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The British Horse Society Advice

As the largest equine charity in the UK, The British Horse Society is dedicated to education, equine welfare, protecting and increasing access to bridleways and equestrian routes, and safety for horse and riders. The Society's thriving and active community of staff and volunteers are committed to improving the lives of horses everywhere.

To find out more about their work or to become a member go to www.bhs.org.uk

Education

Taking Assessments during Covid-19

During this time of unprecedented upheaval, the British Horse Society has developed an interim model of assessment for a selection of Care, Ride and Lunge units. This assessment model has been implemented in order to comply with current government health guidelines and allow assessments to continue without disadvantaging any candidate. Find out more about how we are making our assessments safe during this time and how you can continue to develop your qualifications with us.

Career Pathways

We have four Career Pathways available which are suite of internationally recognised qualifications will link to:

  • Coaching Pathway supports you to become a world-leading equestrian coach with the 360 degree understanding, knowledge and skills to support your clients and the next generation to reach their goals and ambitions.
  • Groom with Riding Pathway for those wanting a career managing horse's care, exercise and training needs.
  • Groom Pathway for those wanting a career caring for horses and working towards centre management.
  • Ride Leader Pathway supports those working in a commercial equestrian centre. Whether you assist or lead out hacks in a riding centre or lead longer treks and trails within an equestrian tourism centre you will gain the skills and confidence necessary.

With our coaching and riding assessments you can concentrate your career within an all-round eventing or dressage or show jumping focus as you progress along the Pathway.

Careers

Education is the DNA of our charity, and the BHS Career Pathways demonstrate our commitment to enhancing your career or knowledge with horses. As a charity, we have developed our new offer to ensure a sustainable system to support the longevity of the BHS Career Pathways, which in turn can support your career from entry level to performance. Take a look at our careers guide and see the breadth of careers our qualifications will support.

Challenge Awards

If you are not working towards a career with horses, and simply want to develop your knowledge and skills or improve your confidence, our Challenge Awards are for you. Learn all about horse care, lungeing and riding from the basics through to more advanced techniques.

Advice on safety

Riding on the Road

Most of us will need to ride or carriage drive on the road at some point, whether it is to reach an off road route, or to connect one bridleway to another. We have lots of helpful tips and advice to ensure you stay safe when you are on the roads.

Be Seen

One of the most important things to remember when riding on the road, especially as the days get shorter, is to ensure that you can be seen. The BHS recommends always wearing Hi-Viz find out how to choose the best Hi-Viz for you.

When things don’t go to plan

Sadly things don’t always go to plan when you are riding out so we urge riders and carriage drivers to report all incidents they are involved in, regardless of severity, to us.

Reporting your incidents helps us to better understand the rate of equine-related incidents across the UK. Anyone can report their incidents or near misses to us; you don’t have to be a BHS member. It is vital each and every incident is recorded in order to be added to our national statistics.

Reporting factual data really can make a difference to equine safety and it allows us to lobby and advise MP's, road safety partnerships, the police and other safety organisations. Find out what incidents to report and how to report them.

Transporting Horses Safely

With many of us enjoying lots of different activities with our horses we often transport them on public highways. At the BHS we want to make sure you are always safe whilst transporting your horse. Find out more about how to transport your horse safely, the checks you should make before you travel, loading and unloading and what to do if you breakdown together with lots of other useful advice.

We would recommend riders wear LED lights wherever possible, ideally in a pattern that highlights their width (lights on their shoulders and the flanks of their horse, for example) as recommended in our report.

Welfare

Friends At The End

Friends at the End is a BHS initiative designed to ensure that no horse owner has to face the loss of their equine companion alone.

Our Friends at the End team can talk to owners about the options available if they can no longer keep their horse for any reason. If the horse does need to be put to sleep, we will discuss the choices available with owners, from the method of euthanasia to what to do afterwards. If any owner needs additional support, our dedicated and trained BHS Friends can be there on the day and can hold the horse if the owner doesn’t feel able.

Find out more and see how to get in touch, if you feel that you might benefit from this scheme.

Be Horse Aware

We have sadly seen increased reports of horses being made seriously ill, suffering significant injuries, and even dying, due to members of the public feeding horses or because of a direct action such as not closing a gate. Although frequently motivated by kindness, these actions have resulted in horrifying unintended consequences.

We are working to raise awareness among the public about the importance of not feeding horses if they encounter them, as well as some reminders about the Countryside Code.

We have also produced posters for horse owners to download and print, to help educate passers-by. Find out more and download your poster.

REACT Now to Beat Colic

Colic is the most common reason for an emergency vet call out in horses. Recognising the earlier signs of colic means veterinary treatment can start sooner. Most cases can be resolved relatively quickly with appropriate treatment, but some will be critical with potentially severe consequences. Conditions that affect the blood supply to the intestine become a race against time, and the earlier the problem is recognised and treated, the better the chance of survival. Are you Ready to REACT if your horse had a critical case of colic?

Our React Now to Beat Colic pack shows you how to recognise early signs and act quickly, including our new Equine Care and Emergency Plan. Find out more and pledge to react.

Healthcare and Education Clinics

In 2015, this nationwide campaign was launched to take a proactive approach to tackling the horse crisis. In this time and with the support of BEVA Trust volunteer vets and an extensive list of supportive organisations, we have held 28 clinics, seen 1038 horses and performed over 600 castrations. We provide vital healthcare and castration at a reduced cost, for those horses identified as being vulnerable or at risk of / known to be indiscriminately breeding. There are a wide range of reasons for why horse owners need our support.

With equine rescue centres at full capacity, our Healthcare Clinics provide an important measure to help break the cycle of neglect and improve welfare. Find out more about our Healthcare and Education Clinics.

Riding Out

Finding out where you can ride or carriage drive

During this global pandemic, times have been incredibly difficult, yet it has brought with it a rise in the number of people exploring the outdoors. More people are accessing outdoor spaces than ever before and sharing these public spaces with everyone responsibly and safely is crucial for everyone’s enjoyment.

Please help us spread the word by following our social media. We have some great videos ranging from top tips on how to share routes with a range of different users to how to open gates safely on whilst mounted and on foot.

 The most common question we still get asked every day, is “Where can I ride or carriage drive”? We can help you get started.

The second common question is “There is nowhere to go near me, or a route I ride is blocked, what can I do?” We can help…

Protecting your routes and open spaces

We work with a dedicated team of more than 300 volunteers and 120 BHS Affiliated Equestrian Access Groups to keep the access that exists open, accessible, and useable for today, and for future generations. Much of the network is under regular threat. Ranging from equestrian routes falling into disrepair, gates being locked, pressures on housing demands creating planning applications across the countries, to thousands of km of routes potentially being lost in 2026, we strive to protect them all.

Equestrian routes can become obstructed and unusable. Do you know how to get them cleared? 

In England, many equestrians have no idea that the very routes they are riding could be lost in 2026. If we don’t act now it will be too late.

Find out if the routes and open spaces you use are threatened, and what you can do to help protect them for now and for future generations.

Extending and connecting routes

On a route that leads to nowhere? Don’t like being on busy roads?

With the speed and volume of traffic on our roads being at an all time high, access to safe off road routes and open spaces has never been so important to equestrians.

The BHS National Bridleroute Network is a series of short and long distance, circular and linear routes spanning across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We work to connect as many routes as possible to ensure equestrians can access as many safe off road routes as possible. Ride Out UK is our national campaign to celebrate Riding Out, which encourages individuals to take on distance challenges, explore new places, and celebrate some of the most beautiful places in our countries you can often only access on four hooves. 

Taking pride in where you ride

Community pride in local areas is key to keeping routes open and safe for the future. Getting involved with your local BHS, BHS Equestrian Access Groups, Ramblers, cycling groups can unlock so many opportunities. Find out if we need volunteers in your area.

 

Be a BHS Ride Out Ambassador – The BHS Education and Access & Rights of Way teams have produced this prestigious award for completion only by those who have a real passion for Riding Out, love where they live, and have completed the relevant Stage 3 Trail Leader qualification. Best of all…it’s FREE! 

We are here to answer any question you have, no matter how big or small, we are here to help.

Got a question?

Put it to our panellists! Please note that by emailing your question you are giving Your Horse Live permission to pass on your email address to BHS who will contact you only in relation to your question.

Emmeline Hannelly - Welfare Education Manager at The British Horse Society

Emmeline has worked at the BHS for 13 years and during this time has helped thousands of horse owners by providing advice and support on many different issues.

Laura Hood, Education Development Manager

I have worked at the BHS for nearly 10 years and I love being able to help people find ways to develop their knowledge and skills. Whether you have had horses for years or just getting started, there’s something for everyone!

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety

I head the Safety Team at The British Horse Society and am the lead on our Dead Slow campaign. My aim is to ensure that everyone enjoys riding out and this means keeping you safe on the road. I’ll be on hand to answer any questions you have about staying safe whilst riding out, how to report an incident if, sadly, something does go wrong and how to keep you and your horse safe whilst you are transporting them.

Heather Clatworthy, Senior Executive Access and Rights of Way

I have worked for the BHS charity for more than 15 years and the equine and rural industry for most of my life. My team and all of our dedicated volunteers and equestrian access groups share your passion for horses and the outdoors and want to ensure that you can enjoy riding or carriage driving out, wherever you live across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

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