Level 5 Certificate in Equine Biomechanics

Biomechanics is the study of biological phenomena – their processes, function and structure, using the methods of mechanics.  This short course introduces the principles which underpin biomechanics and will help learners develop an understanding of mechanics and how to apply the principles to equine movement.

You will investigate functional anatomy because bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments comprise the subjects of interest.  This course enables you to develop an awareness of how biomechanics in its purest form attempts to model these tissues; this awareness is then related to the changes in these tissues in response to forces and physical activity.

It will help you to develop an understanding of the value, nature and application of equine gait analysis and allow you to critically evaluate equine movement.  The knowledge gained will allow you to describe the methods and instrumentation by which equine biomechanics are studied.

The integrative and multi-disciplinary nature of this course will encourage you to utilise the knowledge and understanding gained through other units and apply the information learned to improve the performance and welfare of the horses in their care.

On completion of this course you will have encountered concepts that encompass all aspects of equine biomechanics from Newton’s Laws to foot balance.

Course Accreditation

Academic Level:

Higher Education Level 5

Number of Modules:


Study Hours per Unit:


Total Hours: 


Course Duration: 

6 to 12 months

Study Week Requirements:

Optional Higher Education Study Week (Additional fees apply. Please see Study Week page)

Upon enrolment you are provided with access onto TOCES’ online E-Learning Centre where you will find your study guide, study planner, Course Advisor and tutor information, course material, assignments and other helpful study resources.

The HE specialist short courses consist of:

  • Detailed illustrated text in pdf format which you can print or download and save.
  • Online learning resources including in-text questions and activities.
  • Pre-recorded webinars, online lectures and videos.
  • You will study and complete *one formative assignment and *one summative assignment for each short course. Referring to the course material, you will complete the assignments at your own pace, within the maximum study period, and submit online for marking and assessment. Your work is assessed by a qualified tutor, graded and returned to you with detailed feedback.
  • Upon completion of the course you will receive a graded TOCES certificate.

Some short courses offer optional or compulsory study week attendance at TOCES’ yard in Suffolk. This consolidates the theoretical studies with a mixture of taught classroom based lessons and practical sessions.

*HE SC 1 / 2 Equine Anatomy and Physiology has two formative and two summative assignments.

For all HE Specialist Short Courses students must be:

  • at least 16 years old
  • prepared to undertake independent study and hold a
  • level 3 or equivalent qualification in a similar subject area and/or
  • three GCSEs at Grade C (4) and above.

If you do not hold a level 3 qualification you may wish to consider an Intermediate Specialist Short Course.  Satisfactory completion of this will ensure you are suitably prepared for the HE Short Course.

Course Accreditation

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Module/Unit Details

  • Module 1

    Biomechanics of equine locomotion
    – Terminology in the study of equine biomechanics, anatomical nomenclature, meanings of words and theories as they relate to equine biomechanics, Newton’s Laws, dynamic role of biological tissues, adaptations of musculoskeletal tissues to forces, biomechanics of musculoskeletal breakdown and repair.
    Introduction to kinematics – equine dynamics, characterising a force, force and injury.

    Gait analysis
    – Merits of equine gait analysis. Types of gait analysis equipment available for equine locomotion studies, recent published equine biomechanics research, gait analysis equipment, treadmill, photoinstrumentation, the CODA-3, research with the CODA-3, Research using the MacReflex/ProReflex systems, accelerometers, equine kinetic research – ground reaction forces.

    Biomechanical effects of exercise and exercise-induced injuries
    – Define the equine back in terms of mechanical analogues, the suspension bridge theory, the loaded beam theory, the bow and string theory, how muscles work together in chains to support mass and locomotion, link in the horse between his stride and his respiration rates – why and how this occurs.
    Basic biomechanics of the equine foot: importance of foot balance in relation to the long-term soundness of the horse, role of the farrier in the care of the performance horse. Assessing foot balance, hoof/pastern axis and dorso-palmar balance, medio-lateral balance, ground surface of the foot, pair symmetry of hooves and limbs, non-contact of hooves and limbs.
    Biological tissues: loads experienced by tendons during normal locomotion, tendon adaptation, adaptation of ligament, bone loading, bone adaptation, bone fractures, monotonic fractures, fatigue failure, muscle functions, development of tension, effects of training.


Full Payment


  • Online access to all course material and assignments
  • Tutor support
  • Enrolments are accepted at any time throughout the year
  • Additional fees apply for Optional Higher Education Study Week

Pay as You Learn

£50 Initial Fee

  • 4 Payments of £25
  • Online access to all course material and assignments
  • Tutor support
  • Enrolments are accepted at any time throughout the year
  • Additional fees apply for Optional Higher Education Study Week

Online prospectus

View our 2021 prospectus


  • Enrolment and Fees

    Enrolments are accepted for all courses anytime throughout the year

    Following enrolment you will be provided with access onto our online E-Learning Centre where you will find all of your course material, assignments and other helpful study resources.

Online prospectus

View our 2021 prospectus

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