TOCES Diploma in Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation

The Open College of Equine Studies is now accepting enrolments for the Diploma in Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation for entry in September 2018.

The programme is comprised of:

Level 4

70 credits (700 hours) at HE Level 4
Level 5

120 credits (1200 hours) at HE Level 5

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

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


Aims of the programme:


  • instil an understanding of the ethical and legal principles applicable to the application of equine therapy;
  • equip learners with the skills and knowledge required to
    • maintain or restore health and soundness in the horse;
    • plan optimum rehabilitation programmes;
  • promote effective communication and liaison with owners, veterinary surgeons and other professionals when planning and implementing treatment and rehabilitation programmes for equine patients;
  • develop the professional skills that will allow learners to identify further specialist training needs and areas for professional development;
  • provide a programme of training which permits progression onto further training courses.

Study from home

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!

Learn while you earn

Continue to work full, part time or volunteer!

Course overview:

TOCES Diploma in Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation – Programme Information

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 long-reining and pole work. The programme provides the basis for additional specialist training within specific modalities.

Learners will study the legal framework applicable to veterinary professionals and paraprofessionals ensuring a full comprehension of the legal and ethical responsibilities of the equine health practitioner.

With a focus on the underpinning anatomy and physiology, 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.

The programme will be delivered via blended learning using a combination of printed materials, e-learning and online lectures and webinars.  Practical work will be undertaken via study weeks, internships at TOCES, and externships (independent work) over the course of the programme.

Course modules:
Level 4

Level 5

  • The Legal, Professional and Ethical Framework
  • Equine Anatomy and Physiology
  • Equine Health Management
  • Equine Biomechanics
  • Applied Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation 1
  • Equine Orthopaedics and Neurophysiology
  • Manual Therapies
  • Exercise and Movement Therapy

As part of the quality assurance process, the syllabus is under professional review and may be subject to slight modifications.

January 2018 course fee: £7000

The above fees include all study weeks, assessments and examinations. The fees do not include travel or study week accommodation costs.

There is the option of spreading the cost using the finance arrangement.


36 Monthly Instalments

£1000 £192.13

The above figures are examples of finance arrangements available and can be adjusted to suit your individual circumstances.  Deposits payable must equal a minimum of 10% of the course fee.

Please refer to the Finance tab below for further information.

Finance information:

If you are paying for your course privately and wish to spread the cost of your course fees you may apply for our finance options offered by our finance partners, Omni Capital*. Please indicate on your enrolment form if you wish to apply for finance.

  • Applicants must be 18 or over and have been a permanent UK resident for the last 3 years.
  • Please note that we are currently unable to offer finance options if payment of course fees is to be made through a business.
  • *Omni Capital is a responsible lender and as such will take great care to ensure applicants only take on a commitment that they can afford and for which they are financially suited.

Step 1: You will receive a link to apply to Omni Capital once we have received the completed enrolment forms.

Step 2: The application process is quick and simple. Omni Capital is usually able to validate the identification of an applicant without the requirement for additional identification. There may be some situations where further documentation is required; this can be provided online and there is no requirement for paper documentation.

You will be taken through a simple application form and guided clearly through the pre-contract explanation before digitally signing the application with ‘eSignature’. Once submitted a decision is returned within 10 seconds.

Step 3: As soon as your application is approved, TOCES will contact you via email to arrange payment of the deposit (initial payment). This can be made via credit/debit card or via bank transfer.


Omni Capital pre-finance contract information
Sample Omni Capital credit agreement
Accreditation and approval status:

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 will 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 1000 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 TOCES Diploma in Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation you intend to progress to higher level study, check the exact entry requirements of the university offering the programme you wish to apply for.

The validation/accreditation status of this programme may change in the future.



There is one cohort per annum and places on this programme are limited.

Important dates for September 2018 starts:

Enrolment deadline: 30th June 2018
Induction materials provided: 13th August 2018
Course start date: 3rd September 2018
First study week: 14th January 2019


Graduate declaration:

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

Graduates of the TOCES Diploma in Equine Therapy 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.


All equine paraprofessionals practising in any therapy must obtain veterinary consent prior to working on horses. Further guidance is provided on the RCVS website:

We recommend that applicants contact a specialist insurance broker for advice regarding appropriate insurance.

TOCES Equine Therapy qualifications:

TOCES offers training programmes in Equine Physiotherapy and Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation. A brief overview of the content encompassed by each programme is provided here:

Prior to commencing a career as an equine therapist, it is imperative to acknowledge and understand the scope of practise of the intended therapy. 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.

While not professionally protected, the use of the term “Equine Physiotherapist” should reflect a prolonged and academically rigorous training programme. However, with a variety of complementary therapies in wide use in the industry, learners may choose to practise in alternative modalities for a variety of reasons, such as client demand or personal interest.

Completion of TOCES Diploma in Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation results in qualification as an Equine Therapeutic Practitioner.

Academic Level: Higher Education Levels 4 and 5
Number of units/modules: 8
Study Hours per Unit: 200 or 300
Total Hours:  1900
Course Duration:  2 years

The programme will be 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.

The programme will be delivered via blended learning using a combination of:


 Distance learning

  • Tutor-supported e-learning
  • Printed learning materials
  • Online lectures and webinars (live and pre-recorded)
  • Online assessments
  • Essay style assessments
  • Supported self-directed investigation and project work
  • Case study tutorials
  • Portfolio completion


Study weeks

  • Classroom based lectures
  • Cadaver dissections
  • Practical lecture demonstrations
  • Hands-on practical learning
  • Skill application and practice
  • Project and case study tutorials
  • Analysis of the static horse
  • Gait analysis of the dynamic horse
  • Visits to equine therapy units, equine swimming pool, etc



  • Veterinary consultation
  • Application of therapeutic techniques
  • Case study work
  • Portfolio completion


Assessment is via assignment submissions, online assessments, practical and oral assessments, invigilated written examinations, case studies, portfolio completion, peer group presentations and projects.

Practical Delivery

Study weeks are held at TOCES in Suffolk. You are responsible for arranging, and paying for, your accommodation during study weeks and internships.

Practical Days attended Level 4 Level 5
Study weeks – 4½ day blocks

Internships – 3½ day blocks





Please see the Study Planner for full details of dates and unit completion deadlines.

For all programmes you must be:

  • enthusiastic!
  • prepared to work hard
  • disciplined enough to set aside time to study
  • prepared to undertake independent study

For entry onto the Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation programme, you should be:

  1. Aged 18 years and over
  2. Competent and confident handling horses
  3. 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
  4. Learners who have recently been in education should have at least one of the following:
  • Level 3 qualification in Horse Management or equivalent
  • GCE 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
  • related work experience.
  1. Mature learners (over 21) 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.

How much work is involved?
It is estimated that, including attendance at Study Weeks, each module involves an average of 150 hours study. To calculate how long a programme will take to complete multiply the number of modules by 150 and divide by the number of hours you feel you can spare each week. Although distance learning is a very flexible mode of study you must complete the course requirements before the course completion date. The more time you spend on additional research, the more likely you will be to attain high grades.

Modules generally consist of one Formative and one Summative Work Assignment. Project work and independent research are integral to most modules.  You will receive detailed tutor feedback for each Formative Assignment. Each Summative Assignment is graded and counts towards your overall qualification. Formative Assignments do not count towards the qualification grade and in some instances are optional.

You are also required to undertake independent research and read around the subject areas to increase your depth of knowledge and demonstrate the ability to analyse, disseminate and evaluate information.  We do not specify how many hours each assignment will take – this is included within the 150 hours and is individual to each student.

How long do the courses take?
We appreciate that our students have work, family and equine commitments so do not set rigid time limits. However a maximum completion date is calculated on enrolment.

Time taken depends on:

  • How much you know already – you will find some modules easier and more interesting than others
  • Work commitments
  • Family commitments
  • Equine commitments
  • Your dedication and motivation

To maintain a steady rate of work through an HE programme you should allocate at least ten hours per week to your studies. If you cannot find ten hours in a week you must appreciate that it will take longer to complete the Course and extra costs will be incurred after the maximum completion date if an extension is granted.

Can I work through the programmes in less time?
Due to the inclusion of study weeks which are scheduled throughout the course duration, it is not possible to obtain certification in a shorter time frame. You may be able to work through the course material and written assignments at a faster rate than estimated here if you are able to devote more time to your studies. However, we do not encourage students to work through quickly at the expense of the quality of their work.

Full Payment

  • Online access to all course materials
  • Tutor support
  • Six study weeks
  • Accommodation, breakfast and evening meals not included
  • Printing and postage fees additional (optional)
Enrol now


  • 36 monthly instalments
  • Deposit £1000
  • 9.9% interest rate
  • Online access to all course materials
  • Tutor support
  • Six study weeks
  • Accommodation, breakfast and evening meals not included
  • Printing and postage fees additional (optional)
Enrol now

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The Open College of Equine Studies 33 Pages Lane Lower Green Higham Bury St Edmunds Suffolk IP28 6NJ

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