Become an ESMA Therapist

Level 3 Diploma in Equine Sports Massage (RQF 603/2348/6)

Members of the Equine Sports Massage Association (ESMA) have undertaken a stringent and demanding training program designed to develop and synergize their human and equine massage skills. The entry standard for the Equine Sports Massage Association is the Ofqual approved Level 3 Diploma in Equine Sports Massage delivered by UKRLP-registered Animal Therapy Solutions Limited (ATSL). The course runs from September each year over 7 contact weekends (a total of 400 TQT hours) from a Training and Event Centre near Tiverton in Devon.

The training is accredited by Open Awards and, having passed a Scrutiny Panel, the Level 3 Diploma in Equine Sports Massage delivered by ATSL is listed on Ofqual’s Regulated Qualifications Framework. The course is taught by veterinary physiotherapist Helen Tompkins with contributions from expert external lectures. ASTL is the only centre in the UK able to deliver this specialist qualification to the standard required for ESMA membership.

The Level 3 course content was subject to an external Technical Review receiving the following recommendation:

“Having thoroughly perused the modules, lecture content, learning outcomes with assessment criteria, assessment procedures, records and structures; I found the proposed training to be of a very high standard.  It has a strong physiotherapy bias and contains the relevant anatomy & physiology elements required for such a training course to sit alongside the practical ‘hands on’ massage content. I have no hesitation in recommending the course.”

Pre-requisites for entry onto the Level 3 Diploma in Equine Sports Massage are:

  • 5 GSCE passes at A-C including English (or equivalent)
  • Applicants must be 21 years of age at commencement of the course
  • A Level 3 human massage qualification from an accredited training provider
  • *3 years’ experience in a professional yard (supported by references)

*Applicants who do not strictly meet these criteria should contact Helen Tompkins to discuss their experience levels.

Please visit for full details of the career training course or email to request a copy of the most recent Information Pack detailing fees and next intake dates.


Helen Tompkins (MSc (Vet Phys) MSc (An Manip) Dip ITEC MMAA MNAVP RAMP Registered) is an experienced Veterinary Physiotherapist with a busy clinical practice operating throughout Devon and surrounding periphery including  clients working in a wide range of disciplines from pleasure riding to World Class level.   Since 2008 she has been involved with Equine Sports Massage training; from 2008-2015 assisting the renowned Mary Bromiley MBE (FCSP, RPT) in delivery of the ITEC Diploma in Equine Sports Massage.

The ESMA training course has been run by Helen through her training company Animal Therapy Solutions Limited since 2015, initially as the Cert.T ESM accredited by LANTRA. In 2017, The Cert.T ESM was subsequently re-accredited by Open Awards and awarded the status of Level 3 Diploma on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).  Further details of Helen and her clinical practice are available at