Professional Diploma in Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) and Development

Training in Scotland during 2022

Equi-Scotia deliver a high-quality learning experience for practitioners at a tranquil venue of Shiresmill Therapy Riding Centre, in the heart of Central Scotland. Candidates can expect to complete the qualification within 9-12 months. Applications are open for the course beginning on 4th May. The majority of online workshops run as evening classes on a Wednesday and practical workshops normally run for 3 days from Saturday to Monday during Scottish School holidays.

Course application and cost information can be found at the bottom of this page.

Click the headings below to find out more.  

Aims and Learning approaches

The aim of this Professional Diploma is to provide underpinning knowledge and technical competence enabling candidates to  safely and effectively deliver equine facilitated learning to a range of clients, including marginalised individuals and vulnerable groups.  A blended learning approach includes; online workshops, home study, tutorial groups, mentor support, reflective practice, classroom and practical workshops at venues approved by Equi-Scotia CIC.

Who would benefit from this course?

The course is suitable for practicing horse riding coaches, counsellors, educators, psychotherapists, social care workers, and other professionals wishing to deliver safe and effective equine facilitated learning activities that develop social and emotional competencies and support mental health and wellbeing.

Entry Requirements

Entry to the programme is at the discretion of the centre, however it is expected that candidates should have achieved core skills (communication, numeracy, working with others, problem solving, and ICT) at SCQF level 6, or should be able to demonstrate equivalent experience. It is preferred that applicants hold a relevant qualification in coaching, education, counselling, social care, or therapy (e.g. as an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, or psychotherapist). Applicants must have access to horses and facilities where they can develop their skills through regular practice during the course, and must be competent in managing their own mental health and wellbeing, in order to be able to maintain a safe space for EFL participants. For example, a person with an active addiction would not be accepted onto this programme and would instead be signposted to appropriate specialist support services.

Assessment Methods

Written assessments demonstrate underpinning knowledge, and assessor observation of practical tasks informs decisions on candidate ability to apply learning to facilitate safe and effective learning through activities with horses.  An integrated assessment project involving the planning, delivery, and evaluation of EFL activities forms a key component of the programme. Other assessment evidence includes reflective logs, videos, and supplementary evidence such as witness testimonies.  An assessment plan is issued to candidates during induction outlining target dates for 5 written assessments, 3 professional discussions,  and 6 practical assessments.

Learning Outcomes

These include developing knowledge and skills in an EFL context around the subjects listed below.

  • Coaching Models of Practice
  • Emotional Intelligence competencies
  • Health & safety
  • Client risk assessment
  • Plan, perform, and evaluate Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) for a range of clients
  • Horse welfare
  • Horse behaviour
  • How horses learn
  • Social licence to operate
  • Professional practice and ethics
  • Working with young, marginalised, and complex people
  • Developing an EFL Enterprise

Course Format

Candidates with significant relevant experience and qualifications have the option to fast track studies over a 6 months period, and for those wishing to take more time to embed their learning a 1-year programme is recommended.


The learning programme consist of:

  1. Online Induction – 1.5 hours
  2. Practical Workshops Part 1 – Three days of practical activities at an Equi-Scotia approved location learning practical skills
  3. Online support – 27 hours of evening classes providing; underpinning knowledge on the learning outcomes listed below, tutorials* supervision, and mentor support.
  4. Practical workshops Part 2 – Three days of workshops refining skills and carrying out practical assessments

*Individual supervision with a tutor is required between the two practical workshops. This is an essential aspect of the training, and 3 supervision sessions for trainees is included in the fees.  Should additional supervision be required then a fee of £60 per hour is payable.  If required, on-site or supervised sessions can be requested, however, due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions it is anticipated that online learning and assessment may have to replace some of the practical content planned for the programme.

Course Fees

For candidates able to pay the full fee 2 weeks before the course begins the cost is £2950, with one payment of £2700 balance further to the £250 deposit.   An option is also available to make 8 further payments of £445.  These fee options cover all costs relating to learning, assessment, on course supervision, and certification.  Please note that course fees must be paid in full prior to the SQA Equi-Scotia professional certificate being issued.

Application Process

Candidates complete and submit a course application form, and tutors review applications and advise of application decision within 1 week. Upon acceptance of the offer candidates are required to pay deposit of £250 to secure place.  Please note the deposit is non-refundable should candidates decide not to enrol on the programme. If, due to unforeseen circumstances, Equi-Scotia has to cancel training then deposits will be refunded in full.