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 and give practical demonstrations. They observe riders in order to spot and help correct problems and to ensure training is carried out safely.
Instructors may also teach assistant instructors and be responsible for supervising the stable. Some instructors may combine teaching with work as a groom.
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 riders to competitions, which at the highest levels may be abroad. Freelance instructors travel between riding schools. A driving licence is useful, although not usually essential. Instructors may also have to live in.
Instructors are employed by riding schools, private stables, competition yards, colleges offering equine courses, polo yards, livery stables, stud yards and trekking centres. There are some freelance riding instructors who work on a self-employed basis at a number of centres.
Riding experience is essential. It is important to be able to ride sufficiently well to demonstrate effectively to pupils and to understand problems that may arise.
Horse riding instructors usually qualify by taking the examinations of the British Horse Society or the Association of British Riding Schools. These can be gained as an Apprentice, through a full-time or part-time college course, or as a fee-paying student at a riding school. People of any age can become horse riding instructors. However, training opportunities are mainly geared towards young people.
There are opportunities to progress to senior posts at riding schools, or to other positions of responsibility in the equine industry. Overseas work is possible. Some instructors develop their careers by studying for HNDs, Foundation degrees or degrees in equine studies or related subjects.