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Caring for your horse

Understanding your horse's needs and how to care for them not only keeps them in healthy condition, it can also improve your relationship with them.

  • Last reviewed: 19th July 2022
BHSL0152 BHSL0152

Through these awards, you will gain essential skills and knowledge around horse care, horse behaviour, stable and field care, using and fitting rugs, and grooming.

Bronze Award
By completing this award, you will Learn:


  • I can describe the horse’s natural behaviours and instincts
  • I can describe a horse’s vision and how thismay affect his behaviour

Stable Care

  • I can list different types of bedding
  • I can skip out a stable and tidy the bed
  • I can clean and refill a water bucket or water drinker

Field Care

  • I can give reasons to support regular turnout
  • I can describe suitable fencing for field boundaries
  • I can carry out routine daily field checks


  • I can identify and describe types of rug and their use
  • I can put on and take off a rug


  • I can describe the benefits for grooming horses
  • I can explain the use of the items in a grooming kit
  • I can groom a horse
  • I can care for a horse after exercise
Silver Award
By completing this award, you will Learn:


  • I can identify and interpret body language and facial expressions
  • I can describe a horse’s behaviour that may indicate it is not safe to enter a stable

Stable Care

  • I can muck out a stable
  • I can stack a muck heap

Field Care

  • I can describe poisonous plants and trees
  • I know how to provide hay to field kept horses


  • I can check the fit of a rug
  • I can explain why a rug should fit correctly


  • I can groom a rugged horse
  • I can plait a mane over to encourage it to lie flat
  • I can wash a horse’s tail
  • I can trim a horse’s tail
Gold Award

By completing this award, you will Learn:


  • I can recognise signs of stress:
    a) in a field kept horse
    b) in a stabled horse
  • I can describe the following behaviours
    a) Crib biting
    b) Wind sucking
    c) Weaving

Stable care

  • I can describe a suitable stable environment
  • I can give reasons why good ventilationis important in a stable yard

Field care

  • I can describe a suitable field environment
  • I can list routine tasks to improve pasture


  • I know why to use an exercise sheet
  • I can put on an exercise sheet


  • I can describe how to bath a horse
  • I can plait a mane
  • I can list the reasons forclipping
  • I can describe some types of clip
  • I can describe how to care for a clipped horse
Platinum Award

By completing this award, you will Learn:

  • I can list the benefits of turning horses out with company
  • I can describe how to safely introduce a new horse to an existing group
  • I can list different enrichment ideas for keeping a horse occupied
    when stabled
  • I know the benefits of carrot stretches
  • I can demonstrate a carrot stretch exercise with my horse
  • I can demonstrate how to shorten a mane
  • I can demonstrate how to trim under my horse’s jaw
  • I can demonstrate how to trim feathers
  • I can describe when you shouldn’t trim a horse
  • I can describe why you shouldn’t trim horse’swhiskers

How to get involved

Challenge awards are open to anyone who would like to improve their horse knowledge or skills; you do not have to be a BHS member to take part.

If you have your own horse

Courses are delivered by an Accredited Professional Coach. Your coach can come to your livery yard or British Riding Club grounds. 

Find a BHS Accredited Professional

If you do not own your own horse

Or you’re not sure if they would be suitable, don’t worry. There are BHS Approved Riding Centres throughout the UK that deliver challenge awards with their facilities and horses.  

You can achieve the challenge awards at your local Approved Centre where they will match you to a horse to ensure your lessons are suitable to your experience. 

Find a BHS Approved Centre

Get in touch

If you want to learn more about the Challenge Awards or if you have any questions, please complete our enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.