2024 - A new course, a flexible course

Vocational Units | Unit Details | Fees | Entry Requirements | Delivery & Duration | Location | Equipment | Course Texts
Articles & Handouts | Student SupportMaster Classes | Career Opportunities

Upheaval from the lost Covid Years has gifted the course designers time to further evolve and restart with a ‘new’ Diploma of Equine Podiotherapy in 2024.

The new 2024 Diploma is no longer a part of the rigid accreditation system. Rather it aims for maximum flexibility to cater for students with other demands on their schedules that make full time study not possible.

There are six individual blocks of classes to be completed sequentially. These blocks are designed to be completed in one year but can be completed in two or three years depending on a student’s individual requirements.

There are also some online theory components and assignments to complete between blocks and a case study portfolio that extends beyond the formal blocks. This portfolio must be completed within a year of the last block. Consequently, full qualification can be obtained in 1½ - 4 years.

The course designers have many years’ experience teaching in the hoof care industry. They know that the best way to nurture observation and fine motor skill sets is with multiple blocks of face-to-face contact that are spread out to allow interim practice and the gathering of experiences which can be further built upon with subsequent classes.

It is a great mix of theory and practicals with most days starting out in the classroom and finishing with demonstrations and trimming sessions under the watchful guidance of assessors.

The course is presented by a team of qualified lecturers comprising of hoof care professionals, vets and musculoskeletal therapists who are all highly regarded in their respective fields.

The course campus is onsite at Mayfield in picturesque Northeast Victoria which is a working cattle and sheep farm that also has an extensive equine enterprise which includes stockhorse breeding, retirement agistment and a lameness rehabilitation centre.

Mayfield is a superb learning environment, with a purpose-built comfortable classroom that has ready access to a huge range of freeze dried and skeletal anatomical specimens to bolster theory lectures. For practical demonstration and trimming sessions there is a huge range of equines of all shapes, sizes and hoof issues.

Once qualified you will join the ranks of a highly regarded cohort that has become synonymous with top shelf barehoofcare in Australia.

You will also qualify for membership of the Equine Podiotherapists’ Association of Australia which provides access to ongoing learning opportunities and great networking with other progressive hoofcare professionals.

Vocational Units of Equine Podiotherapy

There are 12 subjects which are all core:

    • Safety and health in the equine hoofcare workplace
    • Handling equines for hoofcare
    • Equine biology
    • Functional anatomy of equine limbs
    • Equine orthopaedics
    • Equine hoof development
    • Integrated equine biomechanics
    • Equine barefoot rehabilitation
    • Sustainable equine hoof protection
    • Infection control in the equine industry
    • Profitable equine hoofcare
    • Equine first aid

Please note these subjects vary in size and complexity and most are taught progressively throughout the duration of the course. Competence in each unit is only possible by completing all six blocks of study. Equine podiotherapy is an applied science so the theory taught in each of these subjects is supported by numerous practical sessions for students to apply their knowledge and skills. Assessment will be both theoretical and practical and to the performance standard expected in the equine hoofcare workplace.

Optional elective unit: Attaching equine orthotics with nails and screws (extra fees apply)

Course prerequisite: Provide First Aid (HLTAID011) To be completed independently before commencement in February 2024

Vocational Unit Details

Safety and health in the equine hoofcare workplace

Setting up and maintaining a safe workplace
The ergonomics of hoofcare
Managing personal physical health and fitness for hoofcare longevity
Managing mental health in the equine industry

Handling equines for hoofcare

General principles of equine handling
Hoofcare specific horse handling
Handling different classes of equines
Supervising horse holders
Grandpa’s tricks of the trade

Equine biology

Musculoskeletal system
Digestive system
Circulatory system
Respiratory system
Nervous system
Reproductive system

Functional anatomy of equine limbs

Structures of the lower leg and how they function (including: bones and joints, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, epidermis, dermis, vasculature, nerves, adipose tissue)
Functional hoof structure

Equine orthopaedics

Equine evolution
Hoof function
The functional hoofcare model
Parameters of functional hooves
Hoof balance
Hoof deformity
Hoof dysfunction
Variations with breed, environment and equestrian discipline
The functional trim
The equine podiotherapy observation skill set

Equine hoof development

Foal hoof development
Hoof maturity
Feral hooves
Equine hoof nutrition
Hoof response to stress and stimulation
Horseshoeing principles and the effects of metal shoes
Equine lifestyle factors to grow better hooves
Good hoof versus bad hoof – judging hoof development

Integrated equine biomechanics

Recognising and analysing stance (conformation, posture, body shape)
Recognising and analysing movement
Biomechanical pathways
Dysfunctional hooves
Upper body dysfunction
Finding the underlying cause – hoof or body or both?


Equine barefoot rehabilitation

Hoof management issues (inc: hoof cracks, separation etc)
Hoof infections (inc: seedy toe, thrush, white line disease, canker, mud fever etc)
Acute and chronic lameness (inc: laminitis, navicular, ringbone, sidebone etc)
Developmental orthopaedic disease
Equine cervical vertebral malformation
The role of vets in lameness rehab
Radiographic examination of hooves
Complimentary therapies
The use and limitations of therapeutic shoeing

Sustainable equine hoof protection

Hoof boots
Orthotic inserts
Limitations of hoof boots
Poly shoes
Partial hoof protection
Hoof hardeners
Hoof casting
New products and techniques in an ever evolving industry

Equine First Aid and emergency care

Measure and record vital signs of horses
Identify and report signs of common illnesses and injuries
Provide emergency care and follow first aid policies and procedures
Apply treatments under supervision


Profitable equine hoofcare

Legal requirements of small business
Optimising profit in the hoofcare industry
Environmentally sustainable business practices

Infection control in the equine industry

Standard precautions for infection prevention and control
Infection hazard identification
Infection hazard management

Attaching equine orthotics with nails and screws (optional elective unit)

An optional unit for those students who wish to learn how to safely and competently nail and screw on various orthotics including tips and polyshoes.


The full fee for the Diploma of Equine Podiotherapy includes tuition, course notes and amenities fees. It does not include accommodation.

The total fee for the Diploma is $8000 and is GST free. This includes a $1000 non-refundable but transferrable deposit.

Payment instalments are made prior to blocks as detailed below

        Deposit: Due with Enrolment documents $1000
Instalment 1: Due:    January 29, 2024        (2 weeks prior to Block 1) $2000
Instalment 2: Due:     April 28, 2024             (1 week prior to Block 2) $1000
Instalment 3: Due:     May 22, 2024              (1 week prior to Block 3) $1000
Instalment 4: Due:     August 20, 2024         (1 week prior to Block 4) $1000
Instalment 5: Due:     October 1, 2024          (1 week prior to Block 5) $1000
Instalment 6: Due:     November 18, 2024    (1 week prior to Block 6) $1000
TOTAL $8000

Course entry requirements

Previous experience

Experience in handling horses is required.  Attendance at a Barefoot Blacksmith trimming workshop (or one of our affiliate’s workshops) is recommended.

Physical requirements

The physical requirements for entry into this course are based on the significant demands placed on the human body when handling horses’ legs for trimming.  A certain level of fitness and agility is essential to ensure a student’s safety, as well as the safety of others and the safety of the horses in their care. This career is not for everyone.

Disability restrictions

The equine hoof care workplace is inherently, potentially hazardous. Students need to be able bodied and of sound mind to interact safely with horses.  Clear vision and use of limbs are essential.  Certain disabilities would create an unacceptably high risk of injury or death to the student, other students, lecturers or horses.


Parental consent will be required for those not yet 18 years of age at the time of course commencement. Training and assessment staff who deliver training to persons under 18 years of age will hold a current Working with Children Check.

Competent English

No minimum education standard is set as a prerequisite to entry into this course. However, a general command of spoken and written English, as well as the ability to write a simple report is required, equivalent to a level 3 of the Australian Core Skills Framework. This course requires the satisfactory completion of oral and written tasks.

The ACSF framework stipulates appropriate levels for: Learning, Reading, Writing, Oral Communication and Numeracy.

Pre-Training Review

A Pre-Training assessment in Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) is a mandatory government requirement in the induction phase of a potential student.  This enables Australian College of Equine Podiotherapy to identify those learners who may need additional support (e.g. if they have low English levels) and to identify whether a learner’s physical attributes may influence their ability to complete the training and assessment. This involves completing some task sheets and an interview before enrolment in the course.

Course prerequisite

A current qualification in human first aid (Provide First Aid HLTAID011) is a prerequisite before course commencement.

Course Delivery and Duration

The course is designed to be completed in one year.

The course is delivered in six intensive blocks of face-to-face lectures and practicals.


Block 1 February 6 days 12th to 17th February
Block 2 April 6 days 15th to 20th April
Block 3 May 5 days 29th May to 2nd June
Block 4 August 5 days 27th to 31st August
Block 5 September 5 days 8th to 12th October
Block 6 October 5 days 25th to 29th November


Assignments are to be completed at home between the blocks. Students are also required to complete a series of in-depth case studies to prove competence in a range of different situations to attain their Diploma. This portfolio must be completed within a year of completing block 6.

The course is flexible and can be completed in 1,2 or 3 years.  This allows for individual schedules and “Life Happens” situations. Blocks must be completed in order. Consequently, when taking into consideration the case study portfolio, full qualification can be obtained in 1 ½ -4 years.

College Location

The college is based at Mayfield, 470 Middle Creek Road, Yarck, in North-East Victoria.  Mayfield is a picturesque 1000-acre farm that breeds cattle, sheep and horses.  Property owners Andrew and Nicky Bowe have developed this farm into a rehabilitation centre for lame horses and an agistment centre for retirees.

There are usually 70-100 equines residing at Mayfield which provides a wide range of learning opportunities for students.

The campus provides a comfortable air-conditioned and heated classroom, full student amenities, accommodation, and camping facilities.  There is also a range of off-campus accommodation options within easy driving distance.

Equipment and P.P.E.

Students need to supply their own trimming gloves and it is a condition of the college insurance that students must wear an approved (Australian Standards) safety riding helmet during the handling of live horses.  Loan tools and farrier aprons are available from the college but if you are travelling by car, please bring your own if you can.  Gloves, aprons and a large inventory of trimming tools are available for purchase, but not safety helmets.

Course Texts

Textbooks listed below are supplied as part of your course reference material.

  • Equine Laminitis - Current Concepts RIRDC by Chris Pollitt
  • Equine Laminitis - Managing Pasture To Reduce Risk RIRDC by Chris Pollitt & Kathryn A. Watts
  • Introduction to Horse Biology by Zoe Davis
  • Lameness by Christine King and Richard Mansmann.
  • The Pony That Did Not Die by Andrew and Nicky Bowe
  • First Response by Amanda Edwards

Your lecturers will have suggestions for other textbooks you might like to add to your collection that will help you build a great reference library to assist you in the future.

Research Articles and Handouts Issued in Class

During this course you will be given many published research articles on hoof care.  These are meant to help you gain an understanding of the various research projects being undertaken in this field, and to help you develop your knowledge and understanding of anatomical terms.

Some will contain aspects on hoof care practices and methods not shared by your course developers; you are encouraged to discuss these and to question why they have been included in your course material.

It is vital you have knowledge of the various traditional treatments for hoof problems offered to your future clients, so you can discuss with horse owners and attending veterinarians why you feel natural rehabilitation should be considered as a viable alternative.

These articles are offered as an overview of what is happening in this fast evolving industry and to assist you in learning critical thinking skills when reading any research material.

Student support services

Being a student is exciting, but it can also be challenging. College staff can be approached to seek advice on academic and personal issues, offering professional and confidential advice in areas where they can help to ensure a positive learning experience is achieved.

Support services may include but are not limited to:

  • Referral to LLN specialists/short courses
  • One on one discussions with lecturers/administration
  • Perpetual free attendance at future Barefoot Blacksmith trimming workshops
  • Perpetual free attendance at herd trimming days at Mayfield.
  • Payment plans that can be tailored to suit both parties
  • 10 % discount on trimming tools purchased from the Barefoot Blacksmith during first year as a student.
  • Supply of trimming tools and PPE to borrow during study blocks
  • Option to use horse at Mayfield for trimming practice and case studies

Master Classes/Seminars

In conjunction with the Equine Podiotherapists Association of Australia, the college helps to facilitate occasional master classes for past and present students and hoofcare/musculoskeletal themed conferences for the wider equine industry.

Career Opportunities

The sky is your limit! This training opens up a huge field of work.  In Australia at present the demand for properly trained bare hoof care specialists far exceeds supply.

It is impossible to meet the demand for Equine Podiotherapists at this time!

  • Networking with other lecturers and trimmers for practical trimming experience.
  • Information for associations and insurance
  • Insurance whilst a student
  • Printing of notes and assessments
The bunkhouse
Students in the home paddock