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Transitioning to the BHS Career Pathways

We know how important it is that you understand your BHS Career Pathway and how to transition to it if you already have BHS qualifications or are working towards them.

  • Last reviewed: 2nd August 2022
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CAREER PATHWAYS

We have four Career Pathways available which our suite of internationally recognised qualifications will link to:

  • Coaching Pathway supports you to become a world-leading equestrian coach with the 360 degree understanding, knowledge and skills to support your clients and the next generation to reach their goals and ambitions.
  • Groom with Riding Pathway for those wanting a career managing horses care, exercise and training needs
  • Groom Pathway for those wanting a career caring for horses and working towards centre management
  • Ride Leader Pathway supports those working in a commercial equestrian centre. Whether you assist or lead out hacks in a riding centre or lead longer treks and trails within an equestrian tourism centre you will gain the skills and confidence necessary.

With our coaching and riding assessments you can concentrate your career within an all-round eventing or dressage or show jumping focus as you progress along the Pathway.

If you have already achieved some elements of a Stage 2, 3 or 4 BHS qualification before September 2020, but have not completed your qualification, you may be required to 'top up' your skills and knowledge to reflect your currency in the industry and to be awarded a BHSQ qualification. We will be here to support your transition to our Career Pathways. 

The transition process detailed here is only required if you want to achieve a BHSQ qualification. The process is not required if you want to progress to the next level/Stage, you have already been awarded the BHSQ qualification, or you have not yet started or achieved any part (section or unit) of a Stage 2, 3 or 4 qualification.

WHY DO I HAVE TO DO THIS?

All qualifications should undergo a regular review period to ensure they remain fit for purpose. Vocational qualifications, such as the BHS qualifications, need to evolve with the industry to ensure that relevant and current skills and knowledge are assessed so those that gain the qualification are prepared for employment.

The BHS is proud of our world-class, industry leading qualifications developed for the modern equestrian industry. The BHS Stage 2, 3 and 4 qualifications are listed on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), which means they are officially recognised and regulated by the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual) in England, SQA Accreditation in Scotland, Qualifications Wales (QW) and the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland. They are awarded by British Horse Society Qualifications (BHSQ).

As we have updated our qualifications and gained RQF recognition, we have put measures in place to support learners that have started, but not yet completed, their Stage 2, 3 or 4 qualification. Or, they have completed qualifications before May 2020 and would like to achieve a BHSQ Groom, Groom with Riding or Coach qualification. There may be additional ‘top up’ of skills or knowledge that is required for a learner to be awarded a BHSQ qualification. This ensures that learners who are awarded a BHSQ qualification have the skills and knowledge reflected in the current syllabus providing clarity for learners and employers.

The mapping process detailed here is only required if you want to achieve a BHSQ qualification. The process is not required if you want to progress to the next level/Stage, you have already been awarded the BHSQ qualification, or you have not yet started or achieved any part (section or unit) of a Stage 2, 3 or 4 qualification.

BHS STAGE 2

You may already have part of a BHS Stage 2 or EQL Level 2 qualification, depending on the year you started or achieved those elements. Download our Stage 2 transition guidance to read your transition process if you want to achieve a BHSQ Foundation Groom, Foundation Groom with Riding or Foundation Coach qualification.

If you have any queries regarding your process or application please contact us.

BHS STAGE 3

You may already have part of a BHS Stage 3 or EQL Level 3 qualification, depending on the year you started or achieved those elements. Download our Stage 3 transition guidance to read your transition process if you want to achieve a BHSQ Groom, Groom with Riding or Coach qualification.

If you have any queries regarding your process or application please contact us.

BHS STAGE 4

You may already have part of a BHS Stage 4 or EQL Level 4 Care and Management, Riding or EQL Level 5 coaching (ITT) qualification, depending on the year you started or achieved those elements. 

Download our Stage 4 transition guidance to read your transition process if you want to achieve a BHSQ Groom, Groom with Riding or Coach qualification.

If you have any queries regarding your process or application please contact us.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I am part way through my qualification. What does this mean for me?

That’s great news – we look forward to helping you achieve this. For Stages 1 to 4, any units you have previously passed will be mapped to the new assessments, so you will only be assessed on the sections you need to complete. Depending on the year you achieved parts of your qualification you may be required to 'top up' your skills and knowledge. This may be by an additional assessment and/or a BHS Assessor reference. The transition document will detail this for you.

If you are part way through your BHSI and wish to complete this, please contact us to discuss your options.

I didn't complete my qualification because I did not want to jump. What options are now available to me?

This has been a common theme during our consultation, and we are pleased to be able to offer a Groom with Riding Pathway route focusing on dressage and/or jumping from Stage 3 Ride.

Stage 2 Ride will continue to be a combined ride unit which includes both flatwork and jumping to ensure a foundation level of riding skills on the flat and over fences. This could now be all the jumping you will be required to do if jumping isn’t your thing!

You can then continue along our riding assessments with dressage only. If you are following the Coach in Complete Horsemanship Pathway, we will also recognise the dressage or jump only riding and coaching pathways (discipline specific coaching units available from Stage 4) and award our BHS Coach (Eventing/Dressage/Show Jumping) career certificates depending on your focus.

I don’t like riding at all, but would love a career with horses. Does this limit my options?

Not at all. If you love to care for horses and this is your passion, you can follow our BHS Groom Pathway. This pathway focuses on the care and management of horses and business management, supporting you with industry recognised qualifications to begin and progress your career.

We know how important it is that you understand your BHS Career Pathway and how to transition to it if you already have BHS qualifications or are working towards them.

YOUR SKILLS RECORD

What is a Skills Record?

The Skills Record is a booklet designed to help support you as you develop through your career. It also provides a way of recording your achievements as you learn new skills. Your Skills Record will assist you as you undertake training and ensure that you are fully prepared for your assessments, as you progress through the BHS Career Pathways. There is a Skills Record for Stages 1-3 and a Skills Record for Stage 4.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions we cannot post a Skills Record to you with your booking, however, you can download a copy , or you can purchase your copy for £5 from our online shop. Please look after your Skills Record as it contains a wealth of information to guide and support you. It also has relevant sign off pages to confirm you are ready for assessment and necessary templates for coach endorsements.

You may have to have coach endorsements signed off as part of your transition process.

Your Skills Record is required to be signed off by an Accredited Professional Coach or coach at a BHS Approved Centre, they must hold the relevant qualification at least on level above the one they are signing off.

You will need to take your Skills Record to your assessments.

What is the difference between ‘ready for assessment’ and ‘coach endorsement’?

In your Skills Record, you will have a ready for assessment form that needs to be signed off by your coach – this is recommended for Stage 1 and compulsory for Stage 2, 3 and 4. This allows you to ensure you are ready to take the assessment and will not feel out of your depth on the day.

In addition to this, some awards require a coach endorsement (at Stage 4 these are called trainer endorsement) for particular assessment criteria. These are criteria such as clipping a horse or loading a horse safely. These criteria must be signed off under the supervision of a coach in advance of the assessment day.

You will need to ensure you take your Skills Record with you to any assessment.

What happens if I can’t find an Accredited Professional Coach in my area to sign off my training? Can my assessor do this on the assessment day?

We pride ourselves in having an ever growing membership of Accredited Professional Coaches committed to being their best and continually evolving their coaching craft – find an Accredited Professional Coach in your area.

Remember, a coach at a BHS Approved Centre can also sign off your Skills Record, so we are confident there will be someone close by. If you are struggling, please contact our Education Team who can help point you in the right direction.

The ready for assessment sections cannot be signed on the day by your assessor. Similarly, the coach endorsements cannot be signed off on the day, as these cover sections of the assessment criteria that we are unable to assess on the day (such as clipping a horse and bathing a horse).

I'm an overseas/remote candidate. How do I get my Skills Record signed off?

Any candidate who cannot access a relevant Accredited Professional Coach or Approved Centre of the correct level should contact our team. They will guide you on what we can offer - this may be by reference or video if deemed necessary. This could be due to the candidate being an international candidate or from a very remote location where the BHS do not have Accredited Professional Coaches or Approved Centres within a reasonable distance.

I’ve lost my Skills Record, how do I get a new one?

Don’t worry – should you lose your Skills Record you can download a copy , or you can purchase your copy for £5 from our online shop. Of course, we cannot replace the endorsements and record of achievements and skills you would have perhaps gained, so please do take care of it.

COSTS

All our costs have been reviewed as part of the consultation period resulting in small price variations, depending on the career stage. The costs have been built upon career pathways to ensure all pathways are as accessible as possible.

The cost to complete our foundation levels – Stage 1 Complete Horsemanship (Stage 1 Care and Stage 1 Ride) and Stage 2 Complete Horsemanship (Stage 2 Care, Lunge, Ride and Teach) – will be lower in the new BHS Career Pathway. We hope this makes a career in complete horsemanship, the career pathway internationally recognised and unique to the BHS, more accessible to a wider range of people.

Education is the DNA of our charity, and the BHS Career Pathways demonstrate our commitment to enhancing your career or knowledge with horses. As a charity, we have developed our new offer to ensure a sustainable system to support the longevity of the BHS Career Pathways, which in turn can support your career from entry level to performance. Take a look at our careers guide and see the breadth of careers our qualifications will support.

We are pleased to offer a scholarship scheme to support candidates towards BHS Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship, BHS Stage 4 Coach in Complete Horsemanship and BHS Performance Coach in Complete Horsemanship BHSI. We are also pleased to offer BHS Accredited Professionals a 25% discount on BHS assessment fees.

DIRECT ENTRY GUIDANCE

Do you still allow direct entry?

Of course! We continue to recognise relevant industry experience and other equestrian qualifications to allow entry into the BHS Career Pathways.

Please see our direct entry guidance for more information.

BOOKING YOUR ASSESSMENT

How do I book my assessment?

Depending on the assessment you may have to book this via your chosen assessment centre or with our Education Team. For assessments that we organise, you can view our assessment dates.

I work for a BHS Approved Centre. Am I still eligible for a discount on my assessment fees?

Absolutely! As a professional in the industry and working at our BHS Approved Centres, we are keen to encourage your progression and develop your knowledge and skills.

We offer Accredited Professional Centre packages for coaches, grooms and ride leaders. Upon your employer joining you in this membership package you would be eligible for a 25% discount on BHS assessment fees, as well as many other membership benefits that come with the Accredited Professional Centre package.

If you are not an Accredited Professional, we offer a 10% discount to you on all assessments booked via the Education Team (you must be employed for a minimum of 25 hours). We do need to see proof of employment at the time of booking (usually, a letter from your employer is sufficient). We regret that discounts cannot be applied for retrospectively to the booking or applied on assessments that are booked via the assessment centre.

I am a BHS Accredited Professional Coach, am I still eligible for a discount on my assessment fees?

Absolutely! One of the great benefits of being part of this professional community is accessing up-to-date, relevant and practical opportunities to develop and progress through your career.

As a BHS Accredited Professional Coach, you are welcome to a 25% discount on any assessment at the time of booking. We regret that discounts cannot be applied for retrospectively to the booking or applied on assessments that are booked via the assessment centre.

All BHS assessments within the BHS career pathways are counted as Continual Professional Development (CPD) and will be noted on your membership upon completion. Please contact the BHS Accredited Professional Team to let them know and they will update your CPD record.

TRAINING FOR ASSESSMENTS

How do I train for the new assessments?

All applicants are encouraged to undertake practical training at a BHS Approved Centre or with a BHS Accredited Professional Coach to ensure you are ready for your assessment. These professionals are also required to sign off your Skills Record at Stage 1-4.

As our qualifications are work-based vocational qualifications, we would highly recommend practical, hands-on training.

How much training will I need?

This is difficult to answer as everyone learns differently and at an individual pace.

We would recommend you have an initial lesson with an Accredited Professional Coach or BHS Approved Centre and they will be able to advise your current skill level and develop a training plan for you. You can then begin to plan and book your assessment and receive your Skills Record to guide your learning before your assessment.

We recommend you book your assessment as early as possible to ensure we have a place at your preferred option.

Are there training guides to support me?

Of course! For each award, you will see a list of resources to support you to achieve your goals. From training videos to guides and books, we hope these will support your practical training.

We have produced up-to-date guides to support your practical training. You can purchase our new Complete Horsemanship Volumes 1-4 and further resources in our bookshop

For Stage 4 assessments we also have a series of training guides that both candidates and trainers are recommended to read.

Alternatively, we are at many major and county equestrian shows with our trade stand, where you can come along and have a chat with our team and purchase a number of books and resources.

Remember, you also have the BHS Education Team on hand to answer any queries or concerns you may have.

BHS ACCREDITED PROFESSIONAL COACHES

How do I become an Accredited Professional Coach?

You can become an Accredited Professional Coach when you have achieved the BHS Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship or equivalent. Take a look at the range of benefits you can access as part of this professional membership body.

We pride ourselves on continually evolving an industry benchmark for coaches to ensure you are recognised as world-leading coaches.

Please note, the transition process detailed above is not required to be completed if you wish to become an Accredited Professional.