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I want to become a Riding Instructor - but how?

I want to become a Riding Instructor do I have to go to college

No.  There are lots of ways to get qualified and 2 or 3 of different qualifications for riding instructors in the UK.  The road to becoming an instructor is similar to a step ladder and you cannot jump straight to the top.  There are a variety of exams to achieve prior to being eligible to take the instructor exams.

Here at Lingfield however, we can help you make and take that first step. Instructors do not just teach riding – Today they are trained to a nationally graded sports standard in a variety of skills.

Riding instructors in the UK are trained coaches working with their clients and pupils to improve both mental and physical skills.

They are ‘horsemasters’ and ‘trainers’ which means they have the ability to understand and put into practice equine welfare and management to a high standard, and to teach and train horses.

In the UK, there are a number of different equestrian qualifications – some are useful, some, we believe are not quite as useful as the advertising and websites would have you believe.

There are agriculturally based colleges offering training via structured in-house live in or live out courses.

Large institutions like this do suit some and also offer an academic degree route for those  not necessarily interested in working in a ‘hands on’ capacity with equines.

There are also plenty of equestrian centres all around the country providing full and commercially based training for qualifications.  The skills gained at these centres are much in demand by employees in the workplace.

There are also providers like ourselves who assist in providing courses for the theory knowledge for qualifications.  These coursed are aimed at the serious private owner aiming to broaden their knowledge as well as anyone hoping to become an instructor.  They provide the knowledge required to achieve future instructor qualifications.

Land based college courses

  • It is easy to assume a college course, or programme of training at a big land based college is the route to take to become a riding instructor. The colleges have the financial ability to advertise and promote their courses and facilities widely.
  • The colleges often suit young people straight out of school who are as yet undecided which route to take in their equine career.
  • Slightly older students however, have often voiced to us the feeling that it is often find it hard to fit in with the reality of the campus situation and the younger crowd with whom they are training.

There are any number of routes to take qualifications – some may suit you – others may not.  Here are just a few:

  • National Diplomas Levls 1 – 4
  • BTEC
  • British Horse Society Stages leading to BHS teaching & instructors qualifications
  • Association of British Riding Schools qualifications for grooms and instructors

The National Diploma accredited system available today has taken over from the NVQ system.  (National Vocational Qualifications system). They combine practical learning with subject & theory content – assessment based throughout.

BTEC stands for the Business and Technology Education Council. BTECs are specialist work-related qualifications. They combine practical learning with subject and theory content.

When considering say a National Diploma at Level 1 or 2, no matter if you are a slightly older student, or a school leaver, you need to look at the whole picture of the equestrian qualification system.

Not every college will explain to you (unless you ask the right questions), that here are further exams outside and extra to that Diploma course you will need to take if you wish to become a qualified instructor.

Accredited qualifications uk – work based / vocational


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