We have been awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for our unique training programme in the equine industry, combined with commercial breeding of thoroughbreds.
Through our high-quality Equine Studies programme, we teach and train the future stars and specialists of the industry.
The Equine facilities at our Common Leys Farm campus, which is set in over 60 acres of Oxfordshire countryside, are state-of-the-art and provide everything our students need.
From Level 1 through to our undergraduate degrees, we have students travel from all over the county to join our community at Common Leys Farm.
The Equine Studies department is an exiting and busy place to be! You will help with the foaling of our thoroughbred horses; learn how to ride a range of different horses; and have lessons on ground work skills, schooling, riding over poles, jumping and road work.
Visits to local equine and stud yards, along with trips to other colleges and universities, will enhance your experience and knowledge of equine practices.
There are also opportunities to play at a professional polo yard, use the industry-standard horse walker, weigh scales, nutritional software and heart rate monitors, and develop skills with different sports and racing tack.
Having achieved a distinction in her Equine Management diploma at Abingdon & Witney College (when it was known as West Oxfordshire College), Clair went on to graduate from Oxford Brookes University in Equine Science & Thoroughbred Management.
With various experience in equine yards and studs in the UK, Italy, South Africa and Australia, Clair has been teaching at the College for several years before becoming the Curriculum Manager in 2016 for Equine.
"I feel lucky to work with an amazing team of staff, on a beautiful campus surrounded by countryside and animals. If you're passionate about teaching practical courses outdoors like I am, then I couldn't think of a better place to be!
The best part of teaching on the Equine courses is seeing students develop into successful young adults and hearing about the careers they've worked so hard to get to.
Attending the College's annual Student of the Year Awards is also a real highlight. It's a special evening and being there to celebrate the success of not just our Common Leys Farm students but all students at the College is wonderful."
Horses were just a hobby for Rose at first, riding out for local racehorse trainers and working in customer service.
Then at the age of 36, she decided to go back to education and ended up with a Research Masters whilst also working at Cats Protection as a Welfare Officer.
After running her own equine behaviour and training consultancy, she lectured at Bridgwater College, Truro College and Duchy College, before coming to Abingdon & Witney College to take on the position of Course Leader for the Equine BSc degrees.
"I love most of all seeing the students’ progress from a position of often a one-sided viewpoint about the way we train and treat horses, to the realisation that we should actually also be taking notice of their psychology as well as their physiology. To see them research and discover the differences that small husbandry changes can make to the performance of horses is fantastic.
For my students, the most important benefit is the ability to study Equine Science in a university scenario, which I think is probably unique for the subject. They have the benefit of university life and contacts alongside the college advantages (i.e. training at the stud farm), and this enables them to leave with a degree that is highly renowned in the industry."
Emma studied a BSc in Equine studies at Warwickshire College and a MSc in applied Equine Studies at the Royal Agriculture College in Cirencester. After a year as an equine veterinary nurse in Gloucester, she joined Warwickshire College and moved into teaching and stayed there for ten years.
Emma joined Moulton College, working in their Hydrotherapy unit, just prior to moving to Abingdon & Witney College in 2016.
Alongside teaching and training she competes in dressage and is a professionally accredited judge and coach in this area.
"I’ve always liked to see the progress students make and be a part of their educational journey. Working and studying at Common Leys Farm is a joy; we have a tight-knit community here between staff and students, and we give them lots of support to get them thinking about careers early on.
With my different experiences, students gain three different angles to their classes; as a tutor, a dressage competitor and as a trainer. This gives them a much wider set of skills and knowledge."
The Equine Studies department have had a 100% success rate in 2018/19 at Level 3, and a 100% success rates for the last two years at Level 1 and 2.
Nazik, a horse bred and trained at the College, won a race at Chepstow in May 2016.
At the Ascot foal sales, our Equine students have helped prepare and parade the foals, gaining important work experience.
King Alfred's Academy
Coming to Common Leys Farm for the equine course made perfect sense for me, as it meant I could work at Charles Hills Racehorse Trainer in Lambourn and get the grounding I need with my studies before starting a career.
The lecturers here are really nice and easy to get along with. They have different backgrounds and experience within the industry which is really interesting to learn from. They make sure to keep challenging us and treat us like adults.
I have also been working with an equine dentist, which is something I want to do as a career - so adding to my experience at college has been very rewarding.
I particularly enjoyed working on the yard with the mares and foals and the mix of theory and practical lessons. I gained some great work experience placements at both an equine vet practice and a racing yard.
The staff here were really supportive in all areas and I have made some great like-minded friends. My plan now is to go on to study for a degree in Equine Science and Management.
Chipping Norton School
Ella came to the College always knowing she wanted to work with horses, as she loves being outside and had ridden horses since she could remember! Gaining a qualification which would help her gain more knowledge and understanding of working within the horse industry was the natural next step. She is now Yard Manager at Crown Farm near Witney, and here's what she has to say about her experience at college:
"I had such a fabulous two years at Abingdon & Witney College, as I was able to learn so much with the most brilliant staff.
I was given lots of opportunities such as going to Newmarket to parade the thoroughbred yearlings and also helping to do overnight foal watch, which was probably my favourite part!
College taught me all about the runnings of a yard and how to keep to a good organised routine; to anyone considering going to college, I would say do it! It’s a fantastic opportunity and you will learn so much as well as making some great friends on the way."
Equine Retail Sales Manager
Equine Veterinary Nurse
Racehorse Stable Staff
This three-year science degree gives you a thorough scientific understanding of the subject area, knowledge of the equine industry, and the scope to develop business and management skills. The majority of teaching on this course is carried out at Oxf...
11th Sept 2023 - 26th Jun 2026
Mondays & Tuesdays
Witney CampusView course details
School Leaver EFCU111P
This one year, full-time Level 1 course combines practical horse-related experience on the Common Leys yard along with theory to cover the key areas of the care of horses. You will get to work with a range of horses and learn how to carry out daily h...
School Leaver EFCM115P
This is a one year full time course, supported by periods of developing practical skills on the college’s equine yard. All aspects of horse care are covered throughout the year with a mixture of practical and classroom sessions. The course is designe...
School Leaver EFCM108P
The Level 3 course in Horse Management provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue careers in competition yards, riding schools, the horse racing Industry and the breeding industry or within a wide range of ancillary industrie...