Course Overview

A Level 3 Horse Care Diploma is available for those not eligible for an apprenticeship

Quick Facts

  • 18 – 24 months
  • A minimum of six hours per week must be spent undertaking off-the-job training
  • Available in England*
  • Employment in a suitable environment is required

As this qualification is work-based no college attendance is required. Your tuition will be provided online, and you will be supported by a personal tutor who will assess your work and provide feedback. Regular contact and support will be carried out by your tutor via email, telephone and Microsoft Teams. Your place of work should be located within a 90 minute radius of our Huntingdon centre; if it is outside of this area, please contact us as we may still be able to meet your training needs.

Want to take your career to the next level?

As a qualification that can be tailored to your individual needs, this apprenticeship programme is ideal for those who are working in the equine industry in a supervisory position, looking to build on existing knowledge and skills to take their career to the next level. During the apprenticeship you will solidify your abilities to plan and coordinate the care of horses, and lead teams to achieve tasks and objectives whilst maintaining a safe working environment.

To undertake this apprenticeship, you must be employed in an equine establishment, this will allow the development of your practical skills alongside earning a wage and studying your formal apprenticeship qualification.

By choosing to study with The College of Animal Welfare you will be joining a community of like-minded students and staff, who all share a passion for animal welfare.

As this apprenticeship is work-based, you may apply to start at any time of the year and will not be required to attend College for tuition. You will be allocated a Work-based Learning Assessor who will support you through your qualification via email, Teams calls, telephone contact and regular visits to your place of work.

There is a choice of five specialised routes you can take which allow you to tailor the course to your interests, job requirements and career objectives.


Benefits to employers

  • Grow your business: Affordable way to expand and develop your business
  • Cost effective: Provide valuable opportunities whilst minimising recruitment and training costs
  • Enhanced reputation: Provide client reassurance by investing in trained staff
  • Increased productivity: Maximise staff efficiency though the development of knowledge and skills


The College of Animal Welfare has a well-earned reputation for excellence; we are dedicated to providing your apprentice with superior training based on the needs of your organisation. Your apprentice will benefit from:

  • Tuition, support and assessment provided in the workplace, online and via email and telephone contact
  • Support and guidance from an allocated, qualified Work-based Learning Assessor
Course Content

Core knowledge, skills and behaviours

You will gain the essential knowledge, skills and behaviours needed of a Senior Equine Groom to ensure you maintain safe working practices and take responsibility for yourself, others and the animals in your care.

Knowledge and Skills
You will gain a comprehensive understanding of wide range of knowledge and skills including:

  • Safe Working Practices
  • Yard and Field Routines and Duties
  • Horse Anatomy, Physiology and Welfare
  • Horse Handling, Care and Appearance
  • Nutrition & Fitness
  • Travelling Horses
  • Non-Ridden Exercise


You will look at safe working, work ethic, responsibility, team work and communication.



In addition to the core knowledge, skills and behaviours you will undertake further learning relevant to your job role and interests. There are five specialised routes you can choose from, each of which have specific knowledge and skills associated.


Additional knowledge and skills include stud contracts, reproductive anatomy, preparing a foaling environment, weaning processes and fostering processes.


Areas studied include the correct use of full, breast and empathy collars, open and quick release tugs and a variety of driving bits, preparing a turnout for exercise and competition as well as the cleaning of competition harness.


You will select to follow either the Senior Racing Exercise Groom or the Senior Racing Yard Based Groom pathways and learn areas such as specific exercise regimes, the breaking and training process, riding at speed and implementation of individual racehorse training programmes.


Specific skills and knowledge will cover areas such as cleaning and preparation of saddlery and equipment for work and competition, equitation theory, use of exercises such as transitions and riding horses of varying fitness levels.


Knowledge and skills will be gained in areas such as preparing equipment for work and competition, preparing horses for work and competition including selecting and fitting correct discipline specific saddlery and equipment, planning events, business diversification and customer care.



Functional Skills
You will undertake Functional Skills Level 1 and Level 2 in English and Maths unless exempt.

During your apprenticeship you will compile a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Once you have completed your portfolio, Functional Skills and a minimum of 12 months of training, you will be able to undertake the End Point Assessment.

End Point Assessment (EPA)
The EPA consists of:

  1. Knowledge Test: an invigilated, online or paper-based test taken at the workplace or approved centre for paper-based test, which will take up to 90 minutes and consist of 45 multiple choice questions
  2. Practical Observation: A structured observation of the apprentice by an independent assessor.
  3. Professional Discussion: A structured interview between the apprentice and the independent assessor taking place after the Knowledge Test and Practical Observation which will provide the opportunity for to use Portfolio evidence to illustrate professional competence

Your performance in the EPA will determine the apprenticeship grade of fail, pass or distinction.

Entry Requirements

There are no formal academic entry requirements. However, you will need to be living and working in England in a suitable equine environment, earning at least the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices, within a 90 minute radius of our Huntingdon centre. If your place of work is outside of this area, please contact us as we may still be able to meet your training needs. To complete this apprenticeship within 18-24 months you will need to be working for a minimum of 30 hours per week, if you are working less than 30 hours a week the length of your apprenticeship will be extended depending on your working hours.

You must be employed in a supervisory or managerial position to undertake this course i.e. head groom or yard manager. If you are not working directly in a supervisory role but wish to undertake this qualification to enhance your prospects of progressing into such a position, please contact us and speak to a member of our work-based learning team to discuss your suitability for the programme.

If you have a level 3 (or above) qualification in a similar subject you will not be able to undertake this apprenticeship, in which case you may wish to undertake the City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Work-based Horse Care and Management as a standalone qualification.

International qualifications

Students with foreign qualifications are required to have their certificates translated using a UK ENIC Statement to confirm if they have previously achieved Level 2 English and Level 2 maths for their apprenticeship. If a student has not previously achieved this, they will need to complete Functional Skills English and/or maths as part of their apprenticeship. More information about how to apply, how it works and prices can be found on the UK ENIC’s website here.

Course Fees

Apprenticeship fees are payable by the employer. Prior to starting the course an invoice will be issued for the total course fee.

If you have not achieved your qualification by the planned end date detailed in your individual learning plan, your employer will be able to pay monthly direct debit payments to allow you to continue to receive support and access to your course until certification of your award.

Course fees for small employers/Non-Levy Payers (with an annual payroll bill of less than £3 million)

Non-levy paying employers in England are required to contribute 5% (£300 in one payment) towards the cost of the apprenticeship provided they use their digital account to process the claim for 95% funding available.

Course fees for large employers/Levy Payers (with an annual payroll bill of more than £3 million)

Levy payers in England will pay the full apprenticeship amount of £6,000 using their digital account.

These are current figures and may be subject to change. The differences in course fees reflect the level of funding that is available as a result of government policies and priorities. These may be as a result of age, employment status, previous education achievements, or location for example, and are outside the control of The College of Animal Welfare.

What Next?

On completion of your apprenticeship you will have gained the knowledge, leadership skills and abilities to effectively plan and coordinate the care of horses and allocate resources to achieve this.

You may wish to continue broadening your knowledge by undertaking regular Continuing Professional Development courses or looking at higher education, such as a foundation degree in horse management (subject to individual university entry requirements).