BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Horse Management

The course is designed to provide:

  • Education and training for those who seek entry into employment or are employed in a variety of types of work, such as in horse care and management and associated industries
  • Opportunities for learners to gain a nationally recognised Level 3 vocationally related qualification to enter employment or progress to further education or training such as Foundation Degrees in Equine or a similar related subject area
  • The underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills required at this level in horse management industries
  • Information on the role of the horse manager and the opportunities available within the industry locally and nationally
  • Opportunities for learners to focus on the development of Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS) and Functional Skills
  • Opportunities for learners to develop a range of skills and techniques, personal qualities and attitudes essential for successful performance in working life.

BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Horse Management is ideal for:

  • Students aged 16 or above with a basic knowledge of horse management.
  • Students wishing to pursue a career within the equine industry.

Course Accreditation

Academic Level:

Further Education Level 3

Number of Units


Study Hours per Unit:


Total Hours: 


Course Duration: 

24 months

Study Week Requirements:

2 compulsory 5-day study weeks

This programme is delivered through blended learning which consists of tutor-supported online studies via a bespoke virtual learning environment (VLE) combined with practical training. Practical training may, by prior agreement and subject to arrangements made by TOCES, be undertaken at a yard local to the student, e.g. a school if it has equestrian facilities or a BHS approved riding centre. Alternatively, practical training will be gained whilst attending two five-day study weeks here at TOCES.

Upon enrolment students are provided with access onto our online E-Learning Centre where they will find all of their course material, assignments and other helpful study resources.

The course is divided into modules which consist of:

  • Detailed illustrated text.
  • In-text questions to answer and in-text activities to complete as students work through their course material. Separate answer sheets are provided at the end of each module.

Over the course of the programme students will complete assignments for each module. Referring to course material, students complete the work assignments at their own pace and submit each in turn for marking and assessment. Student work is assessd by qualified tutors, graded where appropriate and returned to with detailed feedback. Students will also complete practical assessments at study weeks.

  • Aged 16 or over
  • Learners who have recently been in education must hold at least one of the following:
    • a Pearson BTEC level 2 qualification in Horse Management or a related vocational area
    • a standard of literacy and numeracy supported by a general education equivalent to four GCSEs at grade A*- C
    • other related level 2 qualification

Mature learners (21 and over) may present a more varied profile of achievement that is likely to include experience of paid and/or unpaid employment.

If studied as part of the funded Technical Certificate provision learners must be in one of the following situations:

  • At school or college, studying this programme within school hours
  • If you do not want to stay on at school or go to college full-time you can work or volunteer for a minimum of 20 hours a week and study
    For all other learners it is not necessary to be working with horses to undertake this programme.

Course Accreditation

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Module/Unit Details

  • Unit 1 Understand and Promote Animal Health

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    Recognising indicators of health in animals:
    Behaviour, posture, coat condition, weight, temperature, pulse, respiration, movement, mucous membranes, faeces and urine output, vocalisation, eating and drinking, handling techniques, handling equipment.

    Common diseases and disorders, treatment and prevention:
    Common diseases, endo parasites and ecto parasites, notifiable diseases, zoonotic diseases, common disorders, treatments and administration routes and prevention. Immune system, active, passive, natural and acquired immunity, the role of the immune system in disease control.

    Promote and maintain the health and wellbeing of animals:
    Husbandry requirements; enrichment; exercise; accommodation; five animal needs; record keeping; preventative care and treatments.

    Deliver and record basic animal treatments:
    Vaccination; worming; de-lousing; grooming; health checking; administration of treatments; restraining for delivering treatments; dental care; foot care.

  • Unit 2 Undertake and Review Work Related Experience in the Land-based Industries

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    Opportunities in the environmental and land-based industries:
    Students will gain experience in the range of roles available within the equine sector.

    Prepare for a work-based experience in the environmental and land-based industry:
    Identification of work-related aspirations and work-related activities; relevant documents e.g. curriculum vitae, letter of application. Interview skills, body language, personal appearance, effective communication. Importance of reliability, attendance, punctuality, commitment and use of initiative; cooperation. Students will also have target aims and objectives to complete though their work experience and be able to assess health and safety.

    Undertake a work-based experience in the environmental and land-based industry:
    Students will undertake work-related experience within the equine sector. Keep relevant records including personal diary recording activities completed.

    Review a work-based experience in the environmental and land-based sector:
    Students will present information on their work experience. Personal development, objective setting, reasons for monitoring and review, education and training opportunities, value of induction.

  • Unit 3 Select, Fit and Evaluate Horse Tack and Equipment

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    Applying and evaluating the fit of saddles and bridles:
    Bridles, bits, nosebands, reins, saddles and specialist tack e.g. over-girths, training aids. Assessment of safety and cleanliness, importance of correct fit. Maintenance of tack such as cleaning, hygiene and storage.

    Applying and evaluating the fit of equipment:
    Martingales, breastplates and training aids. Purposes and selection of suitable equipment and clothing.

    Selecting and fitting rugs:
    Indoor rugs, rollers, surcingles, turn out rugs and coolers. Purposes and selection of suitable equipment and clothing.

    Selecting and fitting bandages and protective equipment:
    Tail bandages, stable/travel bandages, exercise bandages, boots, tail guard and poll guards. Purposes and selection of suitable equipment and clothing.

  • Unit 4 Plan and Monitor Animal Feeding

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    Planning diets and feeding regimes for animals:
    Types of foods for different herbivore, carnivore and omnivore species, major nutrients, nutritional sources of different feeds, selection of suitable food, preparation of diets, suitable amounts of food, food alternatives, timing and frequency of feeding. Feeding animals in a group or individually, ways to present foods (e.g. enrichment), planning for species, feeding at different life stages and cost of feeding.

    Monitoring the feeding of animals:
    Amount of food eaten, weight of animals, type of food eaten e.g. selective feeders, water intake, change in feeding patterns including feeding behaviours, timing between monitoring, feeding requirements in relation to animal work load/uses and recommendations for changes in feeding

    Planning and monitoring animal feeding regimes:
    Feeding plans and regimes, influences on animal health and welfare. Analysis of wastage and how to prevent this, effectiveness of plans against a budget, cost of feeding over time and feeding and feed quality in relation to animal work load/uses.

  • Unit 5 Prepare Horses for Presentation

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    Preparing horses for presentation:
    Grooming for public presentation, pulling manes and tails, plaiting manes and tails, clipping and trimming techniques, types of clips, trimming, methods of restraint during clipping, health and safety and personal protective equipment (PPE). Standing horses up for inspection, correct tack and equipment, handler’s equipment, presentation and health and safety.

    Preparing and presenting a horse for public presentation:
    Washing, trimming, clipping, grooming for a range of circumstances, plaiting manes and tails, tail bandages and other tail protection, health and safety.

  • Unit 6 Undertake Stable and Yard Management

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    Planning, carrying out, monitoring and maintaining daily routines:
    Daily and weekly routines, regular jobs, team working, effective use of time, recording of tasks. Principles of feeding and watering, rules of feeding, common feedstuffs and forages, preparation and weighing of feeds and forages, feed charts, grazing requirements, daily inspections and grassland checks, poisonous plants, and maintenance of grassland.

    Horse care tasks to maintain the health of horses:
    Health checks, signs of good and ill health, recognition and treatment of common diseases, minor injuries and wounds, health records, veterinary reporting, foot care, shoeing, vaccinations, worming and care of teeth, isolation procedures and first aid.

    The requirements for stabled and grass-kept horses:
    Stable and yard design, stable planning and construction, waste disposal, current relevant legislation, storage, water provision, yard equipment and storage and the identification of risks. Grass kept horses, the ideal field, daily checks to horses and field and the identification of risks.

    Working safely around horses:
    Personal protective equipment (PPE), clothing for safe work, potential hazards, accident prevention, diseases (prevention and treatment), manual handling and lifting techniques, health and safety in the stable environment, fire risk and prevention and procedures in the event of an incident (priorities of first aid, accident reporting).

  • Unit 7 Understand the Principles of Animal Biology

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    The functions of the main animal cell organelles:
    Nucleus, mitochondria, rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, cytoskeleton, Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, plasma membrane, cilia, cell membrane. Cell division, chromosomes, purpose of mitosis (repair and growth) and meiosis (production of sex cells), and stages of each type of cell division.

    The structure and function of the main animal tissue types:
    Simple and stratified epithelia, dense (regular and irregular), loose, supporting and fluid connective tissues, cardiac, smooth and skeletal muscle (including fast and slow muscle); sliding filament theory of muscle contraction and the structure and function of motor and sensory neurones.
    The structure and function of animal skeletal systems. Bones of the axial and appendicular skeleton, vertebral column, limb bones, carpals and metacarpals, tarsals and metatarsals, phalanges, attachment of bones to one another (ligaments) and to muscle (tendons), basic structure, function and location of fibrous, cartilaginous and synovial (ball and socket, hinge, gliding and pivot) joints. Skeletal functions, locomotion, support, mineral storage, formation of blood cells and protection of internal organs.

    The structure and function of sensory organs in animals:
    Eyes, ears, nose, mouth, electroreceptors in fish, lateral line system, and tactile organs. Adaptations of sensory organs and the link between lifestyle and the senses.

  • Unit 8 Understand Animal Anatomy and Physiology

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    The structure and functions of biological systems in animals:
    Major body systems (respiratory, circulatory, digestive, lymphatic, excretory, nervous and endocrine), structure and functions of major organs (brain, heart, lungs, pancreas, liver and kidneys) and the interactions between the systems.

    Animal reproductive processes:
    Male and female reproductive system and the role of reproductive hormones.

    Biological control mechanisms in animals:
    Control mechanisms (positive and negative feedback loops and homeostasis), hormonal control mechanisms, fight-or-flight response, endocrine gland location and hormone action, neural control mechanisms, thermoregulation (ectotherms and endoderms), reflex actions, sensory organs and stimuli, afferent (sensory) and efferent (motor) pathways and the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic).

    How an animal’s body structure and systems are adapted to its environment:
    Evolution, natural selection, extremes of environmental conditions and habitats, adaptation to the environment, body structures (coat/skin, sensory organs, skeletal structure, water conservation) and body systems (reproductive adaptations, thermoregulation and circulatory systems).

  • Unit 9 Understand the Principles of Horse Behaviour and Welfare

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    The natural behaviour of the horse:
    Anatomical and physiological adaptations (e.g. hoof, limb, speed, digestive system, dentition, diet, eye position, and height), five animal senses and their effects on behaviour, communication methods, and natural lifestyle.

    The impact of domestication on the lifestyle and behaviour of the horse:
    Traditional intensive management practices (e.g. stabling, isolation, restricted range and quantity of dietary roughage, concentrate feeds; handling and training methods) and their effects on the horse, Stereotypic behaviours their types and causes, replacement activities, coping strategies, heritability and observational learning.
    Alternative management methods (e.g. group housing, turn out, feeding, bare foot, equipment, and training methods) and scenarios of different management practices (e.g. riding schools, race yards, competition yards, studs, livery yards and private).

    Monitoring and recording the effects of routines on the behaviour of horses:
    Effects of routines, range of behaviours exhibited, monitoring behaviour, recording and analysing findings, methods of observing behaviour and gathering data (video, real time, software packages, scan sampling, numbers in sample), methods of presenting data (graphs, charts), research reports, health and safety, changes in behaviour (e.g. aggression, threats, anxiety, agitation, stress symptoms, excitement, focus of attention, response to handler, learned behaviours) and scenarios in which behaviour can change (e.g. feeding times, grooming, tacking up, applying clothing, mounting, travelling, isolation, introduction of new horses, handling, training, change of handler, reproductive status, group housing)

    Promoting the welfare of horses: To include: the five needs, current issues and organisations relevant to the welfare of horses in the UK.

  • Unit 10 Understand and Apply the Principles of Horse Fitness

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    Physiological effects of fittening on the systems of the horse:
    Physiological effects of the musculo-skeletal, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, effects of physical stress on the horse including metabolism changes, cellular respiration, homeostasis, thermoregulation, blood glucose regulation and calcium regulation.

    Requirements of horse fitness preparation:
    Nutrition, grooming, foot care, tack fitting, clipping and trimming, roughing off, health and safety and health care including preventative treatments, possible health problems (e.g. equine influenza, tetanus and worms) and preventative healthcare (e.g. vaccination and worming treatments).

    Plan horse fitness programmes:
    Traditional methods (e.g. use of roadwork, schooling, lungeing, horse walker, grid work, jumping, hill work, fast work), interval training (speeds, repetitions, duration), non-traditional methods (e.g. treadmills, swimming, fittening for a specific competition, compensation in plan for previous injuries or problems) and reviewing fittening programmes for different disciplines (e.g. sports horses, riding club horses, endurance horses, hunters).

    Monitoring horse fitness:
    Interval training, use of heart rate monitor, recovery rates, weighing horses, temperature monitoring, and problems affecting the competition horse (e.g. dehydration, heatstroke, fatigue, muscle tremors, synchronous diaphragmatic flutters).

  • Unit 11 Prepare and Provide Care for Competition Horses

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    Undertaking pre-competition preparations:
    Event tack, equipment and clothing, provisions for the horse, first aid kit, competition seasons, formalities and paperwork (e.g. passports, vaccinations (influenza, tetanus), registrations, memberships and height certificates), journeys, pre-journey checks, effects of travel on horses, legal aspects: provision of water, tack, equipment and clothing (e.g. bandages for travel, travel boots, knee boots, hock boots, poll guard).

    The preparation of the horse and rider for competition activities:
    Preparation of lorry or trailer and the preparation of event tack, equipment and clothing.

    The care for a horse at competitions:
    Overnight stabling, site plans, location of facilities, security, care of horses in adverse weather conditions (e.g. cold, wet, humid, hot), appropriate presentation of horse for disciplines and the rules, regulations and etiquette at different horse events.

    Providing post-competition care and exercise:
    Immediate and long-term aftercare of the horse (e.g. cooling procedures, removal of tack, washing off, feeding and watering, veterinary surgeon checks, bandages and leg treatments, rehydration, field turnout, rest periods), aftercare of tack and equipment and record keeping.

  • Unit 12 Understand the Principles of Horse Rehabilitation and Therapy

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    Horse performance injuries:
    Performance- related injuries and conditions, causes of poor performance (e.g. fatigue, inadequate fitness, inadequate training, conformation, horse/rider interaction, injuries or underlying conditions), processes for identifying injury.

    Requirements and effective use of therapeutic and diagnostic techniques:
    Therapeutic techniques and the use for different injuries and conditions, methods of use (e.g. application, length, frequency), procedures (e.g. stabilise, initiate therapy, monitor progress); types of therapy (e.g. nursing, rest, controlled exercise, medication, ultrasound, laser, surgical, diet, management, massage, herbalism, acupuncture and acupressure, homeopathy, chiropractic, osteopathy), their effects and diagnostic techniques.

    Equine rehabilitation techniques used to improve performance, including complementary therapies:
    Rehabilitation techniques, use for different scenarios, methods of use (e.g. application, length, frequency) and effects. Complementary therapies for rehabilitation to include: rehabilitation techniques, use for different scenarios, methods of use (e.g. application, length, frequency) and their effects. Methods of assessing effect: e.g. research on clinical efficacy, case studies, qualifications and credentials, time off work, measures of performance improvement (e.g. degree of lameness, recovery rates, competition results, behaviour and attitude); difficulties of measuring effect accurately.

    Laws and regulations relating to equine rehabilitation:
    Current legislation, qualifications, authorised treatments, governing bodies, registration and impact (e.g. protecting welfare, protecting consumers, restricting welfare, restricting consumer choice, protecting/restricting practitioners, regulation of practices). Students will also learn about practitioners in this area e.g. veterinary surgeons, physiotherapists, equine dentists, farriers, complementary practitioners. Veterinary referral procedure (e.g. investigation, diagnosis, second opinion, referral to other practitioners) and the factors associated with rehabilitation referral e.g. costs, insurance, loss of use, time out of training, travelling, welfare, retirement, euthanasia, quality of service and efficacy.

  • Unit 13 Understand the Principles and Practices of an Equine Stud

    The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s knowledge of:

    Planning and management of breeding programmes:
    Evaluation, selection and justification of stock for breeding, purpose of breeding programme, avoidance of indiscriminate breeding, evaluation of pedigrees and bloodlines, assessment of the horse’s physical and mental condition before stud work, determination of timescales and monitoring breeding programmes, methods of improving breeding potential, ethical considerations of using breeding improvement techniques, evaluation of breeding programmes through assessment of progeny, use of technology to improve quality of progeny and adherence to stud-book policy.

    The participation in routine stud activities:
    Assisting with swabbing, teasing, covering, pregnancy diagnosis, foaling, weaning, correct handling techniques for brood mares, mares with a foal at foot, foals, assisting with the handling of stallions (under supervision), preparation of equipment for activities, physical resources required, health and safety, review of activities carried out.

    Planning, monitoring and recording routine care for breeding stock:
    Planning and monitoring routine care of brood mares and stallions and recording stud activity records (e.g. teasing, covering, swabbing, pregnancy diagnosis, foaling).

    The foaling process and aftercare of mare and foal:
    Preparation for foaling (e.g. equipment needed, foaling kit and suitability and adaptation of field or stable), monitoring of mare (e.g. foaling alarms, close circuit television (CCTV) and sitting up duties), the foaling procedure, aftercare and potential problems.


Full Payment


  • Plus BTEC Registration fee £175.50 payable on enrolment
  • Tutor support
  • Online access to all course material and assignments

Pay as You Learn

£349.92 Initial Fee

  • 23 Payments of £136.96
  • Plus BTEC Registration fee £175.50 payable on enrolment
  • Tutor support
  • Online access to all course material and assignments