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  1. #1
    Veteran SaffronWelshDragon's Avatar
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    Default Training to be a riding instructor

    I know this should probably be in careers, but thought I'd find more people on here.

    Does anyone have any experience in training to become a riding instructor? I'm 27, and without going too much into it, got made redundant from my job of 6 years in May, but haven't been able to summon the motivation to get another job in the same sector, which made me realise that perhaps I didn't really enjoyed my job that much. Anyway I've now started thinking about a career change, after convincing myself I was too old, and what with a mortgage to pay, I was stuck with what I had (fortunately have a very supportive partner!)

    I'm sure there are plenty of riding instructors on here, but would love to hear from you guys who have just started on this journey (are there any out there my age, or is it the sort of thing you do when you're younger?) or those who have got to any of the steps on the BHS ladder of instructors. What is the best way to learn, do you pay for your own tuition, or did you learn on the job? How did you fit in your own horses, and did you find yourself any less enthusiastic about your own riding, what with being around horses all day?

    Lastly, what are the things you love, and hate about being an instructor? Is it best to teach at a riding school, or go freelance? If any of my Essex friends are here, can you recommend a good place to train?

    Sorry for all the questions. I'm currently trying to get my head around what I need to do to start, is it stage 1 and 2, then get trained for the PTT? Is there a minimum number of hours you need to teach for before you go on the register of instructors?

    Thanks in advance, sorry for pouring my little heart out all over the place!
    Last edited by SaffronWelshDragon; 17-09-12 at 05:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Old nag Auslander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Training to be a riding instructor

    Giving this a bump for you - I did my AI and II twenty years ago, so not really in a position to be that helpful!
    Vets with Horsepower: Trans-European 'Play It Again, Sam' Tour 2012
    Raising money for SPANA; supporting the welfare of working animals in developing countries. http://www.justgiving.com/horsepower2012

  3. #3
    Veteran SaffronWelshDragon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Training to be a riding instructor

    Thanks Anyone out there?

  4. #4
    Old nag galaxy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Training to be a riding instructor

    I got my AI 6 ish years ago. Took me just under 2 years to complete it (logging 500 teaching hours which has now been scrapped took the longest part)

    I (or rather my OH) paid for me to put myself through it rather than college/working pupil. So easy to fit in my own horses. Sometimes I don't feel in the mood to ride my own horse if I've been out teaching/riding most of the day tbh. I usually try and ride her 1st thing while I have enthusiasm!

    I am freelance as I don't want to work in a RS. RS will obviously give you a regular income whereas freelance is not reliable pay (I find all my clients go on holiday/are ill/horses go lame all at the same time! or it snows/freezes!).

    Hope that helps

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Training to be a riding instructor

    Most clearly recognised route is BHS Stage 1, then riding and road safety, Stage 2 and PTT. At that point, you can register as an instructor and get insurance through the BHS. To become an AI you also have to do your Stage 3 and complete a portfolio of teaching practise (which has replaced the old hours logbook).

    The syllabi for all the exams are available on the BHS website. Take a look at them and see what you feel pretty comfy with and what you would need work on. (Read the writing after the tables rather than the tables). Chances are, for much of the Stage 1 you will either already know much of it or be able to teach it to yourself. Then I would recommend looking for somewhere to go where the instructors are up to date with current exam requirements to have a few 'exam techniques' and brush up sessions. Definately go to ride a few riding school horses before the exam as the horses are different to individually owned ones in most cases!

    For Stage 2 you may well be able to do similar to above, it will depend on your own knowledge.

    The BHS run training courses in many areas for different levels. These are usually with examiners and are well worth looking into. Start looking at riding and road safety training/exams asap as these can be difficult to find and often create problems with people progressing (you cannot take stage 2 riding until you have done r&rs).

    If I have missed anything or you have more questions, feel free to PM me.

  6. #6
    Veteran SaffronWelshDragon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Training to be a riding instructor

    Galaxy - thanks for your reply! It's good to have some kind of timescale so I have an idea. Scrapping the 500 teaching hours sounds good for me (though must be annoying for yourself). I'm trying to work out how much time it will take to train for the PTT as there is talk of 70 guided learning hours required etc. and not totally sure what they mean by that. I always thought you had to do a certain number of hours teaching before you could actually go out there and teach (for real), so that's something of a relief.

    Ruth - Thank you for all that information. I'd totally forgotten about the R&RS part, so thanks for adding that one. Will start looking into it soon. There is a RS close to me which I think holds stage 1, 2 and the R&RS exams, so that should be handy. Would you recommend just paying out for the training myself, or trying to be trained as part of a job at a stables? It's hard to work out even roughly how many hours training I would need to do (assuming I just need a brush up for 1 and 2, how many hours would I need train for for the PTT - I know I'm jumping the gun here but like to know what I'm letting myself in for financially )

  7. #7
    Old nag Jenni_'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Training to be a riding instructor

    UKCC is becoming a more widely used route, cheaper, subsidised, and focuses more on the more modern practice of 'coaching' rather than 'teaching'

    I've been teaching for Years and am now looking into doing these.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Training to be a riding instructor

    I (and many others) are dubious about the future of the UKCC post olympics.

    OP, it is completely personal preference whether you pay for training or try to get it as part of a job. The work will help get you into the swing of working with horses for the exams and give you a practical view, however the structured training may be lacking. It may help you to get a foot in the door for teaching practise.

    The guided learning hours is to give an idea of how long it would take someone to train from very basic knowledge for that section of the exam. From an instructors point of view they're great as they help us when candidates turn up and say 'I have my stage 2 tomorrow, can you teach me to lunge for it' and then get gobby when they fail!

    In terms of the PTT, there is a fair amount of prep to be done for the exam (lesson plans, presentations) as well as the theory sections and practical teaching. If you are not working full time you will have more time for this. You will benefit from shadowing GOOD instructors as they teach, especially beginners and group lessons, as you pick up tricks of the trade as you go. Find out which instructors in your area are still training and taking their exams and ask if you can go out with them to get an idea of the job. (I say those who are still in the system as they will still be aware of what is acceptable for exams etc).

  9. #9
    Veteran SaffronWelshDragon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Training to be a riding instructor

    Jenni - thanks, will look into this

    I've just spoken to my local college who are running a short course and the exam for R&RC starting mid October, so have signed myself up for that I agree it's best to get it done and it also sounds like quite a nice exam to get me a bit used to what to expect. Excited now!

    Also, can anyone recommend where I can get the BHS books fairly cheaply (secondhand) as ebay doesn't seem to have any secondhand books on there any more (I don't think it's worth it financially for the sellers). Or are the books updated quickly so is it best just to buy new copies? I've noticed the R&RC book is 12th edition so will look out for these. Would quite like to get the Stage 1 book so I can have a read up, I noticed there are a number of versions, are they all equal or is there a best one?

    I'm going to try my local riding schools and definitely get some lessons booked (I think it's good to ride a variety of horses anyway) and will also after whether I could shadow an instructor at some point Thanks for everyone's help so far!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Training to be a riding instructor

    Just thought I would reply as I started this 2 years ago aged 27.

    I got a job on a yard (riding school) But paid to have specific BHS stage training. This is well worth it because how you do things on a yard is not necissarily the BHS way. I took it pretty steady and just had an hours session every week or so. I had worked with horses as a teenager so I wasnt starting from the basics.

    Stage one was fairly easy

    Road safety was ok but very easy to fail if you hadn't had proper training on how to pass the exam.

    (It is obvious who had had training on the exam day) I would ask about their pass rate when you book training. A centre near me recently did a course and all there pupils failed!!! not good teaching imho

    Stage 2 obviously harder than stage 1 but again it was ok just make sure you are well prepared

    PTT- I was dreading this exam but I was veryu lucky in that I am aloud to teach at work before I had formal qualifications. This helped alot and actually I found the exam fine. Again it was obvious what students hadnt prepared properly.

    I am now in the middle of stage 3. It has taken me 2 years to get there but if I am honest I plodded through it. I work 40 hours a week and have 2 horses I ride everyday. All my training was in my own time. In hindsight I definatly could have done 1 & 2 quicker.

    I think you could do any of the exams with out actually working with horses but it may take longer. Your PTT would be the hardest to do but I am sure you could get some work experiance somewhere and watch lots of lessons.

    Good luck

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