Horse riding instructor

horse riding teacher

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would work with people of different ages, abilities and experience levels, and teach them how to ride horses.

You’d patiently encourage and motivate your pupils. You’d share your own good riding practice with your students.

You would:

  • Teach people who want to ride for fun
  • Help individual riders or teams to prepare for competitions like show jumping, eventing or dressage
  • Help horses and riders to warm up and cool down during training
  • Develop training programmes suited to individual riders
  • Give practical demonstrations
  • Observe riders in order to spot and help correct problems
  • Give feedback and keep records of rider development
  • Assess riders who are working towards qualifications

You’d make sure that health and safety rules are followed. You’d need first aid skills just in case there is an accident.

You might also teach assistant instructors and supervise work in the stable. In some jobs you could combine instructing with working as a groom.

Working conditions


Your working hours could be long and irregular, including weekends and evenings. Part-time work may be possible. . Some work may be seasonal.


You would usually work outdoors, in all weather conditions, although larger riding schools may also have indoor facilities.


Your work may involve travelling with riders to competitions, which at the highest levels may be abroad. If you are freelance, you will need to travel between riding schools. In some jobs you may have to live in at the riding school.

UK employment status



Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Helping people to learn
  • Caring for animals
  • Budgeting
  • Planning and organising

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


You do not need formal qualifications to enter this job but usually require British Horse Society (BHS) instructor qualifications or Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) teaching qualifications to give lessons. You can get these while you are in work.  

You can take the BHS Stage 1 exam from 14 years old and Stage 2 from when you are 16 years old. To do Stage 3 you must be at least 17 years old and have completed the Stage 1 and Stage 2 examinations. To undertake the BHS Preliminary Teaching Test certificate you must be at least 18 years old and have passed Stage 2. You can then go on to take other BHS qualifications.

The Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) offers an Initial Teaching Award and Teaching Certificate. Check with the ABRS for more information. 

Alternatively, you could do an Equine Modern Apprenticeship.

If you choose to study an National Certificate in Horse Care, entry varies from no formal qualifications to three subjects at National 5.

To enter a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) in Equine Studies requires two Highers at CC and practical work experience or BHS Stage 2 qualifications.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • A science subject (required by most courses)
  • ICT
  • Administration

Business-based subjects may also be of value for progressing to equine management. 

You will also need

For some jobs you may need:

  • To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland
  • A driving licence

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate work with horses/animals and the ability to train or teach others, such as:

  • National Progression Award in Horse Care (SCQF level 4/6)
  • National Certificate in Horse Care (SCQF level 5) 
  • Scottish Vocational Qualifications in Animal Care (SVQ 2/3)

Once you have gained suitable instructor or teaching qualifications it is helpful to join the BHS Register of Instructors.

You may also apply for an Equestrian Passport which shows the holder's qualifications and is recognised and accepted in countries that are members of the International Group for Equestrian Qualifications.