How to choose the right equine college and course for you

  • If you are keen to work with horses, taking an equestrian course at college will provide you with lifelong skills and qualifications for your future. But, with so many equine colleges to choose from, how do you know which is best for you?

    Check out these useful tips to help you find the perfect place to learn:

    • Make a wish list: Write down all the things that are important to you for the college to provide, be that excellent livery services or support for a learning difficulty, and prioritise which are the most important. Then make sure your chosen college ticks these boxes.
    • Get advice: Advice from those close to you can prove invaluable when making life decisions. Talk to friends and family and allow them to help you through the process.
    • Be open-minded: You may have been set to go to a certain college for years, but it is always worth considering a number of places so that you can make an informed decision.
    • Think about your goals: Consider which qualification would be most useful to you — do you need a certain accreditation to secure your dream job, or are you studying to generally widen your equestrian knowledge? Once you have cemented your goals, you will find it easier make a choice.
    • Work experience: Think about how much time you want to spend in a practical environment. If you want more hands-on experience, then make sure your college provides the opportunity for ample work placements.
    • Home or away: If you decide to stay at home, make sure your college is not so far away that travelling will become exhausting and expensive. And if your horse is coming with you, will you be able to move from the yard to your lectures easily?
    • Finances: Make sure that your chosen college is affordable. Living closer to home may seem less exciting, but could provide you with a more financially viable option.
    • Visit colleges: Prospectuses can provide a helpful insight into a college, but it is difficult to form any real idea of what they are like without visiting in person. Attend open days and talk to current students and staff.
    • Rankings: Although it is best not to get hung up on leaderboards, it can help you make comparisons between different establishments.
    • Facilities: If schooling outside in the winter is your idea of hell, it will be important that your livery yard has an indoor arena. Similarly, if you prefer not to work at home, you will need to make sure your colleges provides a suitable space for you to study.
    • Accommodation: Take time to view student accommodation so you know where you will be living.
    • Free time: Think about what you like to do in your spare time and if your college will allow you to do these things. For example, hacking fans would need access to bridleways and socialites may wish to consider the pubs and bars in the area.
    • Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to get in touch with colleges if you have any questions — that way you can sign up without any doubt in your mind.

    Now you’re clear what your priorities are, check out what current equine course are available at colleges around the UK in our online directory.

    College directory: England: South-east | South-west | Midlands | North | Scotland | Wales | Ireland | Distance learning

    Don’t miss today’s Horse & Hound (10 January, 2019) for exclusive features on how to land your dream job and why it is never too late to find an equestrian role you love.

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