Module: Equine Alternative and Complementary Therapies

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Andrew Hemmings
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    150 hours
  • Contact hrs

    28 hours
  • Teaching Period

    Semester 1

Module content

The application and principles of equine alternative and complementary therapies such as Reiki, Homeopathy, Physiotherapy, and Sports Massage. Teaching will also centre on the physiological response to common therapeutic modalities and alternative training techniques such as Imprint Training and Clicker Training. Via a selection of visiting speakers students will gain an appreciation of industry and legal perspectives relevant to the topic area.  

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast methods of scientifically validating the efficacy of complementary and alternative therapies (including safe use of heart rate monitor to gauge the sedative effect of massage).
  2. Consider the extent to which information derived from human and rodent studies can be extrapolated to the horse.
  3. Evaluate the legalities and industry perspectives of alternative and complementary medicine. 


Assessment Description Weighting
Examination Seen exam 100%

Key texts

Students should be familiar with the content of at least one of the following:

  • Carlson, N.R. (2010) Physiology of behavior 10th edn. Allyn and Bacon.
  • Higgins, G. and Martin, S. (2012) Horse anatomy for performance : a practical guide to training, riding and horse care David & Charles.
  • Hourdebaigt, J. (2007) Equine massage: a practical guide 2nd edn. Wiley Publishing Inc.
  • McBane, S. and Davis, C. (2001). Complementary Therapies for Horse and Rider. David Charles Publishing.
  • Morris, F. and Keilty, M. (2006). Alternative Health Practices for Livestock. Blackwell Publishing.

Supporting texts

  • McBride, S.D., Hemmings, A. and Robinson, K. (2004). A preliminary study on the effect of massage to reduce stress in the horse. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. Vol. 24 (2), pp76-81.