TOCES Higher Education Diploma in Equine Nutrition

As an ever-emerging and developing field, equine nutrition forms a key element of equine management.

TOCES Higher Education Diploma in Equine Nutrition is designed for learners with an interest in nutrition seeking to expand their knowledge and is ideal for horse owners, feed company managers and their employees, yard managers and graduates in equine science. The programme is delivered at Levels 4 and 5, and is designed to give an in-depth knowledge of the scientific principles that underpin equine nutrition, integrating aspects of animal, plant and microbial biochemistry, putting this information into context by reference to the horse’s normal biochemistry and physiology.

In addition to examining the nutrient requirements for horses, feed evaluation, and diet composition, students will learn about research techniques currently used by equine nutritionists to investigate equid digestive physiology, including in vivo and in vitro techniques that are used to develop new feeds and investigate feed interactions.

Students are introduced to the wide body of equine nutrition research and encouraged to evaluate this work in relation to its application. Recent developments in equine nutritional research will be interlinked with new research on the aetiology, prevention and treatment of nutrition related metabolic disorders.

This programme also provides progression from the TOCES Introductory Diploma in Equine Nutrition.

There is optional attendance at an Equine Nutrition Workshop which will help to consolidate the study of this programme.

This is a TOCES Certificate course. You will be awarded a graded TOCES certificate upon completion of the course. This will be of value to prospective employers as well as to you personally as it reflects your commitment to study. Please note that although TOCES Certificate courses do not result in a validated qualification, the course material is of the same high standard as our validated programmes through BTEC, the BHS and City and Guilds.

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Module / Unit Details:

Module 0 Equine Anatomy, Physiology and Nutritional Biochemistry

Cell structure, function, tissue types and organs. Physiology of kidney, liver, respiratory, cardiovascular and urinary systems. Nutrient function and metabolism. Digestion and fermentation, how energy is obtained and utilized.

Module 8 Sward Management

Soils. Grass and grassland for equine pasture. Management of grassland.  Pasture management in relation to the equine establishment.

Module 21 Equine Nutrition

Energy sources in the equine diet.  Digestive physiology of the horse.  Nutrient requirements of the horse.  Nature and production of horse feeds.

Module 31 Advances in Equine Nutrition

Chemical profile of plants, impact on digestion and metabolism. Nutrient requirements of  breeding equids. Nutritional research, impact on feeding practices. Nutrition related metabolic disorders in the horse.

Module 42 Equine Sports Nutrition

Impact of research on feed analyses and nutrient requirements of horses. Nutritional research techniques and developments. Feeding regimes for range of equestrian disciplines.

Course Details:

Academic Level: Higher Education Level 4 and 5
Number of units/modules: 5
Study Hours per Unit: 150
Total Hours:  750
Course Duration:  Maximum of 30 months to complete course requirements
Study Week Requirements: Optional attendance at Equine Nutrition Workshop (3 days)

As with all TOCES programmes, you will receive detailed study material – each module comprises two work assignments which are completed at home and sent in for tutor assessment and feedback.

The first assignment in each module are formative work assignments designed to prepare you for the second assignment, a summative work assignment which contributes towards your overall grade. You will receive a TOCES certificate upon successful completion of this programme.

The optional Equine Nutrition Workshop consists of lectures, practical sessions, tutorials and assessments and are designed to build upon the subjects studied through the distance learning material.

Equine Nutrition Workshop

Students of the Higher Education Diploma in Equine Nutrition may attend an optional Equine Nutrition Workshop to consolidate their study.

Please refer to our Study Weeks page for more information.

2018 dates and timetable

Day 1: Monday 29th January 10am – 5pm with Charlotte Bullard BSc (Hons)

Course introduction
Recap sessions of:

  • Digestive Anatomy and Physiology
  • The Role of Nutrition in Equine Management
  • Rationing Workshop


Day 2: Tuesday 30th January 9am – 5pm with Clare MacLeod MSc RNutr

  • Equine Digestive Physiology
  • The Physiology of Respiration and Energy Metabolism
  • Supplements in the Performance Horse Diet


Day 3: Wednesday 31st January 9am – 4.30pm with Pat Harris MA, VetMB, PhD, DipECVCN, MRCVS

  • Nutritionally Associated Problems of the Equine Digestive Tract
  • Case Workshop: Clinical Rationing
  • Research Workshop: Nutritional Research Techniques and Developments

You don’t have to be an enrolled TOCES student to attend the workshop.

Attendance of 2 days – £175

Attendance of 3 days – £265

Click here to book your place

For all programmes you must be:

  • enthusiastic!
  • prepared to work hard
  • disciplined enough to set aside time to study
  • prepared to undertake independent study
  • at least 16 years old


While not compulsory, applicants under the age of 21 should hold one of the following:

  • BTEC National Certificate or Diploma in Horse Management or a related area
  • AVCE/Advanced GNVQ in an appropriate vocational area
  • GCE Advanced level profile which 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
  • Access to Higher Education Certificate awarded by an approved further education institution


  • Non-UK qualifications of a comparable level to those listed above
  • Overseas students whose first language is not English must hold a minimum of level 7 International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Further information can be gained from


Mature learners (21 years and above)
Mature learners 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.

TOCES Introductory Diploma in Equine Nutrition offers students a good foundation for studying at HE level. If you have not yet completed a qualification at Level 3 or higher, but have an interest in equine nutrition, we would recommend starting with this programme first.

Enrolment and Fees

Enrolments are accepted for all courses anytime throughout the year.

Following enrolment, you will receive access to online course information and course material.

Full Payment

  • Online access to all course materials
  • Tutor support
  • Optional attendance at Equine Nutrition Workshop (additional fees apply)
  • Accommodation, breakfast and evening meals not included
  • Printing and postage fees additional (optional)
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Interest Free Finance

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

Registered Office:

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