New master’s degree in Britain aims to enhance physical therapies for horse riders

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A student on a hi-tech riding simulator at Hartpury University.
A student on a hi-tech riding simulator at Hartpury University. Photo: Supplied

A new master’s degree is said to be the first of its kind in Britain, tailored to enhancing therapy and rehabilitation treatment for horse riders, while also prioritising horse welfare.

The programme for a Master of Science (MSc) in Horse Rider Musculoskeletal Therapy and Rehabilitation at Hartpury University is designed for qualified practitioners who have a completed a BSc or MSc degree in a human musculoskeletal therapeutic programme, such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, sports therapy or chiropractic.

The course, to be managed by chartered physiotherapist Dr Gillian Tabor, will enhance knowledge of equine and human biomechanics in a supported setting, provide a wider understanding of the welfare of the ridden horse, and increase awareness of the rider’s function and performance.

The programme, which will be delivered by qualified and practising human and equine practitioners, will benefit from access to Hartpury’s facilities, including the Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance and its Sports Academy, to support the study of assessment, evaluation and treatment techniques.

Dr Tabor says the programme will appeal to a wide audience of human physiotherapists, osteopaths, sports therapists and chiropractors.

“We’ll focus on the ability to integrate advanced clinical reasoning skills and reflective practice to musculoskeletal assessment and treatment, as well as injury prevention.

“Working within the scope of their professional practice, the programme will enable those enrolled to become an integral part of the multi-disciplinary team supporting the horse and rider dyad.

The programme will provide full-time and part-time options, supporting those who would prefer to study alongside existing employment or other commitments.

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