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Equestrian Centre

Our equestrian centre's many impressive facilities are an essential resource for you if you're studying on an equine course at our beautiful Brackenhurst Campus.

Study on an equine course at Brackenhurst and you'll have access to extensive and unique facilities which are also used by various organisations including local pony clubs and the Great Britain eventing team (senior and junior).

Students benefit from the equestrian centre by organising their own competitions, taking part in significant research and developing their own coaching skills with other students.

The centre is a British Horse Society (BHS) approved training and livery establishment and also holds a full local authority riding school licence.

We also run a Rider / Groom's Academy for all students across further and higher education to support talented riders and grooms to realise their potential whilst continuing their academic studies.

Facilities include:

  • international-size indoor and outdoor riding arenas
  • a horse walker
  • a round pen
  • crew yards
  • a 40 x 20 research arena surrounded by a 7-foot fence to allow loose schooling
  • observation holes in the fence, allowing you to observe horses from outside the arena
  • student livery.

Our horses

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
  • 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.

If you are interested in discussing this with us further, please contact our yard manager, Anna Gregory by telephone on +44 (0)115 848 8043 or via email.

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.

More about our facilities

Mary King Arena

Refurbished and re-launched by six time Olympian Mary King in 2012 this is 60 x 40 metres with a Prowax sand riding surface. It includes a seating gallery area capable of seating 279 people for events or to observe training and research in comfort. 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 effectively 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.

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.

Research arena

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.


Our stabling has been developed with horse welfare firmly in mind. We have a variety of boxes to include individual stables, crew yards and combi barns all allowing excellent comparison for the welfare of the stabled horses.

Equine Centre Classroom

Our Equestrian Centre classroom seats up to 24 students and has fully installed audio visual equipment.


We offer DIY student livery that includes use of the Equestrian Centre facilities.

Performance Analysis Room

The Performance Analysis Room houses mechanical horse, iJoy Ride, Balimo Chair, Tekscan Pressure testing equipment and mirrors, all of which are utilised for clinics and workshops.

Technical Room

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.

And much more...

  • cross country schooling paddock
  • horse walker
  • round pens for lunging / research
  • stocks and solarium
  • washbox
  • project rooms for staff and student research
  • large lecture rooms
  • laboratory facilities (located in the Bramley building and Veterinary Nursing Unit)

Our research

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
  • to investigate the horse-human relationship.

We put particular emphasis on the following areas of research:

  • Performance analysis of horse and rider
    • using video analysis, DartfishProSuite® version 5.0 to investigate jumping saddle design on rider posture, the Racewood horse simulator, and mobile eye tracking technology
  • Assessing ridden behaviour
    • researching methods of identifying what constitutes a 'happy equine athlete'
  • Monitoring activity patterns
  • Assessing feeding behaviour
  • Welfare-related projects

Equestrian Centre

  • Subject area: Animal, equine and wildlife
  • Category: Learning tools and spaces; Sports and leisure; Research; Teaching facilities; Animal/Veterinary
  • Location: Brackenhurst Campus

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418