horse riding instructor

How to become a horse riding instructor

What does a horse riding instructor do?

If you enjoy working with horses and have a passion for teaching others, then this may be job for you. Horse riding instructors teach people of all ages and levels of ability and experience to ride. They also train horses.

Instructors develop training programmes suited to individual riders, give practical demonstrations, and observe riders in order to spot and help rectify problems and to ensure training is carried out safely.

They may work with:

  • non-competitive riders of all ages
  • competitive riders, helping individual riders or teams to prepare for competitions such as showjumping, eventing, dressage, or those working towards qualification. 

Instructors may also teach assistant instructors and be responsible for supervising the stable. Some instructors may combine teaching with work as a groom.


What's the working environment like for a horse riding instructor?

Hours are long and irregular and include weekends and evenings. Part-time work may be possible.

Instructors work outdoors, in all weathers, although larger riding schools may have indoor facilities. Some work may be seasonal. Instructors may travel with people to competitions, which at the highest levels may be abroad. Freelance instructors will travel between riding schools. A driving licence is useful, although not usually essential. Instructors may be required to live in.

The work is mentally and physically demanding.

What does it take to become a horse riding instructor?

Horse riding instructors need to:

  • be patient and able to work with riders of all abilities
  • enjoy working with people and be able to communicate well with all age groups
  • have good horse riding skills
  • be able to work without supervision and have the ability motivate and supervise people
  • have first aid skills
  • be physically fit
  • be calm under pressure
  • have business and clerical skills if self-employed.


Horse riding instructor career opportunities

Opportunities for riding instructors are good. Employers include riding schools, competition yards and private stables and agricultural/equine college stables. Trekking centres, riding holiday centres and Pony Club may offer seasonal work. Instructors may have to undertake other tasks such as grooming.

There are opportunities for self-employment and experienced instructors may be employed on a freelance basis by a number of centres. Some instructors buy and run their own riding schools.

There are opportunities to work abroad and the International Equestrian Passport for instructors is officially recognised by 27 countries.

Fully qualified instructors may become head or senior instructors at a riding school, or competition judges.

Further information

If you would like to find out more about becoming a horse riding instructor and that information does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Association Of British Riding Schools
Queen's Chambers
38-40 Queen Street
TR18 4BH
Tel: 01736 369440

The British Horse Society
Stoneleigh Deer Park
Tel: 08701 202244

Riding for the Disabled Association
Stoneleigh Park
Tel: 0845 658 1082

British Driving Society
83 New Road
IP14 6EA
Tel: 01473 892001

British Equestrian Federation

Lantra House
Stoneleigh Park
Nr Coventry
Tel: 0845 707 8007



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