Choosing the right riding school

Asking the right questions is key to finding the right riding school

Asking the right questions is key to finding the right riding school - Credit: Archant

Are you and your family safe on your riding lessons? The British Horse Society gives a guide to what to look for in a riding school and instructor

Riding horses is not without its risks. All horse riders know that it has the potential to be dangerous, and yet thousands of us do it regularly for a whole host of reasons ranging from pure enjoyment to contact with horses and nature and taking part in competitions.

So how safe are you and your family at riding lessons? Have you asked all the important questions, such as is the instructor insured? Is he or she trained in first aid? And does he or she have professional qualifications?


Choosing a school

Finding the right riding school is important. You need somewhere that is local, of good quality, adheres to safety standards and takes care of its horses. By choosing a British Horse Society approved centre, you can be assured the premises are inspected every year and comply with high standards for horse welfare and rider safety, delivering peace of mind to clients.

The BHS is a charity that promotes the enjoyment of a mutually beneficial relationship between horse and rider and it is crucial to us that these standards are evident. Choosing a BHS approved centre means you are upholding and supporting these standards.

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The BHS also manages a register of professional instructors who are all qualified and insured. The register includes general instructors through to discipline-specific coaches. All our instructors have up-to-date first-aid qualifications, have attended a Safeguarding and Protecting Children in Sport course, undertake regular professional development training and are DBS checked. It all means clients can rest assured that while the sport might have its dangers, the professionals guiding riders create the safest environment in which to do it. Ensuring people are in safe hands helps not only to minimise the chance of accidents happening but ensures they are dealt with promptly and professionally if they do.

Jane Jarvis, a BHSI instructor in Bishop’s Stortford explains her role: ‘I teach at a variety of levels from novice riders at riding school level to 1* event riders. Riders around here are just so enthusiastic, keen and it’s very rewarding. For me, I don’t mind what level I teach as long as the rider is learning and enjoys it as much as I do – I love it!

‘Being on the BHS Register of Instructors gives me a secure backing and the knowledge that you are not out there alone because you have the BHS with you. It also gives my clients reassurance.’ There are many excellent instructors in the equestrian world and not all of them will be on our register. However, by using BHS-registered instructors or approved centres you are safe in the knowledge that they are qualified and insured to help keep you and your family safe. A call to the BHS training team on 02476 840510 or a look at the website will help you to find one in your area. The team will be happy to answer any questions about the instructor register and approved centres.