Who’s who of equine experts

  • Equestrian professionals spend considerable time training, in order to distinguish themselves as individuals who are able to offer a quality service, but do you know your MRCVS from your MCSP? This guide to the most popular professions, includes the time undertaken in training, the qualifications gained and the profession’s governing body.


    Regulatory body: Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)


    • BSc (Hons): Bachelor of Science with Honours
    • BVM&S: Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (the abbreviation depends on the veterinary school awarding the degree. This example is for Edinburgh University)
    • BVSc: Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Bristol and Liverpool)
    • BvetMed: Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (London)
    • BVMS: Bachelor ofVeterinary Medicine and Surgery (Glasgow)
    • VetMB: Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (Cambridge)
      These graduates are automatically eligible to apply for:
    • MRCVS: Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
      And depending upon merit, peers may nominate a member for:
    • FRCVS: Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

    Time spent training: About five years, depending on the college awarding the qualification.


    Regulatory body: Faculty of Homeopathy


    • LFHom (vet): Licensed Associate of the Faculty of Homeopathy
    • Vet MFHom: Member of the Faculty of Homeopathy for Vets

    Time spent training: Candidates, who must first have qualified as a veterinary surgeon and hold one of the degrees listed above, spend one year studying part-time for the LFHom (vet) qualification, followed by two to three years of part-time study for the Vet MFHom examination.


    Regulatory bodies: British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and World Wide Association of Equine Dentistry (WWAED)


    • (BVDA) EDT: British VeterinaryDental Association Equine Dental Technician
    • WWAED cert: World Wide Association of Equine Dentistry Certificate (not recognised by BEVA in the UK)

      Time spent training: BEVA runs an introductory one-day Equine Dental Technician course for lay people, but no certificate is issued for attendance. The formal exam may be sat by non-vets, following a two-day BEVA advanced theoretical EDT course. However, candidates must be able to demonstrate previous attendence at 300 cases,40 of which should have been carried out with the horse under sedation. Visit www.beva.org.uk for a list of registered BEVA EDTs.

      l A person who would like to become affiliated to the WWAED must first join as a probationary member. They then have one year in which to pass the WWAED entrance examination. This exam involves a practical and written examination, plus an assessment of the indiviual’s skills. Members may then opt to take the certificate.


      Regulatory body: The British Horse Society (BHS)


      • BHSPT: British Horse Society Preliminary Teacher
      • BHSAI: British Horse Society Assistant Instructor
      • BHSII: British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor
      • BHSI: British Horse Society Instructor
      • FBHS: Fellow of the British Horse Society

      Time spent training

      BHSPT: Candidates have passed the BHS Preliminary Teaching Test, BHS Stage 2 and are accruing 500 hours of logged teaching.

      BHSAI: 500 hours of teaching have been logged.

      BHSII: An instructor has passed the BHSAI and BHS Stage 4.

      BHSI: This consists of the British Horse Society Stable Manager Certificate and the Equitation and Teaching Certificate. All candidates must have first passed the BHSII.

      FBHS: Instructors can opt for a general or a specialist Fellowship, allowing them to teach at the highest level of their discipline.


      Regulatory body: The Farriers Registration Council

      Only a registered farrier, a farriery apprentice or a veterinary surgeon may carry out any farriery, unless performing first-aid in an emergency. Those without a formal qualification may register if they have two years’ experience prior to 1980, if they hold a recognised equivalent overseas qualification or if they have at least six years experience in another European Economic Area country.


      • DipWCF: Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (formerly RSS: Registered Shoeing Smith)
      • AWCF: Associate of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (formerly AFCL: Associate of the Farriers Company of London)
      • FWCF: Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers.

      How have they trained?

      Holders of DipWCF or RSS have passed practical and theoretical exams, testing basic farriery, anatomy of the limb and foot, and theory on remedial shoeing for common complaints.

      Farriers with AWCF or AFCL are already qualified to DipWCF/RSS standard and have, in addition, completed a minimum of two years in practice and have also passed an examination that covers corrective shoeing.

      FWCF is the highest technical merit a farrier can achieve. Farriers who hold this have demonstrated the technical standards that are required to first pass the AWCF, they have submitted a thesis on farriery and have also demonstrated the ability to lecture.


      Regulatory bodies: Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT) – a branch of the CSP.


      • MCSP: Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
      • SRP: State-Registered Physiotherapist
      • Cat A: An MCSP-qualified physiotherapist who has completed training in the treatment of animals. Cat B denotes a person who is currently training to treat animals.

      Time spent training: Physiotherapists belonging to ACPAT have already completed a three- or four-year degree in human physiotherapy. They spend two years working on humans before specialising in animals.


      Regulatory body: General Osteopathic Council (GOsC)


      • BSc Ost Med: Bachelor of Science in Osteopathic Medicine
      • DO: Diploma in Osteopathy

      Time spent training

      The first step is an undergraduate course in osteopathy, which results in a BSc in Osteopathic Medicine. To specialise in horses, an osteopath needs to continue with further postgraduate training.

      A practising osteopath must be registered with the GOsC, which demonstrates that they meet the the Council’s standards of proficiency. These require investigation of any potential patient from a mechanical, functional and postural standpoint and that manual methods of treatment are then applied to suit the individual.


      Regulatory body: The McTimoney Chiropractic Association


      • AMC: Post Graduate Diploma in Animal Manipulation

      Time spent training

      The Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order 1962 allows chiropractors to treat animals that have first been seen by a vet. Prior to a two-year animal manipulation course, McTimoney chiropractors must first complete a BScin either human chiropractic or equine science.

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