Horse Studies


Welcome to Canterbury College, in particular the equine studies department. This leaflet is designed to give you a flavour of what is offered in the equine studies.

My name is Justin White and I am currently head of the equine studies department.

Canterbury College has recently introduced a new equine course, to run in conjunction with two others, which are already in place. The College is now offering these integrated courses in partnership with two professional Equestrian-training yards in order to provide not only the highest calibre training, but also to give the student experience of the widest range of career opportunities within the Equine industry.

If we are successful then next year we are hoping to expand the range of courses on offer by adding the National Diploma.

The courses consist of a mixture of theory and practical, with the practical being held at two yards off campus (see above), although we are hoping to add two more for next year to cope with students being located over various parts of the county. This will address one of the major complaints, which is travelling, and flexibility of hours worked as many students work part time now.

The yards that the college uses have full B.H.S.I. instructors. Both of who are very experienced and offer superb training to enthusiastic students.

One is at Goodnestone (Alex Bones) pictured right, and the other is on Sheppy (Mrs. Haylor).

The flexibility of this course structure allows students to follow one of two routes. The more academic path, by studying for the First or National Diplomas in Horse studies, or if they wish to follow a more practical route by studying for the City & Guilds N.V.Qís in Horse Care and Management at all levels.

These two routes are complemented by participating in the BHS exam system, training students up-to Assistant Instructor level and then if they wish, to continue their training on to the Intermediate Instructor exam, both of which are highly regarded within the equine industry


At Canterbury College we feel it is important to offer what our students want to study, but also what employers want in their employees.

To ensure this, the courses can be taken individually or together in one package, and by building this flexibility into the course allows us to tailor the course to meet each individualís requirements and needs.

By asking them at the beginning of the course what interests them, we are able to then incorporate this into the program. I have found by asking the students to take more responsibility in the structure of the course, and becoming more actively involved that they are performing better. It encourages them to have ideas and contribute to the course more.

All the tutors and instructors have worked extensively within the equine industry, and are well able to give the students both the theory and the practical skills they will need to survive in the equine industry. Letís not kid ourselves it is a hard job, and requires dedication.

This is one of the reasons I have developed the course in its present format, in order to address two main problems.

  1. The biggest problem within the Equine industry has been one of retention of experienced staff. The course tryís to address this issue by exposing the student to as wide a range of career options as is possible. This is done by sending the students on to a real working yard, which is actually run as a business to the public, as opposed to a training yard.
  2. This essential practical experience is supported by college based tutorials, which include a comprehensive range of additional activities, including, educational visits (local, national and international), guest speakers on a wide range of topics e.g. veterinary nursing, horse welfare, holistic therapy and professional demonstrations.

  3. The second biggest problem is one of low pay. By introducing the students to a large variety of skills and careers, both within the industry, but also on the support side the students are able to see that a good career is possible in the horse industry.

First and National Diploma

The first diploma and the national diploma consist of a number of separate units; each unit passed will give the student marks of which they need to attain a certain number in order to pass the course.

The units are a mixture of practical and theory and cover such diverse topics as evolution and behavior, riding and handling of horses in the First Diploma.

The national Diploma then starts to specialize with units on;
Rehabilitation of the injured horse.
Heavy horseís.
Business management to name but a few.

When the students are in the college they will mainly be doing the theory, for the horse courses, but there will be a number of guest speakers, such as the vet from Redwings Animal sanctuary below left.

The course also includes visits to centers such as Redwings, where the college adopted a Shetland pony called Harry Potter, seen here with some of the students that adopted him. The college was also given a tour of the facilities including the superb operating theatre seen right.

The course places great emphasis on teaching students what is available to them beyond just riding, teaching, or grooming.

So a lot of the speakers will be invited in not just to talk about horses, but also to talk about themselves, and what there job involves. They will also be explaining

How to enter their particular professions and I am pleased to say that we are having people come and talk to the students who are;

  • Nutritionists.
  • Farriers.
  • Vets.
  • Physiotherapists.
  • Equine Welfare.

    This is to name but a few.

There will also be practical demonstrations by visitors and the students will be encouraged to have a go, under expert supervision.
When the students are on the yards they will be taught a range of practical skills
They will also be taught the theory on the yard to back these practical skills up in a well-equipped lecture room
Entry requirements.

The first Diploma is open to anyone and is a great taster course for anyone who is not sure about a career with horses, but would like a go. It is suitable for the novice rider or for more experienced riders wishing to acquire some greater knowledge about horses.

The National Diploma is a more specialized course, which covers specific elements in greater depth, students can take specific units and acquire different qualifications by doing this, for example The National Diploma in Horse Management (Equine), or the The National Diploma in Horse Management (Equine).

I hope this has been a helpful insight into the horse courses offered at Canterbury College and if you have any more questions do not hesitate to get in contact with me on the following number:-

01227 811111 ext 1249
Or write to me at:-
Canterbury College
New Dover Rd


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