Competition Horse Care PDA

What is special about this course?

This course is aimed at individuals working with or aspiring to work with competition horses of various disciplines, or those who own or compete horses. 

The course covers both the theoretical and practical aspects of working with, training, caring for and preparing a horse for competition. This includes lunging, fittening, plaiting, trimming, turnout and developing skills in identifying potential horses for different disciplines. You will have the opportunity to work with a range of horses, either at our Rural Studies Centre at North Highland College UHI or through our partnership with a selection of equine yards. 

Special features

  • You will be taught by highly qualified tutors who have relevant industry experience, many competing to a high level and running their own equine business
  • You will have the opportunity to work at stables throughout Scotland

Entry requirements

  • Applicants will be required to demonstrate academic ability at SCQF level 5 or above, or have BHS Stage 2 or equivalent, such as Pony Club B test or NC Horse Care, or a selection of suitable equestrian units
  • Applicants with other qualifications or work experience are welcome to apply and will be considered on an individual basis
  • Entry will be assessed on the basis of your accumulated previous qualifications and experience

Year 1 - PDA

  • Competition horse (level 7)
  • Selection of the horse (level 7)
  • Lunging (level 7)
  • Fittening (level 7)

How will I study my course?

  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of face-to-face and video conference lectures and tutorials, practical sessions at stables, and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutor

How long will my course last?

  • Part-time (structured): 1 year
  • Part-time (unstructured): 1 year

Where can I study my course?

  • North Highland College UHI

Start date

  • September
  • January
  • Variable


For information on costs of this course please contact the college where you wish to study.


External scholarships and financial support, such as an Individual Training Account, may be available. Please contact the relevant UHI partner college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this course, you might like to consider a career within the equine industry, such as a competition groom based at a competition yard or travelling to competitions alongside professional competition riders.

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress from the PDA in Competition Horse Care to complete additional PDAs within the HNC Equine Studies. On completion of the HNC Equine Studies, students may progress to BA (Hons) Equine Business Management.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Competition Horse Care PDA

I want to start in Jan/Feb 2021 or Aug/Sep 2021 or Jan/Feb 2022

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.