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Units

Whatever your career aspirations – caring for horses, riding professionally or coaching the next generation – there’s a pathway for you.

  • Last reviewed: 4th August 2022
Foundation Coach In Complete Horsemanship Stage 2 Foundation Coach In Complete Horsemanship Stage 2

Stage 1

Stage 1 Care

BHS Stage 1 Care will provide you with an understanding of the responsibilities of working safely on a stable yard with empathy towards both horses and colleagues.

Read more about BHS Stage 1 Care here.

Stage 1 Ride

Stage 1 Ride will provide you with the practical skills and knowledge to ride in a group within a school environment. 

Read more about Stage 1 Ride.

Ride Safe award

The BHS Ride Safe award will give you the confidence to ride in all the most common environments, keeping you and your horse safe. It is also recognised in the Highway Code and recommended as best practice.

Read more about the Ride Safe award here. 

Stage 2

Stage 2 Care

On completion of this unit, you will:

  • Understand the routine practices on a stable yard, your role, responsibilities and reporting lines 
  • Know how to care for horses on a day-to-day basis, recognising and assessing normal and abnormal behaviour and understanding when veterinary intervention may be required 
  • Be able to fit standard tack and travel equipment  
  • Be able to prepare horses for presentation 
  • Have a knowledge of feeding and an understanding of fitness, including the factors that will affect the amount of feed a horse will receive 
  • Understand basic anatomy, location of key organs and the function of the digestive system  

Read more about BHS Stage 2 Care here.

Stage 2 Ride

On completion of this unit, you will:

  • Understand the need to respect other users while applying aids to work the horse
  • Be confident riding outside in an open space, jumping single fences and a small course of 75 centimetres
  • Be starting to evaluate your own riding and the way the horse goes both in flatwork and jumping

Read more about Stage 2 Ride.

Stage 2 Lunge

On completion of this unit, you will: 

  • Prepare a horse to lunge using tack which includes a bridle, cavesson, saddle, side reins and brushing boots 
  • Demonstrate safe lungeing 
  • Work the horse in its basic paces, showing consideration for the size of the circle   

Read more about the Stage 2 Lunge unit here.

Stage 2 Coaching

You will show competencies to be able to work with novice riders both on the lunge and lead rein, showing an understanding of how basic early skills are established.

Unit 4: Stage 2 Coaching will assess your knowledge and understanding in delivering a lesson including both flatwork and jumping. Flatwork will show an understanding of working with small groups of riders in walk, trot and canter working on balance and riding position, which may include work both with and without stirrups.

You will be able to progress flatwork to jumping as an integrated lesson, working over ground poles, a single fence, double or related distance.

You will also be assessed in delivering practical stable management sessions covering routine activities such as putting on a bridle, rug or grooming. You will understand coaching principles, how riders progress, how to introduce new subject matter and how to deal with problems.

Read more about Stage 2 Coaching.

Stage 2 Riding Out

On completion of this unit, you will: 

  • Be able to care for stabled and grass kept horses 
  • Assist in the daily running of a commercial environment 
  • Be able to work with clients and others while maintaining their health, safety and welfare on and off the premises

Read more about the Stage 2 Riding Out unit here.

Stage 3

Stage 3 Care

On completion of this unit, you will: 

  • Be assessed on your knowledge to manage day-to-day activity, care and welfare of horses under your responsibility, with an established awareness of current legislation for working within a stable yard environment
  • Show competence in understanding equine behaviour, physiology and measuring vital health signs 
  • Be assessed on recognising and treating common conditions and nutritional requirements of the horse, including assessment of condition and measurement of nutrition alongside fittening of the horse 
  • Be practically assessed on how to fit tack for both flatwork and jumping, in addition to the use of studs

Read more about BHS Stage 3 Care here.

Stage 3 Lunge

On completion of this unit, you will: 

  • Be assessed on handling tack and equipment, which will include a bridle, saddle, side reins, cavesson, lunge line and whip 
  • Be able to assess the horse and discuss its way of going, suggesting and demonstrating exercises to help the horse reach its potential 
  • Apply aids that are suitable to the horse’s status and reactivity

Read more about the Stage 3 Lunge unit here.

Stage 3 Ride Dressage

On completion of the unit, you will: 

  • Have an understanding of the Training Scale with flatwork and be able to apply this knowledge 
  • Be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the horse’s performance, evaluate its way of going and determine an approach to maintain this way of going. You will be assessed on your ability to deliver aids to benefit the horse while taking account of forward movement, rhythm, bend and a working outline 
  • Be able to complete a variety of dressage movements including leg yielding, turn about the forehand and an ability to lengthen and shorten the stride in all paces

Read more about Stage 3 Ride Dressage.

Stage 3 Ride Jump

On completion of the unit, you will: 

  • Have an understanding of the scale of training with jumping and be able to apply this knowledge 
  • Be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the horse’s performance, evaluate its way of going and determine an approach to maintain this way of going. You will be assessed on your ability to deliver aids to benefit the horse while taking account of forward movement, rhythm, bend and a working outline 
  • Be confident working over showjumps and cross-country fences. Showjumps may be up to one metre and cross country jumps up to 90 centimetres, showing a balanced seat when jumping single fences and related fences leading to a course of jumps

Read more about Stage 3 Ride Jump.

Stage 3 Coach

On completion of the unit, you will: 

  • Be able to deliver a flat lesson that would be suitable for someone hoping to compete in a novice or prelim dressage competition 
  • Be able to coach two riders over simulated cross-country fences including some of the more technical fences of an 80 centimetre course 
  • Have the skills to teach the basics of dressage, showjumping and cross-country riding disciplines to novice competitive riders, Pony Club members and riding school clients.

Read more about Stage 3 Coach unit here.

Stage 4

Stage 4 Senior Care

On completion of the unit, you will:

  • Be able to select, fit and evaluate a range of specialist tack 
  • Understand the principles of nutrition, fittening and horse physiology 
  • Demonstrate how to assess the conformation and health of horses 
  • Understand how to care for different groups of horses 
  • Understand the foaling process and the care of mares, foals and young stock

Read more about BHS Stage 4 Senior Care here.

Stage 4 Senior Management

On completion of the unit, you will: 

  • Understand the importance of customer care and how to apply this in your business 
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills 
  • Understand the responsibilities of a yard manager, including managing staff, accounts and record keeping 
  • Understand how to manage a yard, including marketing, facilities and grassland management

Read more about the Stage 4 Senior Management unit here.

Stage 4 Senior Lunge

On completion of the unit, you will: 

  • Be able to identify the age, temperament and fitness of the horse you are working with and assess its way of going in all three paces 
  • Be able to show improvement in the horse’s way of going and be confident to alter and use equipment as needed including lungeing over poles 
  • Discuss the impact of the lunge work and suggest a progression plan for the horse 
  • Evaluate the use of training aids for lungeing

Read more about the Stage 4 Senior Lunge unit here.

Stage 4 Senior Ride for Training Eventing

On completion of the unit, you will: 

  • Understand the training of horses from birth to riding away and further to competition at Elementary level 
  • Understand how to train horses to show jump to 1.10m and novice horse trials 
  • Be able to prepare for, ride and assess horses to develop their way of going, including: 
    • Inexperienced horses 
    • Trained horses up to Elementary level to develop their way of going 
    • Trained horses over a course of show jumps up to 1.10 metres/3 feet 7 inches 
    • Trained horses over a cross country course up to 1 metre/3 feet 3 inches 

Unit 4: Stage 4 Senior Ride for Training Eventing includes riding all phases of eventing; dressage, show jumping and cross country. We are pleased to offer dressage or show jumping only routes for those that are discipline specific riders and/or coaches.  

Read more about Stage 4 Senior Ride for Training Eventing.

Stage 4 Senior Coaching Eventing

On completion of the unit, you will be able to: 

  • Use your broad experience in the industry of teaching a wide variety of clients 
  • Coach a rider on the lunge to improve their position 
  • Coach individual, semi-private and group lessons on the flat and over fences 
  • Show an understanding of relevant coaching techniques and motivation for clients, and the ability to assess the horse and rider combination 

Unit 7: Stage 4 Senior Coaching Eventing is a combined assessment that includes coaching dressage, show jumping and cross country. We are pleased to offer dressage or show jumping only routes for those that are discipline specific coaches.

Read more about the Stage 4 Senior Coaching Eventing unit here.

Stage 4 Senior Ride for Training Show Jumping

On completion of the unit, you will: 

  • Understand the training of horses from birth to riding away and further to competition 
  • Understand how to train horses to show jump to 1.10m 
  • Be able to prepare for, ride and assess horses to develop their way of going, including: 
    • Inexperienced horses 
    • Trained horses over a course of show jumps up to 1.10 metres/3 feet 7 inches 
    • Horses used to train others 

Stage 4 Senior Ride for Training Show Jumping is designed for riders who want to focus on show jumping and is included in the Show Jumping Pathway. We are pleased to offer dressage or complete/eventing routes for riders and coaches.  

Read more about Stage 4 Senior Ride for Training Show Jumping unit here.

Stage 4 Senior Coaching Show Jumping

On completion of the unit, you will be able to: 

  • Use your broad experience in the industry of teaching a wide variety of clients 
  • Coach a rider on the lunge to improve their position 
  • Coach individual, semi-private and group lessons on the flat with poles, over fences and grids and related distances 
  • Show an understanding of relevant coaching techniques and motivation for clients, and the ability to assess the horse and rider combination 

Read more about the Stage 4 Senior Coaching Show Jumping unit here.

Stage 4 Senior Ride for Training Dressage

On completion of the unit, you will: 

  • Understand the training of horses from birth to riding away and further to competition 
  • Understand how to train horses for dressage from Intro to Elementary 
  • Be able to prepare for, ride and assess horses to develop their way of going, including: 
    • Inexperienced dressage horses 
    • Trained dressage horses in a double bridle 
    • Horses used to train others 

Unit 5: Stage 4 Senior Ride for Training Dressage is designed for riders who want to focus on dressage and is included in the Dressage Pathway. We are pleased to also offer show jumping or complete/eventing routes for riders and coaches. 

Read more about Stage 4 Senior Ride for Training Dressage.

Stage 4 Senior Coaching Dressage

On completion of the unit, you will be able to: 

  • Use your broad experience in the industry of teaching a wide variety of clients 
  • Coach a rider on the lunge to improve their position 
  • Coach individual, semi-private and group lessons on the flat and using ground poles 
  • Show an understanding of relevant coaching techniques and motivation for clients, and the ability to assess the horse and rider combination 
  • Show competence in these sessions coaching up to British Dressage Elementary Level

Read more about the Stage 4 Senior Coaching Dressage unit here.

Performance

The Performance Coach BHSI qualification is awarded upon achievement of four sections:

Section 1: Care and Welfare

Within this section you will demonstrate your competence and comprehensive knowledge for managing the care and welfare of horses and ponies in a range of situations.

Read more about Section 1: Care and Welfare.

Section 2: Business Management

This section covers essential knowledge and skills required of a manager to run a successful equestrian business with confidence and competence.

Read more about Section 2: Business Management.

Section 3: Training Horses (Lunge and Ride)

This section covers essential knowledge and skills required to train horses. 

Read more about Section 3: Training Horses (Lunge and Ride).

Section 4: Coaching

This section covers essential knowledge and skills required to coach.

Read more about Section 4: Coaching.

Becoming a Fellow

We offer the option to join the BHS Fellowship covering all three Olympic disciplines, or you may opt to specialise. The requirements for each option are detailed below.

Fellowship – General
  • Coach Dressage to Prix St George 
  • Coach Show jumping to 1.25 metres 
  • Coach Eventing to CCI 2* 
  • Show a clear understanding of the pathways to the next level 
  • Train and develop coaches to BHS Performance Coach BHSI 
  • Assessment is formed of two elements: a resumé review followed by a two-day practical coaching assessment
  • Download the assessment criteria for further details 
Fellowship - Dressage
  • Candidates will coach confidently to Grand Prix with a clear understanding of the pathway to develop towards championships and team selection
  • Assessment is formed of two elements: a resumé review followed by a two-day practical coaching assessment
  • Download the assessment criteria for further details 
Fellowship - Show Jumping
  • Candidates will coach confidently to 1.45 metres with a clear understanding of the pathway to develop towards championships and team selection
  • Assessment is formed of two elements: a resumé review followed by a two-day practical coaching assessment
  •  Download the assessment criteria for further details
Fellowship - Eventing
  • Candidates will coach confidently to 4* with a clear understanding of the pathway to develop towards championships and team selection

  • Assessment is formed of two elements: a resumé review followed by a two-day practical coaching assessment
  • Download the assessment criteria for further details

Career Pathways

Our world-leading BHS Career Pathways offer you the opportunity to progress your career with horses and learn practical, real-world skills within a structured platform. As part of your journey we’re here to guide, advise and support you through every stage of your development towards getting equine jobs and equine careers in the future.

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