BHS Stage 4 Care and Management

Academic Level:  Higher Education Level 4
Number of units/modules: 5
Study Hours per Unit: 150
Total Hours:  750
Course Duration:  Maximum 24 months to complete course requirements
Study Week Requirements: Optional Higher Education Study Week

Specifically developed distance learning course material provides all of the information required for students to pass the relevant Care and Management stage examination. A work assignment is completed at the end of each course module and submitted for assessment and tutor feedback. In-text activities and in-text questions are supplemented by a Practical Skills Workbook, which details the practical skills needed to pass the BHS examination. Students record satisfactory attainment of each skill listed in the Skills Workbook and seek verification of the achievement by a colleague or friend.

Once all skills have been attained and all work assignments completed, students may choose to attend the Study Week at TOCES’ yard in Suffolk. The course will help prepare the student for the practical elements of the BHS Stage 4 Care and Management examination, with a mock exam taken on the final day of the course.

Please note that you cannot train for the riding section of the Stage 1 to 4 examinations through distance learning and that in order to attain a BHS Care and Management qualification you must take the examination at a BHS Examination Centre. Structure and content of the range of BHS Courses may be subject to amendment to reflect changes in the BHS examination structure.

  • 16 years and over
  • Experience with horses and be prepared for academic work at higher education level 4
  • If you intend to complete the BHS examinations, the BHS require you to complete these in order from Stage 1, however you can choose to complete a higher level BHS preparation course with us for your own interest.

Module / Unit Details

TOCES BHS examination preparation courses allows those unable to attend traditional training courses or train as a working pupil, to complete BHS Stage 1 to 4 Care and Management examination preparation through distance learning.

Study from home or school

Fit study in around your current commitments and while you gain practical experience in the equine industry.

Full course support

Our dedicated student support tutors are available to assist you throughout your studies. Keep in touch with fellow students too!

Unit 1 - Fitting and Evaluating Specialist Tack and Equipment

The learner will be able to select, fit and provide an in depth evaluation of specialist tack and equipment for a variety of horses in a variety of disciplines.

Unit 2 - Assessing Conformation and Health in Horses

Analyse a horse’s static conformation and evaluate its potential use. Identify a horse’s strengths and weaknesses, asses it for soundness and identify potential causes of lameness. Apply specific foot problems to remedial shoes.

Judge the development of muscles, tendons and ligaments on a horse, summarise common forms of injury and describe procedures for their repair.

Equine first aid – accident and illness prevention, bandaging and splinting, wound treatment. Health and disease, signs of ill health, bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Managing the sick horse. Treatment of miscellaneous ailments.

Unit 3 - Principles of Nutrition and Fittening Horses

The nutrients and digestion. Feed stuffs and rationing. The digestive system.

Exercise physiology. Fittening programmes. Appraising the fitness of a horse.

Categorise levels of fitness for horses in a variety of work, develop programmes and plans to fitten and maintain fitness in horses, including critically comparing suitable diets for horses. Describe and summarise the causes of dehydration in horses and how this may be prevented.

Unit 4 - Principles of Managing and Equestrian Business

How to manage an equestrian business, including insurance requirements, accident and incident reporting, relevant health and safety legislation, yard security, yard and stable construction and design.

How to develop a plan to maintain yard facilities and develop annual grassland maintenance programmes and supervise staff effectively.

Unit 5 - Principles of Horse Physiology

The skeletal structure. Composition, formation and functions of bone, tendons and ligaments. The circulatory system. The respiratory system. The nervous, sensory and endocrine systems. The urinary system. The reproductive systems. Disorders of the systems of the horse.

Selection of breeding stock. Care and management of breeding stock. The reproductive systems. Covering. Pregnancy. Foaling. Care of youngstock.

Behaviour, instincts and vices. Minimising stress.

Understand the physiological systems of the horse and how different regimes will affect its behaviour at various stages of its development. Analyse the well being of a foal pre and post birth and be able to differentiate the health requirements for horses of all ages, including the brood mare. Classify the information required when taking charge of mares during gestation.

Optional Higher Education Study Week

In addition to practical skills, lectures are given by highly qualified and, in some instances, world-renowned, lecturers. The lectures aid understanding of the subject and back up the distance learning material studied. Study Weeks are intensive but relatively informal and include lectures and practical sessions covering the relevant modules of the course and may include visits to, and lectures by professional staff of, the Animal Health Trust, The Royal Veterinary College, Rossdales Equine Hospital, Cambridge University Veterinary School, The British Racing School and The National Stud.

Some lectures are class-room based, whereas others are of a practical ‘hands-on’ nature. Veterinary surgeons give practical lectures which include a demonstration of anatomical dissection. All of the lecturers are experts in their fields and welcome your participation in the sessions through asking questions- don’t miss this opportunity to broaden your knowledge.

Enrolment and Fees

Enrolments are accepted for all courses anytime throughout the year.

Following enrolment, you will receive access to distance learning course material and an allocated course tutor who will be available to assist you throughout your studies.

Full Payment

  • Distance learning course materials in PDF format
  • Tutor support
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The Open College of Equine Studies
33 Pages Lane
Lower Green
Bury St Edmunds
IP28 6NJ

Registered Office:

The Open College of Equine Studies
Eldo House
Kempson Way
Bury St Edmunds
IP32 7AR
Company No. 04354226