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Participation Project

What is the Participation Project?

The aim of the Participation Project is to create an informal community through livery yards, riding centres, British Riding Clubs (BRC) and Centres using a suitably qualified BHS Accredited Professional Coach, to provide horse owners with access to a network of advice, knowledge and education, enabling them to gain confidence and ride more frequently. 

By creating a community, participants will also become more involved in social activities with like-minded people. The Participation Project was a pilot scheme that proved to be incredibly successful, and has now been rolled out nationally. 

What did we learn from the pilot? 

The pilot involved eight centres running the Essential Horse Knowledge Certificate and Progressive Riding Test courses. Feedback from the participants, coaches and Livery Yard Champions showed that 14% of participants are now riding more frequently since taking part in the Participation Project. This demonstrates that by giving people the opportunity to get more involved with the BHS, we can get them more engaged with their horse.

What type of activities can be run as part of the Participation Project?

The project's main courses that are most successful are: 

  • The Essential Horse Knowledge Certificate (EHKC), a theory-based course that can be held on the yard, in a tack room, or stable, or even in the local village hall or pub
  • The Progressive Riding Tests (PRTs) are much more practical, with riding and stable management tasks included. Therefore, access to horses and a yard is required. These can involve using the participants’ own horses or they can be held at a licensed riding school, training yard etc.
  • BHS Riding School Certificate of Competence (RSCC), a practical continual assessment aimed at riding school staff and volunteers, and covers leading, groom, customer care and health and safety. 

Other potential activities to get involved with are:

  • BHS fun rides
  • Volunteering activities via BHS regional events or BRC competitions
  • BHS regional activities and events organised by regional managers
  • Interdressage competition, includes dressage, showing and unmounted fun activities, filmed and entered in competitions online
  • Links to Team Quest from British Dressage and BE80 from British Eventing.

Who can be a participant?

The great thing about this project is that it is open to everyone (BHS members and non-members), especially those who are wishing to gain further knowledge and increase their confidence with and around horses – whether this is as a horse owner, rider, sharer or parent wishing to gain further equine knowledge. Everyone can get involved in conjunction with their local riding centre, livery yard or BHS Accredited Professional Coach. 

Which coaches are eligible to run these courses?

To run any of the above courses, coaches are required to be a suitably qualified and current BHS Accredited Professional Coach. See course pages for specific requirements.  

Which centres are eligible?

A centre or livery yard wishing to be part of the Participation Project must be:

  • able to ensure suitable staff can coach participants through the programme
  • able to follow BHS guidelines for delivery, and open to feedback from clients throughout the courses
  • able to report back to the BHS on your progress and be open to being included in promotional activity
  • able to complete the participation forms required
  • willing to promote the project locally to horse owners or potential horse owners.

What are the benefits to the centres and participants?

  • Access to BHS activities in your area and a network of support
  • Gaining a qualification
  • Increase participation with your horse and your peers
  • Access to an informal community through livery yards, riding centres, British Riding Clubs and Centres
  • Provide non horse owners and horse owners access to a network of advice, knowledge, support and education
  • Equip people with the skills they need to increase their confidence.

What will it cost the centre/coach?

There is no fee. 

The centre will charge the participants for any training fees but there are no fees payable from the centre to the BHS. This is now an extra benefit for being a BHS Approved Centre or Accredited Professional Coach. We hope it will be an opportunity to further engage with your clients and for them to participate in more activities and boost not just your income but your centre’s community. 

How do I get involved?

BHS and BRC Approved Clubs and Centres interested in joining the project can contact us:

Livery yards and centres should contact approvals@bhs.org.uk for more information on becoming BHS Approved.

BHS Volunteer Committees interested in promoting the project to local yards and/or helping to run organise courses and EHKC training in your local area – contact your local Development Officer or Nation Director.

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