A minimum of 112 UCAS points
This course centres on the athletic performance of the horse and rider, preparing students for a career in equestrian performance, coaching or team performance management.
With the UK equestrian sector generating £4.7 billion of consumer spending, 3 million regular riders, nearly one million resident horses and 6.4% of the equestrian population being within a competitive club (BETA, 2019), there has never been a better time to pursue a career in the equine sports performance industry.
This programme has been developed with extensive industry input to ensure that the graduates will have the necessary combination of knowledge, skills and experience to be able to contribute to the success and growth of the equestrian performance industry.
The course focuses on the underlying factors which affect performance, adopts quantitative methods to assess performance and then evaluates a range of techniques to enhance performance and assess the impact of external factors on success.
University Centre Reaseheath is an academic partner of the University of Chester. Foundation degrees, Honours degrees, and Cert Ed are awarded by the University of Chester.
This course is subject to approval for 2021.
Full-time: 3 years
The College Gym
At Reaseheath College we have a state-of-the-art gym facility with equipment that is used in top quality facilities throughout the UK.
The gym is fully equipped to suit the requirements of all gym users, with top specification machines, a Olympic barbell and weight areas. These are supplied by Technogym, a leading gym manufacturer.
Through the ‘My Wellness’ Technogym account you can use your Smartphone to create a workout and keep up to date with your progress. You can add exercises and change intensities to increase your performance. You can even challenge friends using the app to climb friend rankings.
As an Equine Science and Sports Performance degree student some of your sessions will be taught in the college gym.
What will I study?
The ESSP programme is directed towards the competitive rider who wishes to extensively explore the area of sports performance equally divided between the human and equine athlete over the course of the three years.
There is an option to take a work placement sandwich year after the second year. Modules include:
- RC4003 – Introduction to Psychology for Equestrian Sports
- RC4005 – Equine Sports Horse Industry and Management
- RC4008 – Anatomy and Physiology for Equestrian Performance
- RC4009 – Introduction to Rider Fitness and Training
- RC4010 – Equine Genetics and Breeding for Athletic Potential (optional)
- RC4011 – Principles of Equitation
- RC4012 – Academic and Professional Development
Choose one optional module
- RC5001 – Equine Nutrition and Health
- RC5002 – Equine Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics
- RC5004 – Research Methods
- RC5005 – Equestrian Manual Therapies (optional)
- RC5010 – Physiological Measurement Techniques for Equestrian Performance
- RC5011 – Sports Nutrition for Equestrian Athletes (optional)
- RC5012 – Equestrian Sporting Discipline Management
Choose one optional module
- RC6001 – Equestrian Fitness and Performance
- RC6002 – Equestrian Injury and Rehabilitation
- RC6003 – Dissertation (40 credits)
- RC6005 – Welfare, Ethics and Safety in Equestrian Sport (optional)
- RC6007 – Biomechanical Analysis of Equestrian Performance (optional)
- RC6008 – Rider Performance Optimisation (optional)
- RC6009 – Advances in Complementary Therapy use in Equestrian Sports (optional)
- RC6010 – Contemporary Issues and Developments in Equestrian Sports (optional)
Choose two optional modules
The programme is designed to allow the students to have options at all levels that would ideally reflect their chosen career path upon graduation.
- Level 4: FIVE core modules with ONE optional module
- Level 5: FOUR core modules with TWO optional modules
- Level 6: FOUR core modules with TWO optional modules
- Optional modules are normally chosen during March of the academic year to then be delivered the following academic year.
Incoming students are requested to choose their modules online via the University of Chester portal before commencement of their degree.
Modules will need to have a minimum of 6 students for them to be offered for delivery.
Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity, plus field trips. Your actual contact hours may depend on which optional modules you select, but the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each year of the course:
33% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity
Teaching, Learning and Assessment: 391 hours
Independent Study: 809 hours
24% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity
Teaching, Learning and Assessment: 283 hours
Placement: 150 hours
Independent Study: 767 hours
15% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity
Teaching, Learning and Assessment: 174 hours
Independent Study: 1026 hours
Cohort sizes vary between 4 and 12 students presently.
Assessments are designed to encourage both academic skills and skills valued in the workplace. They include a combination of coursework and examinations. Coursework may take many forms including: essays, reports, data processing, presentations, academic posters, seminar discussions, interviews, critical reviews, portfolios of evidence and practical competency assessments. The examinations vary, depending on the nature of the module, but may take the form of multiple-choice papers, essays, practical assessments, data handling questions, short answer quizzes, and in class examinations.
The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by coursework is as follows:
37% written exams
28% written exams
14% written exams
Opportunities for feedback on your progress will be available throughout your course. This will be provided in many formats, including written and verbal. Feedback on graded work is supplied via Turnitin or directly from the module tutor. The majority of assessment submissions are made via Turnitin and feedback for coursework is provided within 20 working days after the submission date. If for unforeseen reasons this is not possible, the reasons will be communicated to the students within 2 weeks and the feedback prioritised within the department.
Written feedback will be supported verbally should the student require clarification. Formative assessment feedback will be provided at the time of completion where possible, with more detailed summative feedback for reports.
To offer graduates a leading position in the jobs market, students are given the opportunity to enhance their career prospects by taking additional qualifications during their course of study. These could include a range of qualifications such as:
- AMTRA – Animal Health Advisors
- Bach Flower Therapies
- BHS Horse Care and Ridden Stages
- Equine Specific First Aid
- Reiki 1
- Defra Certificate of Competence for Animal Transport
During induction week, the students are given an Induction Timetable, which is located within a course specific brochure.
The main timetable will be distributed by the end of the Induction week. Students will be expected to attend all timetabled sessions, over the scheduled 3 days per week currently.
The ESSP students have a work placement scheduled into the programme (either RC5502 or RC5008), which will allow students to develop their levels of practical experience and research-informed learning during their degree.
Modules such as RC4041, RC5036 and RC6010 may have opportunities for visits, conferences, study trips and key speakers from the Equine Industry that the students would be encouraged to participate.
To safeguard the wellbeing of our horses, comply with health and safety requirements, ensure high levels of animal welfare and ensure a high-quality student experience we have to make an assessment of who can ride our horses safely, and this is based on a number of factors. These factors can impact on our decisions regarding which students are able to ride as part of their course.
Current research from the Saddle Research Trust and Animal Health Trust with leading equine professionals, scientists and researchers has advised that horses should only be carrying 10- 20% of their own optimum bodyweight when being ridden, this includes the clothing and tack used. If carrying over 20%, there is a substantial effect on the horse’s gait, behaviour, soundness and welfare in response to rider weight.
The pool of horses that we have access to at the College does fluctuate each year, but we try to ensure that their general size, age and health are reasonably constant within an agreed tolerance, to appeal to and accommodate as many students as possible. However, this does mean that for some students who are at either end of the optimum height and weight for our horses, we may not be able to allow them to ride safely as part of their course. General guidelines for height/ weight ratios can be found below, however, this is used as a guide and are only one part of a holistic assessment of the individual for riding. An experienced and qualified member of staff will assign horses to students for riding and rider height and weight will be considered to ensure both horse welfare and the health and safety of the individual.
Rider weight guidelines:
Height Weight (st) Weight (Kg)
Upto 4’10” 9 57
4’11 – 5’2” 10 64
5’3 – 5’6” 11 70
5’7” – 5’9” 12 76
5’10” – 6’1” 13 82.5
6’2” – 6’4” 14 89
6’5” upwards 15 95.2
Whilst rider height, weight and fitness are factors in our riding assessment, it is important that students do not view this as any prompt to eat or diet unhealthily.
The main factors we have to consider when assessing suitability of riders in the Equestrian Centre are:
- Weight a horse can carry safely
- Rider weight and height
- Rider ability and balance
- Level and duration of work
- Range and frequency of use
- Availability of horses
Our rider assessment involves an initial questionnaire to be completed by the student, which will evaluate rider experience. Following successful acceptance of the initial paper assessment, students will need to attend a holistic Ride Standard Setting Session to assess student riding ability on the mechanical horse. If riding skills are suitable, students will then progress to an assessment on a live horse, with extensive feedback provided by one of our BHS coaches.
- A minimum of 112 tariff points from A and AS levels. A science subject is preferred
- Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) – a minimum of grade DMM in an Animal, Equine or Science related subject
- Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) – a minimum of grade D*D* in an Animal, Equine or Science related subject
- City & Guilds Level 3 Technical Advanced Extended Diploma (1080 – first awarded in 2019) – a minimum of grade DMM in an Animal, Equine or Science related subject.
- City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma (720 – first awarded in 2019) – a minimum of grade D*D* in an Animal, Equine or Science related subject
- Mature students (aged 21+) will be considered on an individual basis on their prior knowledge and experience. This may be assessed by interview, completion of coursework/essay or other methods. There may be a requirement for a formal qualification to be completed first e.g. Access to HE course.
- MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy
- Postgraduate study or professional qualifications
- Performance coach
- Team manager
- Equestrian biomechanics analyst
- Equestrian poor performance analysts
- Employed or self-employed roles within a competitive team (e.g.Polo) or larger competition yard
- Equestrian sport performance roles for Sport England, the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) or the British Equine Trade Association (BETA)
- Management roles in equine welfare and allied industry sectors
Please note: acceptance onto riding units is subject to assessment and weight limit of 13 stone.
As a Higher Education student you will have two main costs to meet; your tuition fees and living costs.
Our full-time tuition fees for UK and EU students, entering University, can be found on the student finance page. These fees are charged for each academic year of a course and are set by the college annually.
If you are an international student or for the latest information on tuition fees visit the student finance page on our website.
The Equine department have run an optional study tour in the past. Costs are around £350 depending upon destination, time of year and method of travel and accommodation types.
Yard uniform would be expected to be worn for all practical sessions; details from the Reaseheath Equine department would be sent out with joining instructions. Students would be expected to provide their own PPE with minimum riding hat standard of PAS015, Level 3 (Blue; 2018) body protector (for jumping if riding) and suitable leather riding boots (not chaps).
Student can expect costs to be in the region of £300, to include PPE of an approved riding hat, riding boots, gloves, and a good waterproof coat (without a hood) as well as navy blue jodhpurs and navy-blue polo shirt.
Prices of equipment are subject to change dependent on retailer.
University Centre Reaseheath is committed to providing additional financial support to those who need it. To find out about the bursary schemes available visit the additional financial support pages on our website.
In response to the developments in Equitation Science and the importance of promoting personal health and well-being the Equestrian Centre is establishing a new scale of weight limit for riding.
Current research has proven that horses should only be carrying 10- 20% of their own bodyweight when being ridden, this includes the clothing and tack used. With the maximum being 20%, as there is a substantial effect on the horses gait and behaviour in response to rider’s weight. When deciding what weight horses should carry other considerations have to include; age of the horse, the horses condition, level & duration of work, saddle fit, rider ability and balance.
We have therefore taken all of these factors into consideration when evaluating what weight is appropriate for the horses at Reaseheath to carry in order to ensure our horses welfare. It is also important that we are promoting personal health and well-being in all our staff and learners – ‘riders are athletes’ and working in the equine industry is demanding, we want to support our students in being prepared for this in every way we can.
The weight limit for the Equestrian Centre has therefore been determined based on:
- Healthy height v weight parameters
- The height of the riders and the size of pony/horse they are most likely to ride
- Max weight capacity for horse bodyweight (+tack)
- Workload of the horses
- Age range of horses
- Rider ability
The weight limits are:
|Height||Weight (st)||Weight (Kg)|
|4’11 – 5’2”||10||64|
|5’3 – 5’6”||11||70|
|5’7” – 5’9”||12||76|
The max weight limit for the centre is 13 stone.
All Higher Education students are given the opportunity to apply for residential accommodation. First year students are guaranteed accommodation and this offer is made to all applicants who live more than a reasonable daily travelling distance from Reaseheath and who apply before 31st July of the year they intend to start their course. For full details on our halls of residence visit the accommodation pages.
We have a team of dedicated professionals on hand to offer you support when and if you need it during your time with us. These include our Student Services team, Higher Education Support Team (HEST), Library and Learning Resources and the Reaseheath Careers Service. You will find more information on the support provided at Reaseheath here.
Before you apply you can come and visit us at one of our HE Open Events to see what we have to offer. Once we have received your application we will invite you to attend an Offer Holder Day.
Applications for full-time Degrees and Foundation Degrees are made through UCAS. Applications for all other full-time courses such as Access to HE and Level 4 Diplomas should be made directly to Reaseheath via the online application form. You can find out more here.
For students to get the best out of their time at University Centre Reaseheath, we must both recognise that we owe obligations to each other. These obligations are set out in our Higher Education Student Contract. Before you accept an offer of a place at University Centre Reaseheath, it is important that you read these contract conditions. If you are going to be living in Halls of Residence, you will also need to read the Student Accommodation Licence Conditions. Both of these contracts can be found here.
My career will always be driven by a desire to understand and advance the health of equines in both sport and recreation.