Join The Equestrian Soft Tissue Association: ESTA

The ESTA holds two main aims:

Upholding high standards for the training and further education of equestrian soft tissue therapists
Representing as wide a cross section of our industry as possible

As such, we accept applications from therapists with a broad range of backgrounds.

We have three membership categories: Full Member (comprising newly graduated therapists under the Graduate header), Student Member and Friend of the ESTA & SMA.

Student membership is for any student specifically on a course to qualify in Equine Massage Therapy, not for applicants who are in full or part-time education for any other qualification. In order to register and be approved for this category, please complete the application form online and upload supporting evidence to prove your place on a Equine Massage Therapy course. This could take the form of a welcome letter or payment receipt and will ideally demonstrate the dates you are due to attend your course in person.

A Friend of the ESTA & SMA is a category for those who are not practising (either through retirement or on sabbatical or any other reason) but who wish to remain in contact with ESTA and The SMA and its activities. It could also be the appropriate category for those whose qualification backgrounds do not match any of the categories below.

Full membership is for therapists who have completed a qualification in Human and Equine Sports Massage or Soft Tissue Therapy. We use two metrics to place therapists within our membership system: a numbered grading based on the level of qualification completed and a grading of Bronze, Silver or Gold based on the experience gained since qualifying.

ASSIGNED Membership SUB-levels and joining criteria: 


ESTA Student therapist or Friend of the SMA

Therapists that have attended a Day/ short course and to get an introduction to Equine Massage. 

  • Equi-Therapy Sports Massage Certificate
  • TCAP - Equine Sports Massage Diploma 
  • Wolds Equine Sports and Rehab Programme 


Member has completed:

  • a Level 3 equine sports massage qualification 
  • another non-standard qualification, e.g. Sports Rehab BSc

Equi-Therapy UK Sports Massage Diploma

ICAT Equine Sports Massage and Rehabilitation - Level 4 

Equine Physical Therapy and Myopractic Course 


Member has completed:

  • a Level 3 qualification in Equine Sports Massage Therapy and a level 3 Human Massage Qualification. or
Original Level 3 Diploma in Equine Sports Massage (RQF 603/2348/6) delivered by Mary Bromley or Helen Tompkins


Member has completed:

  • A level 4 human sports massage qualification and a level 3 equine sports massage qualification
  • a Level 4 qualification in Sports Massage Therapy from an Awarding Organisation (VTCT, ITEC, Active IQ) accredited by the QCF/RQF national framework for qualifications and a level 3 equine sports massage qualification
  • a degree course from an SMA-accredited university and a level 3 equine sports massage qualification
  • a BTEC Level 4 course in Sports and Remedial Massage Therapy and a level 3 equine sports massage qualification
  • The Open College of Equine Studies - level 5 Diploma  in Equine Sports Massage and Rehabilitation  


Member has completed:

  • A level 5 human sports massage qualification or Soft Tissue Therapy and a level 3 equine sports massage and a relevant degree (at the committees discretion), practicing over 5 years with continuous professional development. 

We recognise that holders of older qualifications may not easily fit into this structure, so we therefore assess these qualifications on an individual basis.

We further recognise that a therapist’s initial qualification is their starting point and not necessarily what defines their practice forever. Therapists can move up a grade with full evidence of assessed, quality CPD added to their online CPDme dashboard.

We use CPD hours added to the dashboard to give members a grading of Bronze, Silver or Gold in recognition of experience gained since qualification. All members are expected to complete a minimum of 30 hours CPD per membership term once they are no longer in the Graduate category. Bronze membership recognises CPD completed in the first 1-4 years since qualification; Silver between 4 and 8 years qualified and Gold for longer than 8 years. All metallic gradings are contingent on CPD being added to the online log. We undertake random CPD sampling on an annual basis to make sure members are upholding high standards in their own development.

The above is for clarification only as both the numbered and metallic gradings are added by ESTA during the application process – all you have to do is fill in the form and upload qualification and insurance certificates in your profile.


Having read all the above information on the ESTA membership levels please click above to complete you membership application




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