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Section 4: Coaching

This section covers essential knowledge and skills required to coach

1. Assess a rider

In this section you will observe two horse and rider combinations. The horse and rider combinations will not be riding at the same time. You will make a verbal assessment of the rider, their skills and the influence they have over the horse’s way of going. One horse and rider will be working on the flat and one will be working over fences.

The horse or pony and rider will be any level of ability and could be an established partnership or a trainee on a school horse. The horse can be any size, type and breed and the horse, pony or rider may be capable of varying quality of work. It will be a partnership you have not coached before, but you may go on to coach them for later sessions in the assessment.

This may take place in an enclosed area or field and the horse and rider may share the area with other riders.

You will observe two horse and rider combinations for 10 minutes each; one combination following your dressage coaching session and one following your show jumping coaching session. You will then discuss your observations with the assessor.

2. Dressage coaching

You will coach one horse and rider combination in this session. The partnership will be capable of working at or towards advanced medium level. The quality of the work may vary. It can be an established competitive horse and rider combination or a career student riding a school horse. The horse or rider may have none, limited or significant competition experience. The horse may be of any level of fitness.

You will have sole or shared use of an enclosed arena. There will be a pre-prepared area with dressage markers.

You will assess your horse and rider and ask any relevant questions at the beginning of the session. From your assessment you should have a clear structure, plan and goal. You may choose any exercises providing the rider has a clear understanding of it and it is within the horse and rider’s capabilities. The exercises should aim to improve advanced medium level work.

This session will last approximately 50 minutes; your coaching session should last 40 minutes, and an additional 10 minutes allowed for discussion with the assessor.

3. Show jumping coaching

You will coach one horse and rider combination in this session. The partnership will be capable of jumping up to a 1.15m course. The quality of work may vary. It can be an established competitive horse and rider combination or a career student riding a school horse. The horse or rider may have none, limited or significant competition experience. The rider may wish to progress their jumping or want to improve at existing level. The horse may be of any level of fitness.

You will have sole or shared use of an enclosed arena or grass area. The fences will not be numbered but will allow for linking of two or more fences in a competitive context. The fences will be a mixture of uprights, spreads, oxers and combinations. You will be expected to familiarise yourself with the show jumping arena before your assessment begins. This time is not factored into the timetable of the day, so please ensure you arrive in time to do this before your assessment briefing.

You will assess your horse and rider and ask any relevant questions at the beginning of the session. From your assessment you should have a clear structure, plan and goal. You may choose any exercises providing the rider has a clear understanding of it and it is within the horse and rider’s capabilities.

This session will last approximately 50 minutes; your coaching session should last 40 minutes, and an additional 10 minutes allowed for discussion with the assessor.

4. Arena eventing session

You will coach two horse and rider combinations for a semi-private lesson in this arena eventing session. There will be a pre-prepared jumping area. The fences may not be numbered but the direction of the jump will be indicated by white and red flags.

Each rider will be of a different skill level and you will be expected to adapt your session to accommodate each rider’s ability. One rider will be at Stage 3 working towards Stage 4 and one rider will be at Stage 4 working towards Stage 5. The riders will be career students working towards BHS qualifications; you should be able to advise the riders on their performance in relation to the BHS qualifications and the BHS career pathways structure.

You will walk the course or lines with the riders before the session and then assess each rider in the warm up. You will then coach the riders over single and linked fences to develop their skills and knowledge and ability to influence their horse. The fences you choose each rider to jump may be the same or different, but you must choose exercises and heights of fences that suit the different ability of each rider and the level they are working towards.

You can bring technology with you to assist your coaching (for example a headset and earpiece), but this is not compulsory. You must provide your own technology equipment should you wish to use it.

The assessment for this section should last approximately 60 minutes. 10 minutes for a course walk, your coaching session should last 35-40 minutes, and an additional 10 minutes allowed for discussion with the assessor.

5. Coaching presentation

This section will enable you to showcase your experience of training and developing rider and horse combinations in an area or discipline and evaluate your coaching. A Performance Coach will regularly reflect on their coaching practice and methodologies to find ways to enhance and develop their craft.

You will present your general experience coaching riders and training horses, and then focus the presentation on your experience coaching a specific rider over a minimum period of six months. Your chosen rider can either be a rider and horse combination working towards competition or a career student rider training on multiple horses. The focus should not be on the development of the horse, but instead the development of the rider’s skills, confidence and influence on the horse, although the horse’s improvement and development can be discussed. You should also discuss your coaching philosophy and how you adapt your coaching to meet the riders needs. This assessor would be keen to understand your self-reflection process to ensure you continue to meet the riders needs.

For this assessment you will present to a BHS Assessor.

Your presentation should last between 15-30 minutes. You can bring resources/ supporting evidence such as a logbook, photos or videos (on your own device) as evidence to support your discussion.

Following your presentation, the assessor will have an opportunity to ask questions.

The assessment for this section should last approximately 45 minutes and is assessed as a standalone assessment

Please note there is an exemption for this assessment for anyone who has passed their UKCC Level 4 assessment, evidence will need to be provided to the BHS Education Team.

For information on assessment fees, booking process and training guidelines please click here.

Download the assessment criteria for further detail.