A riding instructor is a person whose job it is to teach methods of horse riding (and also horse care) to beginners and improve the intermediate and advanced rider's style and technique.
Instructors may work at a riding school or training centre/college, or may be freelance and travel from stable to stable.
Many instructors are not qualified but in there are two recognised bodies awarding qualifications: the BHS (British Horse Society) and the ABRS (Association of British Riding Schools).
The BHS Examination System
The qualifications gained from the BHS are gained in stages. They are listed in order, and the minimum required age of the candidate is given.
- 1. Stage 1 Horse Care + Riding exam (may be taken separately or together). Min. age 14 years.
- 2. Riding and Road Safety Test (MUST be taken before stage 2) Min. age 12 years.
- 3. Stage 2 Horse Care + Riding exam (may be taken separately or together) Min age 16 years.
- 4. Stage 3 Horse Care + Riding exam (may be taken separately or together) Min. age 17 years.
- 5. PTT (Preliminary Teaching Test) Min. age 18 years.
- 6. Previously candidate then had to log 250-500 hours of teaching practice. But from January 2007 you will have to produce a portfolio of teaching evidence instead.
- 7. Either the Health and Safety Executive First Aid at Work or Equine Specific First Aid Certificate.
- 8. Upon completion of all above exams and portfolio (or the correct amount of teaching practice for anyone passing the PTT exam before 2007), the BHSAI (British Horse Society Assistant Instructor) qualification is awarded.
The next qualifications available (in order of achievement) are:
- BHSII - BHS Intermediate Instructor - BHSAI + Intermediate Horse Care exam and Stage 4 riding exam
- BHSI - Instructor - BHSII + Stable Managers exam + Equitation and teaching exam
- FBHS - Fellow of the British Horse Society BHSI + Fellow's exam. Very few people achieve this qualification. A FBHS is regarded as an international expert.
The tests become progressively harder and it may be a matter of years before the candidate can achieve the most basic qualification the BHSAI. Most candidates will have to start from Stage 1 as it is a requirement to have passed the previous test before moving onto the next stage. Candidates must also be Gold Members of the BHS to take exams, which vary in cost, starting from £130 for the complete Stage 1 exam.
- Horse riding
Manual of Horsemanship (2004) Kenilworth: The Pony Club.
Auty, I. (2003) The Instructor's Manual for Teaching Riding. Buckingham: Kenilworth Press.
Auty, I. (2003) The BHS Training Manual for Stage 1. Buckingham: Kenilworth Press.
Auty, I. (2004) The BHS Training Manual for Stage 2. Buckingham: Kenilworth Press.
Auty, I. (2005) The BHS Training Manual for Stage 3. Buckingham: Kenilworth Press.
Cave, M. (1996) The Course Companion For BHS Stages I & II. London: JA Allen.
Cave, M. (1996) The Course Companion For BHS Stages III & IV. London: JA Allen.
BHS (2003) The BHS Riding and Road Safety Manual. Kenilworth: BHS.
BHS (2004) The BHS Examinations Handbook. Kenilworth: BHS.
Marzcak, J. and Bush, K. (2001) The Principles of Teaching Riding. Devon: David & Charles.
Mortimer, M. (2003) The Riding Instructor's Handbook. Devon: David & Charles.
Reed, H. (1999)The Preliminary Teaching Test. Yately: Nova.
Pony Club (1993) The Instructor's Handbook. Kenilworth: The Pony Club.
Wallace, J. (2002) Teaching Children to Ride. Buckingham: Kenilworth Press.