We have had the great reveal – and the BHS 'Equine Excellence' pathway programme and 'Ride Safe' awards are out there and how proud are we?

There is a day all about the new programme planned for Lanark the day after Blair – anyone interested – get in touch!

There is something for everyone in the new system from the happy hacker to the elite coach with varied access points which makes the provisions more flexible with a focus on lifelong learning whatever your age or ability; but moreover these are practical and applicable assessments that prepare the rider or the employee for the realities of our modern equestrian industry and the (often dangerous) world we live and ride in.

There are five pathways on offer – for coaches, on complete horsemanship, professional riders, grooms, teachers and those who work in equestrian tourism.

The building blocks of the stages remain but examinations are replaced with assessments that are much more broad minded as in there is no set way of doing things as long as it is safe.

This new system is also far more holistic with the welfare of the horse at its heart – when you look at the horse rider combination there are so many factors to consider, tack fitting, dentistry, farriery, rider fitness to name but a few.

The grooms' pathway – all the skills a safe employee needs including the management and handling of horses, equine health, anatomy, physiology, feeding, fattening, saddlery, shoeing, stable design, grassland management and the highest level of turnout.

The equine tourism pathway – for us run in conjunction with the Trekking and Riding Society of Scotland offering two ride leader levels and a centre manager option that equips you with the responsibilities you need to look after clients in any trekking situation, this niche is so important to Scotland where we offer riding in one of the last true and so beautiful wildernesses.

The coaching pathway – supports the fundamental skills required to coach both entry level and professional competitive equestrians in care and management and riding. Being a positive and knowledgeable influence on those you teach.

The professional rider pathway – from a sound foundation in horsemanship you can take or combine both flatwork and jumping assessments that chart and mark your growing proficiency as an outstanding rider.

The complete horsemanship pathway – combine being a professional rider with the coaching offer to become a coach in complete horsemanship the only route to the prestigious BHS Fellowship and the true measure of our top Scottish coaches.

The new Ride Safe assessment goes so much further than the old Riding and Road Safety test did – incorporating all aspects of equestrian safety including hazard perception, negotiating perceived barriers to your freedom to ride like how to deal with wind farms, shying hazards and aggressive dogs and people. It also ensures you know your rights and most importantly responsibilities while riding out as well as how to prepare and correctly equip yourself and your horse for intimidating situations and safely familiarise your mount too. This is a life preserving course and also fun!

Due to visit Scotland in November to deliver coaching seminars at the launch of the new pathways, Yogi Breisner (FBHS_ former world class performance manager to the British eventing team said the new system was a huge improvement: “You have to congratulate the BHS for bringing things forward, while the present system is good, this initiative has taken the whole system to a new level. It’s important you have the correct certificates because people like to know that you know what you are doing.”

So the new system does what it says in the tin. How good to demystify at the same time as recognising effort and being a true measure of skill. With education being the heart and DNA of the BHS to modernise and be holistic is hugely positive. Read about this in detail on https://pathways.bhs.org.uk