There’s no denying that some people really do have a way with horses. Many of these folks dream of a career that will allow them to interact with their equine friends on a day to day basis, and luckily for them there are plenty of such careers available.
One of the most popular of these is horse riding instructor.
If you think that this career could be the one for you, there’s a number of hurdles that your need to overcome. Hopefully this guide from our career directory should get you off to a flying start.
What does a horse riding instructor do?
Of course they teach people how to ride horses, but there is so much more to it than simply hoisting someone into the saddle and sending them on their way.
The duties and responsibilities which come with the role are numerous and varied.
Some of the things that you could be expected to carry out on a day to day basis include:
- Providing instruction to people of all ages who want to ride horses as a leisure activity
- Providing training to riders taking part in competition.
- Constantly monitoring the progress of trainees.
- Making sure that each of your students has a bespoke training package
- Examining riders who are training for specific equestrian qualifications
- General administrative duties associated with the business
- Leading group demonstrations and one-to-one training sessions
Being a horse riding instructor means that you will spend much of your working hours outside, in all weather conditions. Therefore it is vital that you feel capable to deal with this, and are the type of person who enjoys being outside day, after day, after day.
You won’t be working outdoors all of the time though, since there will be a certain level of office administration involved in the role, and occasions when you may be training at indoor facilities.
The hours that you will be expected to work depend upon the hours that the riding school is open for. These could be quite irregular owing to the fact that horse riding is often enjoyed as a weekend and evening leisure pursuit.
If you are employed on a permanent contract with a riding school your hours of work are likely to be quite regular and constitute a fairly standard working week. But many riding instructors work on a freelance basis, which introduces a lower level of stability as well as the potential for periods of travel and working away from home.
The level of pay that you can expect to receive as a horse riding instructor is highly dependent upon a number of factors; what part of the country you live in, what company you work for, what your level of experience is and what reputation you have within the equestrian community.
As a very general guide, a decent salary for someone working as a trainee instructor or an assistant instructor would be around £15,000 to £18,000. With increased experience you could reasonably expect to earn somewhere in the region of £25,000, a figure which could increase yet further, depending on the professional reputation that you amass.
Of course these figures are just rough estimates, so be sure to check the specifications of any jobs, before you make an application.
You will probably be surprised to know that anyone can be a horse riding instructor…they might not be a very good one, but there is no current legislation which stipulates a minimum requirement of experience or qualifications to undertake the role.
However, people who are hoping to work as an instructor will usually achieve their goal by completing qualifications that are administered and approved by organisations with a high standing in the equestrian community. Some of these organisations include the British Horse Society (BHS) , the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) and The Pony Club.
The British Horse Society operates a register of instructors who have successfully completed their training programmes, and whilst not a legal requirement, presence on this register will give an instructor a significant level of professional credibility.
Your professional standing can also be much enhanced by applying for and maintaining an equestrian passport which provides details of your various equestrian qualifications and is valid across a number of European countries.
In addition to the specialist equine institutions, a number of schools, colleges and universities offer Higher National Diplomas and degree level qualifications in related fields including equine training, equine management and equine behaviour.
The level of education which is required for entry onto these courses varies from case to case, so be sure to check with the relevant institution before making an application.
The role of horse riding instructor is so specific, that it’s unsurprising to find it comes with an equally lengthy list of desirable skills and attributes.
Some of the key skills and characteristics that you could find useful in your career include;
- A deep interest in and passion for the care of horses
- Outstanding horse riding skills
- Excellent communication skills which can be adapted when working with a wide range of riders of all ages
- Extensive experience in working with horses and a flair for understanding how to interact with them.
- A real passion for passing on your skills and experience
- The ability to provide people with motivation
- A high level of patience
- A comprehensive understanding of the health and safety issues involved with horse riding and the ability to perform basic first aid should the need arise.
If you are still thinking about becoming a horse riding instructor, then good luck, we hope you have found this guide useful. If however you think another career might be the one for you, then take a look at some of the other guides in our comprehensive career directory .