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What is The Pony Club Coaching Certificate?

The Pony Club Coaching Certificate in General Riding is part of a framework of qualifications for coach education developed by the UK’s most successful sports.

This is a professional coaching qualification which is accredited by our awarding body 1st 4 Sport. 1st4Sport is an Ofqual recognised and regulated organisation in England, who specialise in the active leisure, learning and well-being sector.

These qualifications offer the highest quality of training delivered by an experienced and dedicated workforce who guide and steer coaches to develop their skills; they build on existing coaching knowledge and expertise to build personal development. The learning programme enables feedback in action and importantly learning from and with other coaches.  

The Pony Club offers Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the General Riding qualification and Level 4 is a Post Graduate Diploma run through the BEF.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of gaining this qualification as an equestrian coach include:-

  • Effective, up to date ‘athlete-centred’ coaching skills.
  • A clearer pathway of opportunities for your personal and career development.
  • Access to best practice coaching standards and new coaching ideas developed across the UK by top sports coaches.
  • A greater understanding of high-quality world class coaching.
  • Access to expert advice and support on all aspects of coaching.
  • The satisfaction of helping your riders to achieve their goals.
  • Encouragement to be the best coach that you can be.

What does each level involve?

Level 1 - Assistant Coach

The Level 1 coach qualification trains the learner to assist more qualified coaches, delivering aspects of coaching sessions under direct supervision, this is suitable for candidates who have no coaching experience. The technical knowledge required is around C Test. You will learn about safe working environments and the health and safety regulations of riding and coaching. You will also learn how to prepare for a coaching session and the skills needed to coach.

The assessment specification requires learner to:

  • Complete a series of assessed tasks contained within their learner portfolio, provided by 1st
  • Plan, deliver and evaluate a pre-planned coaching session.
  • Demonstrate their ability to deliver a 30 minute flatwork session.

This course consists of:

  • Three one day workshops approximately one month apart followed by a final assessment.
  • The workshops are a mixture of theory based classroom sessions where the information needed for the portfolio will be covered, and practical coaching sessions where the coaching skills needed will be covered. Please make sure you read the requirements and ensure you are confident in the technical skills before applying.
  • You will also need to be prepared to work on your own between workshops. This includes completing the portfolio tasks and could include watching other coaches and making sure you get as much coaching practise as possible.
Level 2 - Coach

The Level 2 coach is trained to prepare for, deliver and review coaching sessions. The technical equestrian knowledge required is around B Test level, and this coach will be able to plan a short series of linked lessons, e.g. for Camp or similar. Applicants must have previous coaching experience.

The assessment specification requires learners to:

  • Complete a series of assessed tasks contained within their learner portfolio, provided by 1st4Sport
  • Plan, deliver and evaluate a minimum of six sessions. Four of these sessions must be linked and progressive, working with the same individual or group of participants in order to monitor and review any progress made.
  • Demonstrate their ability to coach sessions in two practical coaching assessments, one will be a flat session the other will be focused on jumping.

This course consists of:

  • Four one day workshops approximately one month apart followed by a final assessment.
  • The workshops are a mixture of theory based classroom sessions where the information needed for the portfolio will be covered, and practical coaching sessions where the coaching skills needed will be covered. Advice on the technical skills will also be given in the practical sessions, but we cannot make you technically competent in 4 sessions. Please make sure you read the requirements and ensure you are confident in the technical skills before applying.
  • You will also need to be prepared to work on your own between workshops. This includes completing the portfolio tasks and could include watching other coaches and making sure you get as much coaching practise as possible.
Level 3 - Advanced Coach

The Level 3 coach is to plan, implement, analyse and revise annual coaching programmes This coach has a technical knowledge at around A Test level. This coach could also “mentor” Level 2 coaches who needed support.

The coaching skills expected at Level 3 are more refined and are based on learning, psychological and skill acquisition theories. Coaches applying for Level 3 should have considerable coaching experience and a good background in the industry as a competitor and/or coach, trainer or instructor.

The assessment specification requires learners to:

  • Complete a series of assessed tasks contained within their learner portfolio, provided by 1st4Sport
  • Plan, deliver and evaluate an aspect of a seasonal coaching programme covering a minimum of an 8-week period where a minimum of 8 sessions are planned, delivered and executed.
  • Demonstrate their ability to coach sessions in two practical coaching assessments, these assessments will include dressage, show jumping and cross country lessons.

This course consists of:

  • Eight workshops spread out across the year with a practical assessment.
  • The workshops are a mixture of theory based classroom sessions where the information needed for the portfolio will be covered, and practical coaching sessions where the coaching skills needed will be covered. Advice on the technical skills will also be given in the practical sessions.
  • You will also need to be prepared to work on your own between workshops. This includes completing the portfolio tasks and could include watching other coaches and making sure you get as much coaching practise as possible.

Level 4 - Performance Coach

The Level 4 Coaching Qualification provides coaches with a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) in Professional Practise in Sport Coaching and is designed to support and credit learning within the workplace.

Level 4 coaches will be visionary and knowledgeable decision makers who display exceptional skills, behaviours and the highest professional and ethical standards. They will advance their own and others’ development; lead cutting-edge programmes, or a specialist part of a programme; and make a positive impact on sport performance and behaviour.

More information can be found here