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New coaching qualifications ?

New coaching qualifications ?

The alternative to the usual training and qualification route is:

The Level 2 Equestrian Coaching Certificate.

These are offered by various organisations within the equestrian world although many are unaware of this fact. They are not widely advertised and not so well known – but they are genuinely, professionally recognised and accredited, equestrian coaching qualifications.

The overall qualification is overseen by 1st4sport and endorsed by UKCC.  A list of accredited coaches can be seen on the British Equestrian Federation website.

The following information has not been confirmed with all the various organisations mentioned.  We cannot therefore say for sure that at the time of writing, this information below is correct.  It seems to be quite difficult to find information (because there is so little out there). 

We have however, done our best and provided here what we believe to be the situation at this time (December 2019).  Readers should however, do their own research using this basic information to further their enquiries.


The Coaching Certificate (endorsed by UKCC) is an endorsement of a sport’s own externally awarded qualifications used to ensure the levels and standards of coaches across sports conform to common levels. The BEF is endorsed to deliver (in partnership with our member bodies) at Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4.

This Equestrian Coaching Certificate is a newer version of what used to be called the UKCC (UK Coaching Certificate). The changeover is underway – information statement will be found here.

The BHS used to offer this UKCC alongside their own Stages & Teaching qualifications which are overseen by Equestrian Qualifications Limited which is wholly owned by the BHS.  The BHS therefore, have overall financial control over accreditation, qualification standard, fees etc. of their own Stages & coaching qualification system but not of the internationally recognised UKCC / Equestrian Coaching Certificate.  The BHS dropped this internationally recognised external coaching qualification option from their training system. Reasons unknown to me.

The Association of British Riding Schools however, do offer this generic ECC which is a good option for those looking too qualify outside the BHS system.

The various organisations which offer ‘Equestrian Coaching Certificates’, have each devised specialist coaching certificates relevant to their particular discipline.

Specific Coaching Certificate Providers

British Dressage
British Eventing
British Showjumping
UK Polocrosse
British Carriage Driving

Generic Coaching Certificate Providers

The Pony Club
Association of British Riding Schools
Horse Scotland

The generic ‘equestrian coaching certificate’ Level 2 overseen by BEF.1st4sport, is currently available once a year via the ABRS (Association of British Riding Schools) but generally for limited numbers only.

Level 1 must usually first be attained. The ABRS do not currently offer this.

Currently only the Pony Club have the Level 1 available.

Training for Level 1 with the Pony Club covers coaching adults as well as children.  Contact the Pony Club for further information on Level 1 coaching training in your region.

However, the current ABRS website information is provided as follows:

“Most candidates have been engaged in a teaching role within a riding centre for a considerable period of time. Many of the candidates also hold Instructing and Teaching qualifications and wish to aid their personal professional development whilst keeping abreast of changing standards. Some candidates have also previously achieved UKCC Level 1. Though this is desirable it is not essential. In order to ensure you have sufficient technical/subject knowledge to successfully complete we also ask for a minimum of a Level 2 (or equivalent) in horse care and riding.”

For any coaching qualification in the UK, you will also need all the usual safeguarding, police/criminal record and disclosure checks and first aid & possibly the road safety courses under your belt. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.

  • First aid courses can be taken with Medi K – these are fully HSE approved

If you do not have sufficient provable teaching experience, you may need to look at taking Level 1 somehow.

Keep in mind that although there will be a fee for Level 1 training it is generally subsidised by the Pony Club itself for their branches. The Pony Club hope to train people who are keen to help at pony club events and who would be prepared to teach at rallies etc. Pony Club committees, helpers and most instructors are volunteers.

The Level 2 Coaching Certificate training and qualification with the ABRS generally involves traveling to attend a 4/5 day course.

As with any genuinely professional qualification such as a solicitor or accountant or teacher, or any profession, it demands quite high fees for training and for the actual qualification itself.

Although the training availability is quite limited, the more interest that is shown in training courses by prospective candidates, the more likely it is that more courses will be run in future – right now we got the impression the ABRS seem to think that there is little demand – but we are aware that there are many people who have shown an interest.

We have a little more information in this office for those who are keen to train and we are keen to push for more training availability.

For information please email me personally as soon as possible (Attn: Paula Clements)
Send name, address and a brief & simple 2 sentence description of current situation regarding background training & reasons for qualification requirement to:

For those who are aiming for the UKCC/ECC qualification we suggest you make sure you are up to speed on what the assessment days require.  Lingfield offers an online teaching preparation course suitable for those training for a teaching qualification in future.  This includes information on how people learn, lesson plans and preparation ideas for various types of lessons and risk assessments etc.

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