- Challenge FAQs
The challenge awards are a series of awards designed for you to develop your skills, knowledge and confidence, all with the support of an Accredited Professional Coach. There are a wide range of topics to choose from that cover the breadth of horse care, riding and lungeing. Putting the welfare of the horse at the heart of everything that you do.
There are 34 awards in total, and you can pick and mix the awards that suit your experience and interests; they’re completely flexible with you in control choosing the awards that are right for you.
We will award certificates upon completion of individual awards and badges for combinations of awards, so you may want to complete them all!
Absolutely anyone who is a BHS member. It doesn’t matter what previous experience you have with horses, or if you’re a complete beginner. All you need is enthusiasm and a love for horses!
There are no age limits or restrictions to the awards. The only exception to this is within silver riding out safely; the minimum age limit to sit the Ride Safe award is 11.
Courses are delivered by an Accredited Professional Coach. If you have your own horse, your coach can come to your livery yard or British Riding Club grounds. If you do not own your own horse, or you’re not sure if they would be suitable, don’t worry. There are BHS Approved Riding Centres throughout the UK that deliver challenge awards with their facilities and horses.
There is only one ‘formal’ assessment throughout all of the challenge awards, for silver riding out safely which encompasses the Ride Safe award.
For all other challenges, no - there are no set assessment dates or formal assessments. Each challenge award comes with an award checklist, which is a series of skills and knowledge required to complete the award. Your coach will sign off a task or skill within an award as completed when they have observed you. There are no set assessment dates and you should be completing tasks on a continuous and informal basis, as and when you are ready. Think of each award made up of achievable bitesize building blocks, and once all of the blocks have been achieved you will have completed the award.
The cost of the course is determined by your Accredited Professional Coach or Approved Centre. The cost may vary depending on which awards you want to achieve and whether you have your own horse.
No - you can pick and mix the awards that you want to do, depending on the topics that suit your interests, skills and ambitions.
If you do want to challenge yourself and learn a new skill be assured you will have the guidance and support of your challenge award peers and your coach. You can achieve the challenge awards at your local Approved Centre where they will match you to a horse to ensure your lessons are suitable to your experience, but most importantly, you’ll have fun along the way! Remember, there are no time limits, or constraints to complete an award so you can work at a pace to suit you to achieve your goals.
Using your own horse
Yes! The challenge awards are a great way for you and your horse to develop your confidence and partnership. If you want to use your own horse we recommend the horse is over four years of age and of a suitable level and temperament to partake in the activities asked for you to complete the award, and you have the necessary insurance cover. For example, if you haven’t lunged your horse before, or you’re not sure how they will react, it may not be appropriate to use your horse within the lungeing your horse awards. We recommend you speak to your coach if you have any concerns regarding the suitability of your horse for the challenge awards.
For your peace-of-mind BHS Gold membership includes public liability insurance up to £30 million* and personal accident insurance of up to £10,000*. The BHS does not sell insurance, but if you are seeking to extend your insurance beyond Public Liability and Personal Accident insurance, we suggest you speak to the company that supplies our insurance, South Essex Insurance Brokers, on 01708 850000.
Yes, absolutely! We encourage anyone with a love of horses to challenge themselves and complete one, or more, awards. You’ll learn new skills, make friends along the way and be part of a supportive community all with a shared passion for horses.
Yes, we do require you to be a minimum of a Silver member to participate in the challenge awards. Joining us is easy, either via our website or call our Membership team on 02476 840506. Your coach will also have membership forms you can complete and return.
If you’re a horse owner we recommend joining us as a Gold member as this offers you public liability insurance up to £30 million* and personal accident insurance of up to £10,000* for your peace-of-mind.
There are many more benefits of membership, but most importantly, you’ll get that great feeling that comes with knowing you are making a significant donation to our charitable work. There are junior and family discounts available at Gold level and you can spread the cost by paying monthly. Thank you for your support!
*Terms, conditions and territorial limits apply
The benefits available will vary depending on the level of membership you select. See the range of benefits for BHS membership
If you are a BRC member, you will be required to join the BHS as a minimum of a Silver membership to participate in the challenge awards. BRC members will receive a 30% discount off your first year’s BHS membership fee.
You are required to join the BHS to participate in the Challenge Awards. We understand that the membership fee may be an additional cost that has not been planned for, but with membership starting from as little as £3.66 a month for Silver membership, we hope you will want to support our charity and enjoy the benefits that come with membership.
Finding a course
You will register through your coach, who will have all the necessary paperwork you need.
You will receive a certificate of achievement from your coach upon completion of an individual award (for example, caring for your horse silver). Upon completion of all bronze, silver, gold or platinum awards within About the Horse or About the Rider (for example, About the Horse silver) you will receive a bronze, silver, gold or platinum enamel pin badge.
The challenge awards are designed for horse owners, loaners, recreational riders and anyone else who wants to learn more about horses and develop their skills for personal achievement. When you complete an award you will be recognised with a certificate, but the challenge awards are not industry recognised qualifications for the professional market.
If you aspire to work in the equestrian industry we have dedicated professional pathways which will help you do just that.
We are delighted to offer entry to the BHS Equine Excellence Pathway for challenge award participants who may wish to transition to our suite of professional qualifications.
- About the Horse - Silver
Professional Rider Pathway
Completion of the following challenge awards will provide entry to BHS Stage 2 Ride*
- About the Rider - Silver
- About the Horse - Silver
- About the Rider - Silver
Upon completion of the Stage 2 Care, Lunge and Ride, you can then progress to the Stage 2 Teach within the Complete Horsemanship Pathway.
Equine Tourism Pathway
This pathway is for those that wish to work in the equestrian tourism industry. The suite of professional qualifications will provide career opportunities from ride leaders through to equestrian tourism centre managers. The entry level qualification within the Ride Leader Pathway is Ride Out Stage 2. The entry requirements for Ride Out Stage 2 are:
- Riding out Safely Gold (Challenge Award) (compulsory from 2020)
*Please note the minimum age requirement for a participant to sit any Stage 2 Care, Lunge or Ride assessment is 16 years old and to be a BHS Gold Member.
Yes, absolutely. If your coach or Approved Centre are delivering the challenge awards you can begin these at any time. Speak to your coach for further advice.
Although there are no set end dates for the PRTs, we expect that most coaches and Approved Centres will stop offering these as they begin to deliver the challenge awards.
We expect the Essential Horse Knowledge Certificate will continue to be delivered. EHKC is a theory based qualification which many coaches like to run in the evenings or winter, when resources are limited.