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ICAT™ Equine Sports Therapy Practitioner - Level 4

This Level 4 course is accredited through OCN London who are an approved Awarding Organization with Ofqual. It is both internally and externally verified ensuring student peace of mind. It is also endorsed by The Association of Complementary Animal Therapists (ACAT).

This course is the ONLY Level 4 Equine Sports Therapy Practitioner programme available in the UK
  • The Purpose of this professional practitioner programme is to produce safe, effective and competent equine sports therapists in line with current professional standards.
  • Animal health and welfare are at the very core of our teaching philosophy.
  • Learners are encouraged to develop autonomous critical thinking skills to enable them to be competent, knowledgeable and experienced equine practitioners.

Course Title: ICAT™ Equine Sports Therapy Practitioner (Level 4)
Accreditation: OCN London
Course Code: 132288
Sector: 3.3 Animal Care and Veterinary Science
Course Level: Level 4.
Qualification Credit Value: 47
Total Qualification Time (TQT): 650 hours
Guided Learning Hours: 470
Clinically relevant hands-on practice: 180 hours
Course Duration: 12 - 18 months (part-time)
N.B. There is a 2 year completion deadline.

Course Description:
This vocational programme consists of 7 mandatory Units that equip the learner, with the knowledge, confidence and clinical reasoning skills required to become a safe, competent, experienced, professional equine sports therapist. Days at Training Venue:
5 practical instruction module blocks (3 days each Mon/Tues/Wed).
Days start at 9.30am and finish approx. 5.00pm.
N.B. Allow 4 months between attending each module block to allow time for completion of practical case studies and assignments.

Career Prospects:
This level 4 qualification is designed to support both self-employed career prospects and educational progression routes. The majority of our graduates have set up successful businesses as self-employed equine sports therapists in both the UK and abroad. Their clientele include everyone from happy hackers to elite customers; including top racing yards and even Olympic competitors!

Professional Membership: Graduates can apply to become a practitioner member of the Association of Complementary Animal Therapists (ACAT)

Entry Requirements:
Applicants are expected to:

  • be over 18 years of age.
  • Provide two references; one from a professional e.g. veterinarian or instructor, the other should be a general character reference.
  • Provide an up to date C.V.
  • Students under 21 years should have achieved 4 GCSEs at grades A - C, including English Language. (Or provide proof of an equivalent educational standard)
  • Provide proof of a minimum of owning and/or competing your own horse, or working in a professional/competition yard - references will be required.
  • If you do not meet these requirements, please telephone us for an informal chat - you may have other skills suitable for entry onto the course!

N.B. We DO NOT require a prior human massage qualification!

Course Delivery:
This course consists of 7 Units totaling over 500 GLH (Guided Learning Hours) and 47 credits at Level 4. Learners complete over 60 practical case studies before taking their final practical assessment, by which time they are proficient at providing a safe and competent session.

What You Will Study:
The course is offered on a part-time basis with the taught aspect of the programme being delivered in 'modules' of study (each module block is usually 3 days in length and there are 5 module blocks that complete the course). The practical module blocks include lectures from course tutors and external specialists including; a veterinarian, saddle fitter and an equine dentist.
Students also are expected to undertake a significant amount of independent learning completing 7 assignments and completion of practical case studies: Practical case studies on 15 horses x 4 treatments each = total 60 recorded treatments. There is a final summative practical assessment on one horse and a comprehensive theory examination. Most learners complete their studies within 12-18 months, with a final completion deadline of 2 years.

  • ICAT reserves the right to alter the sequence of delivery between the following Module Blocks:

Module Block 1

This module aims to establish the students understanding of:
  • Current legislations pertinent to para professionals; including the Veterinary Surgeons' Act and the Animal Welfare Act.
  • The principles of massage and its history in humans and animals.
  • Massage techniques, their hands on application and effects.
  • Those involved in integrated healthcare.
  • The treatment environment, health and hygiene.
  • Professional ethics, code of conduct, professionalism.
  • Normal and abnormal equine behavior and its link to pain physiology.
  • Equine handling skills.
  • Equine conformation and gait analysis.
  • The consultation process, history taking and objective examination.
  • Contra indications and contra actions to massage.
  • Veterinary terminology/anatomical planes.
  • Hands on palpation techniques.
  • Functional equine anatomy and physiology.
  • Health and safety.

Module Block 2

  • Massage techniques, their application and effects.
  • Active and passive stretching.
  • Extrinsic factors affecting.
  • Applied anatomy physiology and biomechanics of the equine lower leg and foot.
  • Equine exercise physiology.
  • Pre and post event massage techniques.
  • The principles and practice of saddle fitting.
  • Further equine anatomy and physiology.
  • Health and safety.
  • Movement functionality, interpretation and therapeutic intervention.
  • Performance, rehabilitation and remedial exercise.
  • Compensatory mechanisms.

Module Block 3

  • Advanced massage skills.
  • Understanding veterinary diagnostics for lameness.
  • Professional skills.
  • Business development skills.
  • Personal development planning.
  • Health and safety.
  • Equine dentistry overview.
  • Exercise physiology.

Module Block 4

  • Full revision of practical massage techniques and their application.
  • Theory revision session.
  • Mock practical assessment.

Module Block 5

  • Summative practical assessment (on one horse).
  • Summative theory paper (3 hours).
  • Portfolio development.

Assessment Methods:
The OCN London Equine Sports Therapy Practitioner Programme - Level 4 contains a variety of assessment methods to ensure practical and academic competence.

  • Assignments.
  • Case study reports.
  • Handbooks.
  • Promotional business material.
  • Poster presentations.
  • Research.
  • Practical assessment of competence and skills related to equine sports massage.

To gain your ICAT qualification you need to attend the five module blocks, as well as completing all the home study assignments and 60 practical case study treatments.

Employment Details:
Successful graduates from this programme have found employment in the following careers:

  • Equine Sports Massage Therapist.
  • Equine therapy rehabilitation centre.
  • Equine welfare charity.

Or gained entry to further training in:

  • Animal physiotherapy.
  • McTimoney-Corley Spinal Therapy.
  • ICAT Equine Myopractic Manipulation Therapy.

Course fee:
Total course fees £3500 (+ £195 separate registration fee)

Payment Plan:
We also have a payment plan: pay for module 1 £800, then pay the £2700 balance remaining via 10 monthly BACS instalments of £270.


N.B. Please note that ALL students commence their EQUINE SPORTS THERAPY training by attending the residential Module Block 1 (please click the link below to enroll on the next Module Block 1 entry). When you apply for the Module 1, the dates for the remainder of your training Module Blocks 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be given to you.

Equine Sports Therapy Module I
3 day residential block course (& home study)
This block includes assignments for home study completion as well as practical case studies.
Click here for dates, cost and availability