Level 5 Diploma in Equine Sports Massage and Rehabilitation

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.


Aims of the programme

  • To instil an understanding of the ethical and legal principles applicable to the application of equine therapy
  • 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 equip learners with the skills and knowledge required to:
    • administer first aid to horses following injury
    • plan and implement optimum rehabilitation programmes
    • apply therapeutic techniques including sports massage
  • To develop the professional skills that will allow learners to identify further specialist training needs and areas for professional development
  • To provide a programme of training which permits progression onto further training courses.


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 300 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 has been designed with reference to the requirements of the Sector Skills Council’s (Lantra) National Occupational Standards (NOS).

If, upon completion of the Level 5 Diploma in Equine Sports Massage and Rehabilitation programme you intend to progress to higher level study, check the exact entry requirements of the university offering the programme you wish to apply for.


Course overview

Completion of this programme will meet the needs of learners starting out in the field of equine therapeutics, providing the skills needed to work as an equine healthcare paraprofessional and carry out non-invasive therapeutic techniques including manual therapies, such as sports massage, and movement and exercise therapies such as pole work. The programme provides the basis for additional specialist training within specific modalities.

Learners will study the legal framework applicable to paraprofessionals ensuring understanding of the legal and ethical responsibilities of the equine health practitioner.   The anatomy and physiology of the horse will be studied.  This programme will enable learners to understand 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.

Upon completion of the programme graduates will have completed 1900 hours of study, including 300 hours of practical work, delivered over 26 months via structured blended learning.

Practical work will be undertaken at study weeks and whilst completing case studies.



Level 4

The Legal, Professional and Ethical Framework
Equine Anatomy and Physiology
Equine Health Management

Level 5

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


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 the Level 5 Diploma in Equine Sports Massage and Rehabilitation.

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

Graduates of the Level 5 Diploma in Equine Sports Massage and Rehabilitation 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.


Graduates have the option to ‘top up’ and progress onto the Level 6 Diploma in Equine Physiotherapy.


Assessment methods

A range of assessment methods will be used, including:

  • Essay style assignment submissions
  • Online assessments (inc MCQs)
  • Practical and oral assessments at study weeks
  • Invigilated written examinations at study weeks
  • Case studies
  • Poster presentations
  • Peer group presentations
  • Project work
  • Portfolio completion


Course Accreditation

Academic Level:

Higher Education Level 4 and 5

Number of units/modules:


Study Hours per Unit:


Total Hours:


Course Duration:

26 months

Study Weeks

7 x 4½ day study weeks

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’ newly built equine education centre in Suffolk. During the study weeks there will be a high level of hands-on practical work. You are responsible for arranging, and paying for, your accommodation during study weeks.

All study weeks are held in a COVID-19 secure setting, with strict adherence to social distancing, hygiene and sanitisation.

Should a study week have to be postponed due to COVID-19 lockdown measures, training will continue via tutor-led live and pre-recorded webinars.  Whilst dates and delivery mode may have to adapt, no content will be omitted due to COVID restrictions.


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 aged 18 – 20 years 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;


Applicants aged 21 years or more 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

Need Help?

Can’t find the course you want?
Got a few more questions?

Module/Unit Details

  • Unit 1 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
  • Unit 3 Unit 4.4 Equine Health Management

    • Routine husbandry and health management
    • Sound and unsound horse
    • 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
  • Unit 7 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
  • Unit 8 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


Full Payment


  • Online access to all course material and assignments
  • Tutor support
  • All practical training

Pay as You Learn

£700 Initial Fee

  • 25 monthly Payments of £252
  • Online access to all course material and assignments
  • Tutor support
  • All practical training