Posted: 23rd November 2021 | Back to news feed

A new postgraduate degree launched by Hartpury University focusing on equitation science will equip graduates with the expertise required to influence the development of new ethical training policies and practices that ultimately challenge the status quo.

The MSc Equitation Science degree has been designed by Hartpury – hosts of the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference 2022 – to meet emerging equestrian challenges in both training and competition environments.

This innovative programme will incorporate equine learning theory and science as a basis for successful and ethical equitation, considering human competencies and their impact on horse welfare and wellbeing. Human welfare will also be an important consideration, emphasising this unique relationship between human and horse.


The course is one of five brand new postgraduate degrees announced for 2022. MRes Animal Science, MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare, MSc Applied Agricultural Sciences and MRes Sport and Exercise Science degrees will also welcome their first cohort of students in September 2022. The addition of these programmes reflects Hartpury University’s growing research capabilities and mission to drive industries forward through newly acquired knowledge that informs best practice. The degree will sit alongside popular postgraduate equine programmes including MSc Equine Science, MSc Horse Rider Musculoskeletal Therapy and Rehabilitation and MRes Equestrian Performance.

The new programme combines a mixture of online and campus-based learning, providing a convenient way for students to earn their qualification alongside other commitments. The course can be studied in CPD module blocks or traditional academic pathways, making it ideal for professionals with outside commitments.

Leading lecturers and industry experts will deliver high- quality teaching across modules including Equine Cognition and Learning, Horse Human Interactions and One Welfare in Equestrian Training and Management.  

Catherine Porter, Head of Equine at Hartpury University, said “We’re very excited to be adding the MSc Equitation Science degree to our postgraduate equine roster for 2022, at a time when horse and rider welfare is at the forefront of our industry.

“The course provides an exciting opportunity for students to focus on the practical application of equitation science in the real world, investigating the benefits of connection for both parties and developing the skills needed to promote positive affective states.

“The programme will include a number of practical sessions and demonstrations to facilitate first-hand experience of applied equitation science and learning theory.”

All research activity at Hartpury University, which also offers PhDs and undergraduate degrees, either directly or indirectly informs not only current industry practice but also the curriculum. Research is fully integrated within teaching and staff are research-active in the areas they teach. Recent projects include research into the use of aqua treadmills as well as rider performance analysis and its impact on a horse’s way of going. Many dissertations are embedded in larger scale research projects or linked with businesses and fellow educational institutions.

Hartpury University was ranked number one in the UK for student satisfaction by full-time postgraduate students in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2021. Ninety-one percent of full-time students are satisfied with the quality of their course, compared to a sector average of just 77%. Construction is almost complete on a new £700,000 modern arena at Hartpury Equine to further enhance the student learning experience and increase equine and canine research opportunities.

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