Courses for horses: equestrian training
For all the neighsayers out there, you can’t just buy a horse and keep it in the back yard. Well you can, but the horse will be miserable and so will you. These marvellous animals need care, exercise, lots of food, veterinary attention, somewhere to sleep out of the rain and cold, shoeing and hoof care, fences to keep them from disappearing, grooming, companionship and hay. And those are just the basics.
The inconvenient hoof is that horse ownership is a costly and time-consuming business that is not to be lightly entered into. Whether the horse is just for hacking, for showing and winning rosettes, for jumping or cross-country riding and eventing, a significant portion of your life will be given over to keeping it happy and healthy. It will likely become the mane focus of your life.
Rather than trotting out these rather obvious generalisations, it might be useful to spur readers on to discovering an excellent source of training in all things equine: the British Horse Society. They provide courses on the basics of horse ownership, right up to professional development and horse business management.
For first-time horse buyers, there’s the Level 1 Horse Owner Certificate. A ten-week course with an hour and a half of instruction per week, it lays down the fundamentals of the care and management of the horse. Three further levels follow this course, up to level 4 which teaches students how to take care of a number of horses, run a yard as a business and take on in depth stable management.
On top of these foundational courses are a series of BHS qualifications on stable management, riding, equestrian tourism management, horse knowledge and care, first aid, rights of way, teaching, business management and much more. In addition they offer a duo of EHKC (Essential Horse Knowledge Certificates) qualifications which are slated to replace the Horse Owners Certificates with a simplified two-tier system of Entry Level and Level One.
Equine enthusiasts can take it much further if they are committed to careers in the horse world. They can train as instructors, become fellows of the BHS, take UK Coaching Certificates (UKCCs), and build on their skills and knowledge to the point of being walking horse encyclopaedias.
So if you’re thinking of changing tack and entering into horse ownership, you’ll need to get trained. You’d be a foal not to.