Level 4 Certificate in Equine Exercise Physiology, Fitness and Training

This short course introduces the concepts of exercise physiology by detailing how the normal horse responds to the increased physiological demands of exercise.  The course emphasises the specific aspects of physiology and anatomy that are unique to the horse and allow it to be a superior athlete.  In addition to normal exercise physiology, this course covers the concepts of “fitness” and “training”.


Different types and levels of fitness are required for different disciplines. This course covers the principles of training (intensity, duration, volume, frequency), how to monitor the response to training (measurement of fitness and/or performance) and training for different disciplines. In addition, training to develop specific skills and education of the horse as well as preparation for competition will be covered.

Course Accreditation

Academic Level:

Higher Education Level 4

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

Module/Unit Details

  • Module 1

    Physiological response to exercise
    – Physiological adaptations of each of the body systems to exercise. Principles underlying fatigue, thermoregulation, and fluid and electrolyte balance.

    Fittening horses for specific disciplines
    – Assessment of fitness at rest and during exercise using work history, physical condition, muscle tone and development, resting heart rate. Assessment of fitness during and after exercise. General aims of training, differences between skills training, mental preparation for competition and physical training and fittening of the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems.

    Fitness programmes
    – Traditional fittening, interval training and interval training to advanced levels. Evaluation of different methods of training including endurance training, sprint training, speed test system, swimming, horse walker, treadmills. Monitoring to assess fitness, heart rate, weight, determining the anaerobic threshold.

    Preparation of horses for specific disciplines
    – Principles of flatwork training, training to Elementary level, principles of jump training, cross country training. Tack and training equipment: bridles and bitting, saddle, martingales, breastplates, over girth, boots, tack for different disciplines. Artificial schooling aids including chambon, De Gogue, Market Harborough, draw reins.


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

  • 2 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