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Abingdon & Witney College

Study Equine With Abingdon & Witney College

Common Leys Farm, Hailey, Witney, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX29 9UU
T: 01235 216400

Job Type: Breeding / Equine Studies / Racehorse Management / Science / Sports & Performance

Abingdon & Witney College is a further education college in Oxfordshire, specialising in vocational qualifications and offering a higher education route, apprenticeships and adult learning courses. 

Based at the 60-acre Common Leys Farm campus north of Witney, in the commercially-run stud, students have access to industry-standard facilities, including a large stable yard, new covered outdoor arena, and specialised teaching buildings.

Some of the key highlights from our equine programme:

  • In 2015, the College received a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for their unique training programme for the equine industry, combined with commercial breeding of thoroughbreds.
  • For over 30 years, the College has provided a very realistic and hands-on experience for students in seeing the cycle through from nominations to foaling to selling and finally seeing the horses on the track, and now have graduates working in industry all over the world.
  • A partnership between the College and HEROS Charity provides students with training and education opportunities in the horseracing industry.
  • The College works closely with other off-site equine academies in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands to expand a student’s work experience and knowledge base even further.
  • In the past, students have presented research at home and abroad, including at the British Horse Society (BHS) headquarters and in Rome, Italy, at the 14th International Society for Equitation Science.
  • Students are encouraged to work on and feature in competitions at part of their course.

The College offers students:

  • Further education diplomas and certificates from Level 1 to 3
  • Degree programmes in partnership with Oxford Brookes University


Horse Care (Work-based), Level 1

The Level 1 Work-Based Diploma is a one-year full time course. It is the first step towards developing the knowledge and skills required to work in the equine industry. All aspects of basic horse care are covered throughout the year with a strong emphasis on practical sessions on the college yard, supported by underpinning theory, which are delivered by a variety of specialist equine staff working at the College.

Horse Care (Work-based), Level 2

The course is designed to give you the skills and knowledge needed to work in the horse industry. Routine duties on the College yard are an integral part of the course and will allow you a taste of what it is like to work full time with horses. Programme content includes; routine stable duties, horse handling and exercise, industry experience, horse nutrition, animal biology and animal health. As well as practical skills, there will be development in areas such as grooming, plaiting, trimming and bandaging. 

Equine Management, Level 3

The Level 3 courses in Horse Management provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue careers in competition yards, riding schools, the horse racing Industry and the breeding industry or within a wide range of ancillary industries. Students participate in practical sessions and formal lectures to develop principles and practices of horse management and assist with the running of equestrian events held at the College yard at weekends.

The courses also prepare students to move onto degree level programmes such as the BSc(Hons) Equine Science which the college delivers in partnership with Oxford Brookes University.

Equine Science BSc (Hons)

This three-year science degree gives you a thorough scientific understanding of the subject area, knowledge of the equine industry, and the scope to develop business and management skills. Most of the teaching on this course is carried out at Oxford Brookes, with a small number of modules based at the College, where you can apply your classroom learning. You also attend one module at the Witney campus.

You will go on trips to research centres, studs, racecourses and sales, enabling you to see how the industry works and preparing you for future employment. Respected industry figures also deliver guest lectures. The combination of modules from across equine, life sciences and business subject areas allows students to graduate with a combination of scientific literacy and management skills.

Equine Science and Thoroughbred Management, BSc (Hons)

A joint venture between Oxford Brookes and Abingdon and Witney College, this four-year course is the only dedicated degree of its kind in the UK. In year 1, students study a range of modules covering the areas of business, breeding and stud practice, and life sciences, whilst years 2 and 4 offers students a chance to build their own programme of study. Modules here include nutrition, ethics and welfare, event and racecourse management, rehabilitation and many other choices.

Year 3 will be spent on work placement at a thoroughbred institution of your choice, either in the UK or abroad. Students have worked at racecourses, equine rehabilitation centres and international thoroughbred studs, with bloodstock agents, and for well-recognised thoroughbred trainers.

Open Days and Events

Common Leys Farm Open Day – Wednesday March 11th 3.30 - 7pm


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