Course Overview

Note: A detailed course curriculum is outlined in the Course Information Pack.

Basic Business Skills (home study)

Business skills

A home study course in which you will learn how to set up your business, including what business type you wish to be, basic accounting practices and awareness of tax law, insurance, contract law, marketing and writing a business plan.

Introduction to Equine Podiatry (2 days plus home study)

Students with tutor

A chance to meet your fellow students and your two main lecturers, understand what Equine Podiatry is all about, learn the basics of hoof anatomy and function including watching a demonstration dissection, understand current legislation and the history of hoofcare. You will also be introduced to scientific philosophy and methodology to help you in future to decipher hoofcare research.

Anatomy and Physiology 1 (5 days plus home study)

Students studying anatomy

You will start by learning how the horse’s body works because this is key to understanding what happens when the hooves go wrong. You will then learn in much more detail about the anatomy and function of the hoof and lower leg including growth and healing mechanisms, circulation, nerves, tendons, ligaments and a whole lot more. You will also carry out a research project with your fellow students.

Assessment and Gait Analysis (3 days plus home study)

Students studying gait

You will learn about veterinary disease terminology relating to lameness, how veterinary diagnostics such as x-rays, MRI scans and nerve blocks work and how to interpret them. You will also learn how to work alongside a vet, how to assess gait and spot lameness and how to carry out assessments of your own including hoof testers, digital pulse assessment, footfall analysis, etc.

Nutrition and Environment (4 days plus home study)

Students studying nutrition

Learn the basics of equine nutrition from Independent Equine Nutritionist Clare MacLeod including latest research on what nutrients have been found to help hoof growth. Understand how the environment shapes hooves including hoof hydration, infection and the use of different surfaces for hoof conditioning. You will also learn about different hoof boots, how to fit them and how to choose the right one for the horse concerned.

Stage 1 Exam (90 minutes)

Stage 1 exam

This is a theory only exam which recaps everything you have learned so far and satisfies the lecturers that you are ready to move on.

Trimming 1 (5 days plus home study)

Students learning to trim hooves

We will introduce you to the theory and practice of trimming. How to balance a hoof, how to safely use your tools, removing shoes, health and safety considerations. We also discuss other schools of barefoot trimming and how to trim donkeys, mules and asses. Every cadaver foot you trim will be dissected and measured afterwards to see how accurately you are balancing your hooves.

Equine Behaviour (3 days plus home study)

Students studying equine behaviour

Ben Hart will teach you about equine psychology and handling enabling you to work safely and effectively with horses and their handlers. You will understand behaviour and training techniques and begin to learn safe trimming positions and holds, including how to teach a young or difficult horse how to pick up its feet, balance on three legs and use a hoof stand safely.

Trimming 2 (5 days)

A student working with a horse

A chance to practice your trimming and handling skills on live horses. You will be heavily supervised as you practice trimming live horses including how to conduct a complete consultation from assessment, gait analysis, hoof analysis, trimming and handling, photographing hooves, keeping notes and making recommendations

Stage 2 Exam (2 hours)

Trimming during the stage 2 exam

A practical exam which is aimed at assessing your skills to decide if you are ready to begin your mentored case studies.

Laminitis (3 days plus home study)

An x-ray of a laminitis foot

One of the most common, yet serious hoof conditions you will have to deal with as an EP. This course will explain how to recognise the condition, tried and tested methods hoof rehabilitation, using x-rays to balance a laminitic hoof, use of hoof boots and other therapeutic aids, preventative measures and current thinking on how the condition is caused. Clare Burrows will also discuss grassland management.

Pathology (4 days plus home study)

A pedal bone with sidebone

This three day intensive course will guide you through a whole host of hoof pathologies that can affect soundness. It will include potential causes, effective, proven methods of treatment, how to recognise when a pathology requires veterinary attention, how to work alongside the vet and how to prevent the pathology returning.

Awareness of Farriery (1 day plus home study)

Making a horseshoe

You will spend a day with a working farrier who will guide you through  the philosophy and practical application of farriery, including how remedial farriery is used to treat hoof pathologies.  He will then demonstrate how to shoe a horse starting with a straight iron bar and finishing with a beautifully crafted and fitted shoe.  He will also demonstrate effective shoe removal techniques.

Anatomy & Physiology 2 (3 days plus home study)

Studying advanced anatomy

Helen Davies, senior lecturer in Equine Anatomy at Melbourne University in Australia updates you on her latest hoof research projects, introduces you to the principles of soft tissue tone and how it affects posture, guides you through more thorough dissections of the lower leg and explains her own theories on hoof function.

Case Studies

Undertaking a case study

In the second year of the course, you will undertake two sets of case studies, each set lasting approximately 6 months. The first set are straightforward cases and are aimed at developing your core skills as an EP (assessment, trimming, record keeping, professionalism, etc.). The second set are more complex cases and are aimed at developing more advanced skills such as the management of laminitis cases. You will be assigned an experienced EP as a mentor who will provide as much support and guidance as you need for the duration of the case studies.


Shadowing a working EP

During the course you will spend six days shadowing experienced EPs so as to observe how an EP works in a real-life practice. By observing how different EPs tackle real life situations you will be better prepared for your case studies and ultimately for working as a qualified EP.

Final Exam (over 2 days)

Being examined on trimming

The final exam is split into four parts:

  • A three hour written theory exam
  • A 30 minute video exam on gait analsysis
  • A half hour practical exam on a pathological hoof
  • A two hour practical consultation exam