The Improve Your Riding courses are designed for those who wish to enhance their understanding of horses and ability to ride.
There are three different levels, which you can access depending on your previous experience, confidence and ability. The new starter level is designed for riders who can confidently walk, trot and canter.
This is a fun course, tailor-made round the participants, which is designed to build rider balance and increase riding skills.
Candidates must be at least 14 years of age and will need to be able to walk, trot, canter and be independent from the rein, i.e. happy to ride with a light rein contact so that they do not balance their body weight on the horse’s mouth. Please ring Stephanie Meadows, Centre Manager, to have a chat prior to the course to ensure that it is right for you. Tel: 07970 726830.
We do not accept beginner riders, but can recommend approved centres where you could start riding.
In order to ensure the welfare of our horses, we operate a personal weight restriction of no more than 13 stone. All riders will be weighed prior to the start of the course.
We work on improving the balance technique and competence of the rider. This will involve riding without stirrups to enhance balance and co-ordination. Towards the end of the course, we introduce work in the light seat over poles and jump small fences.
We have a great range of horses at the College but, as their welfare is paramount, you will only be mounted on horses which suit your height and weight.
This could narrow down the selection of horses we can offer you.
There is no formal assessment, although you will receive verbal feedback during and at the end of each lesson and will be set targets for improvement.
You will be required to supply your own:
Derby College offers a range of one-day, weekend and evening courses relating to Equine Studies – please see the Derby College Equestrian website www.derby-college.ac.uk/equestrian-centre.
Derby College also offers courses in a wide range of other land-based topics - please see the Derby College Part-time Prospectus for a full list and details.
Schoolgirl Emily Field had no idea her hobby could turn into a career until she went to a Derby College Open Evening. Hailing from a family which is "not horsey at all ", Emily now has a string of equine qualifications at the age of just 22. Emily was unsure what she wanted to do after her GCSEs. But as a keen rider – although she did not have her own horse at the time – the equine courses stood out.
Enthused by the open evening, she decided to pursue the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management, although she admits she was nervous. She worried that she might be left behind because she was not from a "horsey" background and didn't own her own horse. Instead, she thrived, and found the environment friendly and helpful. Emily described the course as "very practical", which suited her style of learning, with most days spent on the yard.
It also included more scientific areas such as equine feeding, digestion and sickness. Emily completed her Diploma in 2013, with Passes and Merits and also took her industry qualifications BHS levels 1 and 2. Overall, she said she "pretty much learned everything I needed to know" to put into practice as a groom when she left college. Emily has now worked at two horse yards and is enjoying her latest job at a stud yard in Nottinghamshire. She has also gained her BHS levels 3 and 4 as well as a teaching qualification.
The Diploma was just so helpful. When I was leaving school I didn't even know you could get involved with horses as a full-time career and a proper job. It gave me a base to move upwards, I don't think I'd be able to be where I am now without it. I've been at the stud yard since September and it's entirely different to anything I've before, but I really enjoy it. I think my boss is happy with what I'm doing and I'm happy here.