Study an equine course here at Brackenhurst and you'll have access to our British Horse Society (BHS) approved Equestrian Centre. Here at the centre students can organise their own competitions, take part in significant research and develop their own riding and coaching skills.
There are approximately 30 horses at the Equestrian Centre, including school masters, competition horses, and youngsters. The horses are available for riding instruction, coaching, stable management and research.
The Equestrian Centre takes some horses on a loan basis throughout the academic year. These horses are used for both riding and stable management education. There are limited spaces available and the horses are selected during the summer break before the start of term. All horses are continually assessed according to their temperament and ability.
Mary King Arena
Our Mary King Arena is 60 x 40 metres with a Prowax sand riding surface and includes a 279 seated gallery area, perfect for events or to observe training and research. Indoor cross country jumps are available as well as a full range of show jumps and school barriers. The area accommodates two arenas during dressage training and for show jump training, the course area allows plenty of room for smooth turns.
The Mary King Arena is used for research, allowing horses to be loose schooled. Our camera system records both training and research that can then be analysed using various software by both staff and students and viewed on our arena screens.
The Equestrian Centre is a British Horse Society (BHS) approved training and livery establishment and we also hold a full local authority riding school licence.
Outdoor riding school
Our outdoor riding school is 60 x 40 metres with waxed sand and fibre surface, enclosed by fencing and fully floodlit with a full range of show jumps and school barriers.
The outdoor arena provides a fantastic open space to support with improving your riding skills such as jumping.
Horse walker and round pens
You will also have access to a fully functioning horse walker and round pens to support with exercising and the rehabilitation of our horses.
Crew yards and stabling
Our stabling has been developed with horse welfare firmly in mind. We have a range of housing designs to enhance horse welfare and cater for each horse’s individual needs, whilst also providing research opportunities. Our range of stabling includes:
- Individual stabling with provision for social contact and some with outdoor space
- Group housing with outdoor space
- Indoor group housing
- Dedicated turnout and grazing
Performance Analysis Room
The Performance Analysis Room houses our mechanical horse, a state of the art piece of equipment connected to video analysis software, which allows riders to monitor and measure posture, as well as a pressure mapping system to assess balance.
The room also includes a iJoy Ride, Balimo Chair, Tekscan Pressure testing equipment and mirrors, all of which are utilised for clinics and workshops.
The technical room includes computer equipment for student use during project work including use of research software such as Observer, OnTrack and Dartfish. This room can also be used for downloading data from cameras, heart rate monitors, mobile eye and other data collecting equipment.
Our research arena is 40 x 20 metres with a waxed sand surface. It is fully enclosed by seven foot fencing to allow loose schooling. Observation holes in the fence allow staff and students to observe the horse(s) from outside the arena to reduce any influence on natural behaviour.
We offer DIY student livery that includes use of the Equestrian Centre facilities. DIY livery is available to students studying at Brackenhurst Campus. Priority is given to year one students studying on equine courses, with applications from other years and subject areas considered if/when spaces become available.
Both staff and students carry out significant research at the centre, often in collaboration with external partners. The main focus of our research is to enhance the performance and welfare of the horse and to investigate the horse-human relationship.
We put particular emphasis on the following areas of research:
- Performance analysis of horse and rider by using video analysis DartfishProSuite® to investigate jumping saddle design on rider posture, the Racewood horse simulator, and mobile eye tracking technology
- Assessing ridden behaviour by researching methods of identifying what constitutes a 'happy equine athlete'
- Monitoring activity patterns
- Assessing feeding behaviour
- Welfare-related projects.
Hire our facilities
Our fantastic Equestrian Centre facilities are also available for external hire.
- Subject area: Animal, equine and wildlife
- Category: Learning tools and spaces; Sports and leisure; Research; Teaching facilities; Animal/Veterinary
- Location: Brackenhurst Campus