The course is designed to reflect the growing awareness of the need to develop a greater understanding of
equine behaviour. In addition to a solid grounding in Equine Sports Science, you will apply psychological
principles to horses and the partnership that we have developed with them.
About this course
This course provides you with the unique opportunity to apply both scientific and psychological principles when evaluating the horse-human relationship.
Your learning will be based upon the principles of Equine Sports Science, including the anatomy and physiology of the horse, health and husbandry, and sports injury and therapy. Throughout the course, you’ll develop your knowledge in specialist areas including rehabilitation strategies, horse and rider performance, sport psychology and coaching, equine learning and cognition, behavioural analysis, and the therapeutic use of the horse.
The Brackenhurst campus Equestrian Centre is home to a British Horse Society (BHS) approved training and livery establishment. It consists of extensive and unique facilities, including stabling for more than 65 horses,
in which you’ll study and develop your scientific, technical and practical skills.
Learning through a combination of lectures, seminars and research projects at the Equestrian Centre, you’ll undertake practical sessions to develop a range of abilities including laboratory techniques and horse handling skills. Our purpose-made paddocks will provide you with the best possible environment to study the effects of housing design on horse behaviour, movement and feeding habits.
Throughout the course, you’ll hear from external industry professionals through guest lectures and visits to a range of equestrian and research establishments. Your assessment will be based on coursework and formal examinations.
You’ll also be encouraged and supported to gain important relevant industry experience at appropriate organisations throughout the course. Our students have previously been based at places such as behaviour clinics, rehabilitation and retraining centres and in the thoroughbred industry, in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the USA and the UK.
You’ll be equipped to enter a variety of careers. Our graduates have entered fields as diverse as nutrition, veterinary-related roles, equine behaviour retraining, the racing industry, the equine sports industry, and equine charities. Some students have continued on to postgraduate study in equine welfare or embarked on second
degrees in physiotherapy related areas.
What you'll study
- Introduction to Sports Psychology and Coaching
Explore the field of sport and exercise psychology. Study the psychological factors that are associated with elite performance in sport and investigate how these can be applied to equestrian sports.
- Equine Anatomy and Physiology
Gain knowledge of equine body systems and the significance of their interrelationships. Topics include: skeletal
and muscular anatomy, cell biology, tissue structure and function, endocrinology, haematology and physiology.
- Research Skills for Scientists
Develop your skills in scientific writing and communication along with practical laboratory skills.
- Equine Behaviour and Welfare
Study the role that evolution and domestication has played in the development of innate equine behaviour patterns. You’ll asses the consequences of current approaches to horse management on the behaviour and welfare of the horse.
- Equine Health and Husbandry
Gain a scientific introduction to horse health by reviewing theoretical principles of nutrition and veterinary science and applying this knowledge to practical horse husbandry.
- Horse-human Relationship
Take part in practical sessions and develop different methods of handling, training and riding. Investigate the history of the horse-human relationship and the implications for the current uses of the horse.
- Research Methods for Behavioural Sciences
Learn about research principles, experimental design and statistical analysis. You’ll also carry out small-scale research projects.
- Equine Learning and Cognition
Learn about animal cognition and how it relates to the findings for equine cognitive ability. Discuss the various approaches to the study of learning and related theories with reference to their application in horse management and training.
- Equine Health and Nutrition
Explore and evaluate a range of health disorders and problems of the horse, including relevant treatment regimes. You will also study nutritional science, practical feeding and the relationship between nutrition and health.
- Equine and Human Sports Science
Study the structure and function of the equine and human athlete. Develop an understanding of the demands of
equestrian sports on horse and rider.
Example optional modules (choose one of the following):
- Analysis of Equestrian Performance
Explore the developing technologies available to riders, coaches and trainers for the analysis of performance and exercise psychology. You’ll also study a range of mental preparation techniques and consultative approaches.
- Sports Injury
Study the common injuries affecting sports horses and examine the implications for health and welfare.
- International Study
Undertake an independent investigation into an area related to equine science or the equine industry with an international emphasis. This can include a short international placement opportunity.
- Therapeutic Use of the Horse
Explore the different ways in which animals are utilised in human therapy. Investigate the wide range of therapeutic uses of the horse that exist both nationally and internationally.
This is a placement year for students on the four year course.
- Emerging Issues, Ethics and Welfare
Investigate and examine emerging ethical and welfare issues related to the horse. Learn how to critically evaluate these issues and explore the challenges you are likely to face when entering employment within the
Carry out an original investigation into a chosen area of study. Focus on your own areas of interest within equine sports science.
- Assessment of Equine Behaviour
Explore the different methods of assessing equine behaviour and critically evaluate their application.
- Optimising Performance
Develop a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating the factors that contribute to optimal performance in the sports horse. Focus on recent advances in scientific research and technology and explore the impact of these on equestrian sports.
Example optional modules (choose one of the following):
- Animal Assisted Interventions (Equine)
Study selected areas of interest relating to animal assisted interventions. You will develop global knowledge and
understanding of the sector.
- Rehabilitation Strategies for Horse and Rider
Gain an awareness and appreciation of a range of rehabilitation programmes, strategies and models available to both horse and rider.