Level 6 Equine Physiotherapy Diploma Programme

Enrolments are being accepted now.


Study weeks

We are delighted to be running study weeks again from our new purpose built centre, with robust Covid protocols in place to ensure the safety of students, staff and other visitors.   In between study weeks, in addition to the e-learning and course materials, we’re also making excellent use of live and pre-recorded webinars and online teaching sessions to ensure a high quality and valuable learning experience.


Spring 2022 cohort: Enrolments now being accepted.

Pre-course induction reading: Starts upon enrolment.

Online programme start date:  Monday 14 March 2022

Induction Study Week 1 Date:  18 – 22 July 2022


Enrol now to get a head start with the theoretical content.


This programme is accredited by the:

  • Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP)
  • Institute of Registered Veterinary & Animal Physiotherapists (IRVAP)
  • International Association of Animal Therapists (IAAT)


Aims of the programme

  • To instil an understanding of the ethical and legal principles applicable to the application of equine therapy
  • To equip learners with the skills and knowledge required to:
    • administer first aid to horses following injury
    • maintain or restore health and soundness in the horse
    • enable them to plan and implement optimum rehabilitation programmes
  • To promote effective communication and liaison with owners, veterinary surgeons and other professionals when planning and implementing treatment and rehabilitation programmes for equine patients
  • To develop the academic and professional skills that will allow learners to identify further specialist training needs and areas for professional development
  • To encourage learners to explore and evaluate the scientific evidence and recent developments relating to the use of a range of therapeutic modalities in treatment and rehabilitation programmes
This specialist qualification is classified as customised provision and is quality assured and approved by Pearson Assured. It is not listed on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). The certificate awarded is a Pearson Assured Certificate.  Pearson Assured is a service that assures the quality of the processes underpinning the design, delivery, quality assurance and/or assessment of the organisation’s own education or training programmes.


The Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP)

TOCES is fully approved by the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP) as an Accredited Educational Provider (AEP). This means our Level 6 Diploma in Equine Physiotherapy fully and wholly fulfils RAMP’s educational criteria, allowing UK graduates to apply directly for RAMP registration.

  • RAMP aims to endorse best practice methods in the industry of animal musculoskeletal therapy and is committed to protecting the public and their animals, and promoting public confidence in the animal musculoskeletal occupation it registers.
  • RAMP registered practitioners follow a strict code of conduct, work within their scope of practice, comply with CPD requirements and have appropriate insurance.
  • All professionals registered with RAMP demonstrate high standards of proficiency and professionalism, equivalent to the demands of the statutory regulatory bodies governing Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy in the human domain.

Successful completion of TOCES Diploma in Equine Physiotherapy ensures graduates meet RAMP’s Gold Standard of practice.  For further information about RAMP: http://www.rampregister.org/education/accredited-educational-providers/


The Institute of Registered Veterinary & Animal Physiotherapists (IRVAP)

The Level 6 Diploma in Equine Physiotherapy is accredited by the Institute of Registered Veterinary & Animal Physiotherapists (IRVAP).

Upon completion graduates will be able to apply for IRVAP membership and will be permitted to use the post nominals MIRVAP.  High standards in professionalism and clinical proficiency are assured through IRVAP’s stringent accredited registration process.


  • The IRVAP Code of Practice sets a clear benchmark and expectation of all of its members.
  • The Code reflects the legal, professional, ethical and organisational requirements members are responsible to meet in their conduct and practice.
  • Registration with IRVAP coupled with endorsing the shared values of the animal therapy profession empowers the Code of Practice to raise standards, increase public protection and promote the best possible service for animals and their owners.

For further information about IRVAP: https://www.irvap.org.uk/


The International Association of Animal Therapists (IAAT)

The IAAT is an international group of therapists who work under veterinary referral.  The association’s primary objective is to promote excellence in animal therapy by:

  • Having a robust registration process
  • Ensuring continuing membership standards
  • Maintaining robust continuing professional development (CPD) standards
  • Working collaboratively with other organisations to share best practice
  • Maintaining links to leading insurance companies

An IAAT therapist:

  • Must have completed a recognised and thorough training programme
  • Is committed to continuous professional development
  • Will be fully insured
  • Will adhere to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966

For further information about the IAAT http://www.iaat.org.uk/


Throughout every aspect of the design of this course, rigorous quality standards have been the top priority, including:

  • course syllabus and content – to ensure the course is ‘fit for purpose’;
  • academic level and workload – to ensure the course is academically rigorous;
  • teaching strategy – to ensure learners benefit from a team of highly qualified professionals in both the face to face setting, and whilst studying online;
  • practical tuition – to ensure learners are taught to the highest standards in a practical setting;
  • skills practice – to ensure learners undertake a minimum of 1000 hours of practical work;
  • assessment strategy – to ensure both practical skills and academic knowledge and understanding are assessed using a range of assessment techniques.

The course is designed with reference to the requirements of the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP) and the Sector Skills Council’s (Lantra) National Occupational Standards (NOS).

If, upon completion of the Equine Physiotherapy Diploma Programme you intend to progress to post-graduate study, check the exact entry requirements of the university offering the MSc you wish to apply for.


Course overview

Completion of the qualification will meet the needs of learners aiming to work in the field of equine physiotherapy, providing the skills set needed to work as an equine healthcare paraprofessional and carry out non-invasive therapeutic techniques. The programme can provide the basis for additional specialist training within specific modalities.

Following veterinary assessment, certain health conditions require physiotherapy, and the veterinary surgeon may refer the horse for further treatment to be administered by a suitably qualified therapist. This programme enables learners to study the static and dynamic structure of the horse and the link between structure, movement, soundness and performance.

Learners will develop an understanding of the merits, modalities and application of a range of physical therapies and rehabilitation strategies used to restore and maintain mobility, function and performance in the horse. It is designed to develop skills of independent enquiry and an awareness of developments in equine therapies, broadening the learner’s perspective on the treatment of equine disease and injury.

Learners will study the legal framework applicable to veterinary professionals and paraprofessionals ensuring a full comprehension of the legal, professional and ethical responsibilities incumbent on the equine health practitioner.

Learners will investigate the range of manual therapies and therapeutic machines, appraising their benefits and mode of use. Upon completion of this programme learners will have encountered concepts that encompass all aspects of equine therapy from simple massage techniques to the use of sophisticated machines and equipment, and will be equipped to progress into this emerging field as an educated equine therapeutic practitioner.

The programme is delivered via blended learning using a combination of printed materials, e-learning, live and pre-recorded online lectures and webinars. 1000 hours of practical work is undertaken via study weeks at TOCES, occupational experience shadowing practitioners, externships (independent work) and placements at equine welfare centres over the course of the programme.

The programme is delivered at Higher Education Levels 4, 5 and 6 (Degree level).



Level 4

Study Skills in Higher Education
Equine Anatomy and Physiology
Equine Health Management
Equine Veterinary Management
The Legal, Professional and Ethical Framework
Thermal, Magnetic and Electro Therapies

Level 5

Applied Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation 1
Equine Biomechanics
Equine Orthopaedics and Neurophysiology
Manual Therapies
Exercise and Movement Therapy

Level 6

Applied Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation 2
Research Methods
Applied Equine Physiotherapy
Dissertation (Physiotherapy Investigative Project)


Links to further information
1. Equine Physiotherapy Programme Information (14.01.21).

Example Learning Agreement and Withdrawal Policy

Link to Course Taster Pack


Use of the title “Physiotherapist”

There is often confusion about:

  • The correct and permitted use of the title “Physiotherapist” and the word “Chartered”.
  • Who is allowed to perform physiotherapy and under what circumstances.

In the human field, the title “Physiotherapist” is protected by the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC states that prefixes such as “Animal”, “Equine” or “Veterinary” clearly indicates that the person concerned does not treat humans and that there is no intention to deceive.

The use of the term “Physiotherapist” in this context causes discussion in some professional quarters as it is possible for someone to operate as an ‘equine physiotherapist’, ‘animal physiotherapist’ and/or ‘veterinary physiotherapist’, regardless of the quality, or quantity, of training they have undertaken.

The term ‘Chartered’ relates to the field of human physiotherapy; there isn’t a charter relating to animal, equine or veterinary physiotherapy. There is no legal requirement to train as a human physiotherapist in order to work as an animal physiotherapist. Chartered physiotherapists are registered but only in their capacity as a human physiotherapist – not as an animal physiotherapist.

With regard to who is allowed to perform physiotherapy and under what circumstances, the Veterinary Surgery exemption order (1962) allows for the treatment of animals by “physiotherapy”, provided that the animal has first been seen by a veterinary surgeon who has diagnosed the condition and decided that it should be treated by physiotherapy under his or her direction.

Physiotherapy is interpreted as including a range of manipulative therapies including osteopathy and chiropractic but not including acupuncture or aromatherapy. Physiotherapy includes the use of specially designed exercises and equipment to promote, maintain and restore physical health and abilities.

There is a high level of interest in equine therapies and a peruse of the internet reveals many courses and training programmes available in the UK, from a relatively basic standard through to Masters level, enabling learners to train and qualify in a wide range of therapeutic modalities and, once qualified, many go on to offer therapy and rehabilitation as a professional service. Many of the high quality under-graduate programmes are run as full-time programmes; this mode of study isn’t always convenient or possible for the intended student profile of TOCES’ Equine Physiotherapy Diploma Programme.

TOCES takes a positive approach to professionalism and training relating to the field of equine physiotherapy.

Graduates of the Equine Physiotherapy Diploma Programme will be required to sign a declaration agreeing to:

  • work as part of a wider multi-professional team with due regard for the restrictions that apply under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966
  • practice to the extent that they have established, maintained and developed their ability to work safely and competently
  • ensure that they have appropriate professional liability insurance cover for that practice
  • undertake career-long learning, continuing professional education (CPD) and development to maintain fitness to practise.

Further guidance is provided on the RCVS website: http://www.rcvs.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/code-of-professional-conduct-for-veterinary-surgeons/supporting-guidance/treatment-of-animals-by-unqualified-persons/

We recommend that applicants contact a specialist insurance broker for advice regarding appropriate insurance.

The Equine Physiotherapy Diploma Programme has been designed to meet the needs of learners aiming to work in the field of equine physiotherapy with particular reference to UK laws. It is the responsibility of any international student who wishes to study this programme to research the laws residing around practising equine physiotherapy in their own country.


Assessment method

A range of assessment methods will be used, including:

Essay style assignment submissions

  • Online assessments (inc MCQs)
  • Practical and oral assessment at study week
  • Invigilated written examinations at study week
  • Case studies
  • Poster presentations
  • Peer group presentations
  • Project work
  • Portfolio completion
  • Dissertation thesis
  • Viva voce


Course Accreditation

Academic Level:

Higher Education Levels 4, 5 and 6

Number of units/modules:


Study Hours per Unit:


Total Hours:


Course Duration:

4 years

The programme is taught via tutor-supported e-learning and attended sessions at study weeks. During study weeks lectures will combine classroom and yard based studies. The different topics of the programme will be taught and assessed by appropriately qualified staff, with a wealth of experience in their field.

Study weeks are held at TOCES in Suffolk. During the study weeks and internships there will be a high level of hands-on practical work. You are responsible for arranging, and paying for, your accommodation during study weeks.

Practical work will also be undertaken via occupational experience shadowing practitioners, externships (independent work) and placements at equine welfare centres over the course of the programme.

For all programmes you must be:

  • enthusiastic!
  • prepared to work hard
  • disciplined enough to set aside time to study
  • prepared to undertake independent study
  • Applicants must be aged 18 years and over
  • Applicants must be competent and confident handling horses with extensive equine experience. This experience may be employment based and/or gained through competition experience.
  • Non-native English speakers or those who have not studied the final two years of school in English, must demonstrate capability in English at a standard commensurate with IELTS 5.5

Applicants who have recently been in education should have at least one of the following:

  • Level 3 qualification in Horse Management or equivalent;
  • GCE AS and A level profile that demonstrates strong performance in a relevant subject or an adequate performance in more than one GCE subject. This profile is likely to be supported by GCSE grades at A* to C;
  • other related level 3 qualifications;
  • an Access to Higher Education Certificate received from an approved further education institution;
  • related work experience.

Mature applicants (i.e. over 21) may present a more varied profile of achievement that is likely to include extensive work experience (paid and/or unpaid) and/or achievement of a range of professional qualifications in their work sector.

Course Accreditation

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Module/Unit Details

  • Module 1 Unit 4.1 Study Skills in Higher Education

    • Planning study time taking into account other commitments
    • Planning and carrying out literature searches
    • Accessing information from a range of sources
    • Making judgements about the validity and integrity of information sources
    • Presenting academic information effectively in a range of formats, avoiding plagiarism
  • Module 2 Unit 4.2 The Legal, Professional and Ethical Framework

    • The ethical and legal principles of the application of equine therapy
    • The need to work as part of a wider multi-professional team with due regard for the restrictions that apply under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966
    • The requirements of professional practice within the field of equine physiotherapy
    • The need to be able to establish and maintain safe environments for practice, which minimise risks to service users, those treating them and others, including the use of hazard and infection control
  • Module 4 Unit 4.4 Equine Health Management

    • Routine husbandry and health management
    • The role of farriery in horse health
    • The effect of pain on equine behaviour
    • The importance of correct dental care
    • How saddles should be fitted
  • Module 5 Unit 4.5 Equine Veterinary Management

    • Physiology of wound healing
    • Effective wound treatment strategies
    • How to differentiate between a sound and an unsound horse
    • Diagnostic techniques used by the veterinarian
    • The role of the physiotherapist in the team
  • Module 6 Unit 4.6 Thermal, Magnetic and Electro Therapies

    • Physics underpinning electrotherapy, laser, magnetic therapy and therapeutic ultrasound
    • Therapeutic effects of cryo-, heat-, electro-, laser and magnetic therapy, therapeutic ultrasound
    • Indications and contra-indications of these modalities
    • How to devise appropriate treatment plans for these modalities
    • How to apply these modalities in clinical practice
  • Module 10 Unit 5.10 Manual Therapies

    • Handling horses safely and optimize own safety during treatments
    • Principles underpinning the use of certain therapeutic modalities, including contraindications
    • Application of stretch and massage therapies in the treatment of horses
  • Module 11 Unit 5.11 Exercise and Movement Therapy

    • Therapeutic exercise to correct impairments, improve musculoskeletal function, and/or maintain the horse’s well-being
    • How to carry out in-hand therapeutic exercises
    • How lunging and training aids can be incorporated into therapeutic exercise regimes
    • The role of exercise equipment and facilities within a therapeutic exercise regime
  • Module 12 Unit 6.12 Research Methods

    • Appropriate research questions and hypotheses whilst considering ethics in research
    • Types of research design and types of data that can be gathered
    • Simple statistical tests using computer software and example data
    • Interpret statistical findings and relating to the research hypothesis
  • Module 13 Unit 6.13 Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation 2

    • Theoretical knowledge of anatomy into practice through palpation
    • Practical application of therapeutic modalities
    • Consolidation of level 5 practical work
    • Interpret findings of symmetry and balance in health and neuromusculoskeletal disease
  • Module 14 Unit 6.14 Applied Equine Physiotherapy

    • The prevalence, or otherwise, of equine scientific and clinical research and literature in the field of equine physiotherapy
    • How to develop appropriate therapy plans for horses with specific problems
    • The correlation between clinical research and the application of equine physiotherapy
  • Module 15 Unit 6.15 Dissertation (Physiotherapy Investigative Project)

    • Plan a unique, valid and relevant project
    • Identify data and information sources and devise systematic methods of collecting and presenting information and data
    • Strategic planning and effective time management skills
    • Explore and evaluate the scientific evidence relating to the use of a range of therapeutic modalities in treatment and rehabilitation programmes


Full Payment


  • Course fees payable annually
  • Year 1 - £5950
  • Year 2 - £4627
  • Year 3 - £4627
  • Year 4 - £4626
  • Tutor support.
  • Online access to course material and assignments.
  • Includes attendance of all Study Weeks and Internships.

Pay as You Learn

£2,974 Initial Fee

  • 45 payments of £375
  • Tutor support
  • Online access to course material and assignments
  • Includes attendance of all Study Weeks and Internships