Competition Horse Care PDA

Course code 92D4

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?

Additional information for course delivery in 2021-22

From September 2021, it is our intention that physical campuses will be open to all students for access to study facilities, support services and social activities, subject to Scottish Government guidance. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as restrictions shift and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. From September, where practical and safe to do so, on-campus practical delivery will be prioritised in line with the Scottish Government guidance, including social distancing, where this is not possible alternative options will be available. The theory elements may be delivered online through a combination of tutor-supported study, video-based seminars and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You can access your online and video-based classes from home however it is our intention to provide on-campus space for individual students where required as far as possible. Further information will be provided by your home campus. You will have an opportunity to attend an online, face to face or blended induction at the start of the 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 campus 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 2022 or Aug/Sep 2022 or Jan/Feb 2023

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.