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Professional Diploma in Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) and Development

Professional Diploma November 2024

Equi-Scotia Directors are delighted that the recent SQA audit awarded the grade of “high levels of confidence” in all aspects of the quality systems review. A new SQA approved location has been secured in the South of England offering an alternative practical training venue for Diploma candidates. At the tranquil venues of Border Group Riding for the Disabled candidates benefit from a safe and supportive practical learning environment. Candidates can expect to complete the qualification within 12 months.  It is recommended that applicants have completed the online Introduction to Equine Facilitated Learning and Certificate level training before progressing to the Professional Diploma. The majority of online workshops run as evening classes on a Wednesday and practical workshops normally run from 3-5 days during school holidays.

Course application and cost information can be found at the bottom of this page.
Aims and Learning approaches
Who would benefit from this course?
Entry Requirements
Assessment Methods

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 those experiencing difficulties with mental health and neurodiverse conditions.  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.
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 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.
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 Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) context around the subjects listed below.

  • Coaching Models of Practice
  • Emotional Intelligence competencies
  • Health & safety
  • Client risk assessment
  • Plan, perform, and evaluate (EFL) for a range of clients
  • Horse welfare
  • Horse behaviour
  • Co-Production & Impact AssessmentSocial licence to operate
  • Professional practice and ethics
  • Working with mental health & neurodiversity
  • Developing an EFL Enterprise

Course format

Candidates with significant relevant experience and qualifications have the option to fast track studies over a 9 month period. A course booklet can be requested by emailing

The learning programme consist of:

  1. Online Induction – 1.5 hours
  2. Practical Workshops – Six days of practical activities at an SQA approved location
  3. Online support – 30 hours of evening classes providing; underpinning knowledge on the learning outcomes listed below, tutorials, and supervision/mentor support.
  4. Professional Supervision – Three one to one supervision sessions supporting candidates to plan, deliver & evaluate their case studies. This is an essential aspect of the training, and should additional supervision be required  then a fee of £80 per hour is payable.

Course fees

A deposit of £250 is payable within 1 week of places being offered.

An early bird price of £4500 is accessible by paying the full balance (£4250) of the course fee by 1st November 2024.

An option is also available to make 12 monthly payments of £470 from November 2024 to October 2025, which costs a total of £4950.  These fee options cover all costs relating to online & practical learning, assessment, on course supervision, and certification.  Please note that course fees must be paid in full prior to the Equi-Scotia professional diploma being issued.

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Application process

A strict intake procedure applies for the Diploma course and all applicants require to have completed a 6 hour Introduction to EFL (online or practical), the Certificate in EFL, and provide 2 references. Upon acceptance of the offer candidates are required to pay deposit of £250 within a week to secure their 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.

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