centre that treats development and performance athletes including 2016 Olympic champion Valegro who visits regularly to stay in shape.

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.