Horsemanship for the Thoroughbred Industry QQI Major Award at Level 5

Horsemanship for the Thoroughbred Industry QQI Major Award at Level 5

Enrolling on our Horsemanship for the Thoroughbred Industry (HTI) course will allow you to embark on a journey towards a horsemanship qualification at level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).  Each QQI accredited module has a credit value assigned to it, see the 'List of subjects/modules that are covered' for credit values.  To achieve a major award, you must complete a number of individual modules.

The overall aim of the programme is to provide the learner with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skill and competence needed to work in a range of roles in the equine sector and /or to progress to further or higher education and training.

Delivery Format

It is our intention that elements of this programme will be delivered via blended learning, which is a combination of more traditional face-to-face learning, combined with some material delivered via a virtual classroom.  All modules will be supported with an online course page, where course material will be displayed and through which assignments will be submitted.  See section below on Blended Learning for further information.

Applications are open!

Click to apply

Click here for Horsemanship 5M3371 QQI Certification Spec 

If you have further questions in relation to this programme, please e-mail:

See FAQ's below for further information on main elements:

The focus of the course is to develop the skills to work in the thoroughbred industry, either racing or stud, while at the same time developing learners’ personal, interpersonal and workplace skills. The content includes core modules in work experience and communications as well as a range of vocational modules including stable and yard routine, racehorse care and exercise, horse breeding, horse conformation, equine nutrition and equine anatomy and physiology.

This course will be run part-time, delivered mostly at evenings (in person and via zoom) for those working full-time.

The course is part funded by EQUUIP (Education and training department within HRI). The subsidised fee for the full Level 5 QQI Award is set at €340 (which includes QQI Registration & Certification).

Mandatory for all learners

  • Stable and yard routine (30 credits)
  • Work Experience (15 credits)
  • Communications (15 credits)


  • Equine Anatomy and Physiology (15 credits)
  • Equine Nutrition (15 credits)
  • Horse Breeding (15 credits)
  • Horse Conformation and Evaluation (15 credits)
  • Racehorse Care and Exercise (30 credits)


The course is designed to provide professional education and training to learners who love horses and have a particular interest in the thoroughbred industry (racing or breeding). The course will enable them to pursue a career in the thoroughbred industry or continue their studies at higher and/or third level. It also provides a flexible progression route for graduates of the Horsemanship Level 4 Major award, which we currently deliver under KWETB, via contracted training. The course will also be offered as a stand-alone qualification, which can be taken as a part-time course leading to the major award – Horsemanship 5M3371 or can be undertaken on a module-by-module basis.

This is the first course of its kind in Ireland that offers a study of the thoroughbred horse. Successful completion of this course will likely improve career prospects and will open opportunities for learners to access progression to further education courses on the QQI framework.

No, there are non-riding options available.

16 years old and upwards.

Applications are open!

Click to apply

Applications close: 24th March 2023

Anyone can apply for this course and applicants will have to complete suitability testing in advance of a place being confirmed, to ensure they are suitable to complete the programme.

To gain a place on the course learners should have:

A strong interest in and knowledge of racehorses, professionally working in the thoroughbred racing industry, or through either leisure and family background.

Physically fit and capable of carrying out the range of physical activities required for working around (mandatory) and riding (option depending on module choice) horses.

To Enter this course Learners Should Have

  • Some previous experience of working with thoroughbred horses
  • Basic IT skills
  • A good level of fluency in written and spoken English.

If you have further questions please email: 

  1. Complete an application form
  2. Complete a suitability test pack (this will be sent out on receipt of a completed application form) – this includes production of a portfolio of material, photographs and research on a specific topic
  3. Complete a written test – produce a report based on a piece of reading material
  4. For blended learning programmes you will have to submit some materials via an online course page
  5. Complete a practical assessment – including basic horsemanship skills and riding for those applying for the Racehorse Care and Exercise module
  6. Attend Interview

Written test, practical test and interview will all take place at RACE.

The learner either has successfully completed a programme leading to the Leaving Certificate/Leaving Certified Applied OR equivalent and who can demonstrate the levels of knowledge, skill and competence associated with NFQ level 4 will be eligible to apply for entry to this programme.

Current industry employees or those developing an interest in Thoroughbred horses can access the modules individually, provided they have the required skill and education level.

We will also accept applications from those who do not meet these entry requirements, but who have 3+ years’ experience of working with horses and who can demonstrate an adequate level of computer literacy, literacy and academic understanding of the topics.

To achieve the standard required learners should be able to:

  • Read, draft, prepare and understand information across a range of topics.
  • Produce, save and submit electronic files (primarily Word).
  • Act with a considerable amount of responsibility and autonomy.
  • Attend timetabled classes for the duration of the course.
  • Complete self-directed hours of learning in the form of research, practice time, revision, preparation and study time.
  • Be capable of participating fully in all programme related activities; physically and academically.
  • Source and participate in a suitable work experience placement, where a learner cannot obtain work experience on their own, RACE will support them in finding suitable placement.
  • As we hope to delivery elements of the programme through blended learning, you will need access to a device with a camera and audio and access to the internet.
Teaching & Learning

The programme is taught by a combination of methods including:

  • Classroom-based (both face-to-face and virtual for blended learning programmes)
  • Tutorials/ one on one supported learning
  • Group discussions/group interactions
  • Practical sessions
  • Problem based learning
  • Role Play
  • Use of case studies
  • Use of specialist guest speakers
  • Work experience/ on the job training

The programme is assessed in different ways for different modules, but  methods include:

  • Assignments
  • Skills demonstrations (practical assessments)
  • Examinations
  • Portfolio


Access, Transfer and Progression
On completion of this course you will be eligible to progress to a Level 6 Horsemanship (6M3505) award. Currently this qualification is offered by Teagasc and a selection of Community colleges/ PLC’s (Galway Community College and Curragh Post Primary, KWETB).

Learners who successfully complete this course will be eligible to apply for Level 6 ‘Green Cert.’ courses delivered by Teagasc to qualify as a ‘trained farmer’.

Protection of enrolled learners applies to this course. We confirm that we have appropriate arrangements in place for PEL. We have learner protection arrangements in place whereby every learner has an insurance policy which guarantees the repayment to learners of all amounts paid by learners enrolled on this programme should such a reimbursement be necessitated in the event of a cessation of the course.

The course leads to a Major Award in Horsemanship at Level 5 on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications.

Established in 2003, the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a 10-level, single national entity through which all learning achievements may be measured and related to each other.  Underpinned by quality assurance principles, the Irish NFQ describes qualifications in the Irish education and training system and sets out what each qualification says about what learners know, understand and are able to do. It also sets out qualifications pathways from one NFQ level to the next.

Delivery for all modules will be supported by an online course page, where you can access your learner handbook, relevant course information, notes and copies of presentations and where you will submit assignments.  To access this online course page you will need an e-mail address and a device with access to the internet.

We prioritise all practical skills development to take place face-to-face and generally focus on knowledge development for online delivery.  Online delivery will be via live classroom sessions using the online platform Zoom.  To take part in live online sessions you will need a device that can access the internet and also has a camera.

We recognise prior learning for entry to a programme and for exemptions.  If an applicant does not meet the minimum entry requirements for a programme, they can apply for admission through recognition of prior learning.

We will review each application for entry via RPL on a case-by-case basis and meet the applicants to discuss the application, verify the evidence submitted to support the application and to decide if the applicant is suitable for the programme and vice versa.  The evidence submitted by the applicant may include some or all of the following;

  • An up-to-date CV
  • References
  • Details of training programmes attended
  • Job descriptions and relevant work experiences
  • Personal statement

We will let the applicant know the outcome of their application in writing and if the decision is not to offer a place to the applicant, the applicant has the right to appeal the decision.

We also facilitate learners in gaining exemptions if they have already achieved certification for modules of a major award. Applicants for exemptions must submit the original award certificate (not a copy) to the education coordinator who retains a copy and returns the original immediately to the applicant by registered post. The certificate must have been achieved in a timeframe in line with QQI guidelines.

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