The project will help centres and clients develop an informal community through their yard
A fantastic initiative has been trialled over the last few months where the BHS, in conjunction with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), has been running a pilot project to help recreational riders get more involved in their passion and increase their horsey knowledge at the same time.
The aim of the project, as it grows, is to help develop an informal community through livery yards that will help owners to gain access to a network of advice, knowledge and education as well as creating more social opportunities.
The long-term project was created to help aid those aged 26-years-plus to get more involved in equestrian sports, helping them enjoy it as well as supporting the transition to horse ownership and giving confidence to existing horse owners to continue their enjoyment and education for longer.
Although this project is mainly aimed at people 26 years and over, it is open to all people of all ages wishing to become more involved, gain a qualification or just increase their confidence to help them pursue new ways of enjoying horses.
Eight centres were enlisted to run the pilot offering training, advice and guidance from a Registered Instructor (RI) to achieve qualifications in Essential Horse Knowledge Certificates (EHKC) and Progressive Riding Tests (PRTs).
During the pilot scheme, Keith Richards, BHSI said: “I found it a rewarding experience. The participants really engaged in conversation and learned a lot about how their yard was run when they were not there.
"The courses allowed them to build confidence in taking their own initiative and really built up a group mentality, too.
"It was good to use what was quite a social event into something which is essentially improving the welfare of horses.”
You don't need fancy facilities to take part!
The EHKC, a new course for 2015, is specifically aimed at the first-time horse owner, parents of horse riders or owners, potential horse owners or anyone else interested in the care and welfare of horses. It’s a care-based qualification delivered in a classroom (or tack room) style environment. The PRTs are a popular option for riders, livery owners and BRC centre members.
All six tests have both Riding and Stable Management sections, and each can be taken separately. Each section has a number of elements that need to be signed off by the instructor as the learner is ready to be assessed.
On successful completion of each test, the Centre can issue the candidate with a certificate. Once all six tests have been completed, the candidate will be able to gain direct entry into BHS Stage 2. The Livery Yard Project pilot proved to be hugely successful with positive and enthusiastic feedback received from those involved including the instructors and livery yard ‘Champions’ (those that co-ordinated the project within the yard) with 14 percent of participants riding more frequently since being part of the project.
The project has the ultimate aim of helping to develop an informal community through livery yards which will act as a network for advice, knowledge and education.
Now it's your turn - the BHS is now ready to roll this out to all approved Livery Yards, Riding Schools and British Riding Club Centres! Find out how you can get started in England or in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or ROI.