First Aid


Accidents and injuries can happen at any time anywhere, for any number of reasons. This makes it essential that everyone involved with horses, including riders, instructors, grooms, competitors, volunteers, and fence judges – know how to administer first aid, and that every professional has a recognised and up-to-date first aid qualification (a prerequisite for being included on the register of instructors).

BHS first aid courses provide a basic overview of first aid procedures, and focus on the injuries most likely to be sustained while handling and riding horses. The course is appropriate for anyone involved with the handling of horses and will also teach you what to do if you are first on the scene of an accident. The emphasis of the training is on providing essential help until a professional arrives.

See the list of current course dates below. We are constantly adding new dates to the list. If there is not one listed in your region, please email our team at to register your interest and see what we have got planned.

I am an accredited professional coach and my course is included...

If you are an accredited professional coach then all you need to do to book your course free of charge is call the team on 02476 840565.

The BHS Two-Day Initial First Aid Course

This two-day course is for anyone who has had no first aid training, or whose qualification has lapsed. On completion you receive an ID card and, or certificate of achievement valid for two years.

After completing this, every two years you will then need:

The BHS One-Day Refresher First Aid Course

This course is for everyone who holds a first aid qualification that they need to update. This is required every two years and is necessary for instructors wishing to remain on the register, unless they hold an up-to-date Health and Safety Executive (HSE) first aid at work certificate. Anyone applying for a place on a one-day refresher course will be required to provide evidence of previous attendance at a first aid at work or BHS first aid course.  If this qualification has lapsed, they will need to attend a two day BHS first aid initial course.

Changes to the Health and Safety Executive's First Aid At Work

On 1 October 2013 the HSE made changes to the regulation of first aid at work (FAW) training. The HSE no longer give direct approval to training providers to provide FAW courses. This means that any training provider can now offer FAW courses.

The HSE still set the standards and syllabus for the FAW courses and any company providing these courses must adhere to them. There is a voluntary accreditation scheme planned whereby training providers can ask an independent company to audit and quality assure their ability to provide trainers that can deliver the FAW course. However, the scheme is in its early stages.

Anyone wishing to undertake a FAW course should ensure that the course they are planning to attend matches the criteria below.

If you have no first aid training:
You will need to complete a FAW three-day course. This comprises 18 hours of practical teaching in a classroom environment spread over three days with a practical assessment on the last day.

If you currently hold a FAW certificate and need to refresh:

You will need to complete a FAW two-day course. This comprises 12 hours of practical teaching in a classroom environment spread over two days with a practical assessment on the last day.

Choosing a training provider

If you currently hold a FAW certificate and need to refresh and are happy with the company you have previously used then there is no reason to change.
If you are new to FAW, or wish to change your training provider, then our best advice is to choose to train with one of the Voluntary Aid Services (VAS). These are St Johns Ambulance and the Red Cross (and St Andrews in Scotland). We also recommend Skillbase, who provide the training for the BHS first aid course, and CHS training in Scotland.

Important Information

If you wish to hold a FAW certificate you must attend either a three-day course or two-day course, depending on whether or not you currently hold a certificate. These should be practical days with a practical assessment included and match the study hours and days as already outlined. Your certificate should state that the course meets HSE guidelines. Courses that do not match these requirements or are completed online in any way are not FAW courses as laid down by the HSE.

What do the BHS accept?

For the purpose of the BHS register of instructors, BHS examinations and the UKCC taken through the BHS we accept the following:

  • A three-day initial FAW course that meets the HSE criteria and guidelines as specified above.
  • A two-day refresher FAW course that meets the HSE criteria and guidelines as specified above.
  • A two-day initial BHS first aid course presented by Skillbase and booked through the BHS
  • A one-day refresher BHS first aid course presented by Skillbase and booked through the BHS
  • An Ofqual-accredited level 3 certificate where the course has been run over three days.

BHS first aid courses are presented by CHS training in Scotland and jointly issued by the BHS and Browne McKee partnership in Ireland.

What do the BHS not accept?
Any first aid courses that do not match the above criteria.
Any one-day first aid courses.
Any first aid courses completed in full or in part online.

If you are in any doubt about the first aid course you are considering undertaking, please call the BHS Education Team for advice on 02476 840508 or email

Please note: in order to ensure that our customers are receiving the necessary first aid training for working within the equestrian industry and for the BHS register of instructors and our qualifications, if the certificate you provide does not provide enough detail about the course you have attended we may contact you for further information.

First Aid in Ireland

Please contact Susan Spratt or call her on 02892 683801 or 07808 141079.

First Aid in Scotland

Find course dates in Scotland.

Download an application form

Please note: entry for all courses closes five days before the course is due to take place. Please ensure you have booked well in advance of the date to avoid disappointment.

Next Courses:

The next dates and locations this course is taking place

South West, 30/06/2017
Start date Time Duration Fee Location
30/06/2017 09:15 - 16:30 One Day £80 The Grange Equestrian Centre
Devon - EX20 3DA
East of England, 06/07/2017
Start date Time Duration Fee Location
06/07/2017 9.15am Two days £111 VALLEY FARM RIDING AND DRIVING CENTRE
Suffolk - IP13 OND
South, 10/07/2017
Start date Time Duration Fee Location
10/07/2017 9.15am One Day £80 CHECKENDON EQUESTRIAN CENTRE
Berkshire - RG8 0NE
South West, 10/07/2017
Start date Time Duration Fee Location
10/07/2017 9.15am Two Days £111 HARTPURY COLLEGE
Gloucestershire - GL19 3BE

View all dates and locations

How to apply

  1. Step 2

    Return the form to the Education team along with your payment.

  2. Step 3

    Payments by credit or debit card can be made over the phone on 02476 840508.

Get in touch to apply

Post application to:

Education Team
The British Horse Society
Abbey Park

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