The BHS (British Horse Society) Horse Owners Certificate


The BHS Horse Owners Certificate Level 1

  • Knowledge of horse types, uses, colours and markings.
  • Elementary stable management.
  • Knowledge of care and maintenance required to keep a horse healthy and comfortable in a stable.
  • Stable routine and safety in the stable.
  • Safe handling of both the horse and equipment necessary for his well-being.
  • A knowledge of substances in common use which require particular care andand/or storage.
  • Identification of items of tack in common use and naming of the parts.
  • Basic care of tack.
  • Ability to take apart, inspect for safety, clean and reassemble.
  • Reasons and principles of grooming.
  • Knowledge of the items in a grooming kit and their use.
  • Basic knowledge of shoeing and care of the foot.
  • Recognition of signs of health and ill health and when to call a vet.
  • Temperature, pulse, respiration and the signs of health.
  • Preventative treatments – worming, flu-vac etc including a basic knowledge of the need to worm and vaccinate.
  • Elementary principles of watering and feeding and the rules of feeding and watering.
  • A knowledge of buying a horse including points to look for and the need for a vet to assess the horse before purchase.
  • Elementary rules for preparing a horse for a ride including riding out on the roads; returning from a ride; and how to dress for riding.

The BHS Horse Owners Certificate Level 2

  • The reasons for shoeing and recognition of when shoeing or re-shoeing is required.
  • A knowledge of the basic structure of the foot.
  • Knowledge of a farrier’s tools and use.
  • Know how to remove a shoe safely in an emergency.
    Recognition of common injuries and basic first aid.
  • Know how to arrest bleeding and treat different types of wounds.
  • Knowledge of watering and feeding of the stabled horse and the horse at grass including feeding in all seasons and feeding for light work.
  • Care and maintenance of grassland including the maintenance of fences, gates, shelter, watering etc.
  • Care and improvement of the grassland to include a knowledge of harmful weeds and their control.
  • The care of saddlery, including the inspection for soundness of saddles.
  • A knowledge of the fitting and use of more items of equipment i.e. martingales,breastplates, boots etc.
  • The necessity of insurance to cover all aspects of the horse and its use.
  • Stable Routine for two horses which also includes all the extra jobs that need to be undertaken e.g. drains, guttering, paintwork, cleanliness of yard etc.
  •  A knowledge of the different types of bedding and their management including  different systems e.g. deep litter.
  • The Highway Code.
  • The Country Code, including the correct and courteous use of bridleways.

The BHS Horse Owners Certificate Level 3

  • The recognition, treatment and care of common injuries and ailments, further to Level Two.
  • Changes from management in the stable to management at grass and viceversa.
  • The procedures for getting a horse up from a period out at grass e.g.,teeth, worming etc. and the procedures for roughing-off a horse.
  • Clipping, trimming and plaiting.
  • Care and maintenance of horse transport; to include both horse boxes and trailers.
  • A knowledge of the law regarding the transit of horses including weight ratios for trailers and legal requirement with regard to towing.
  • Preparation of the horse for travel including aknowledge of equipment needed with regard to the length of journey and the climatic conditions.
  • The care of the horse trekking and in competitive events.
  • Understanding  fitness and condition, and the maintenance of both.
  • Knowledge of good and bad stable construction including different types of stabling.
  • Basic requirements of planning regulations.
  • Layout of stable yard to include handling and disposal of the muck heap.
  • Knowledge of horse clothing and bandagingincluding their care and maintenance.
  • Recognition of good and bad forage.
  • Knowledge of different grasses found in hay samples and ability to identify weeds and poor grasses.
  • Storage of forage
  • Have a working knowledge of the costs involved in keeping a horse.

The BHS Horse Owners Certificate Level 4

  • Knowledge of the main systems in the horse (Respiration, Reproduction,Digestive, Immune, etc.), their function and common problems associated with these systems, (COPD, Colic etc.)
  • Knowledge of various grasses, conditions for growth and beneficial properties.
  • Procedures for improving pasture i.e. drainage, cross grazing, re-seeding, fertilisers etc. Calendar of management for grassland. Haymaking – types and methods.
  • Vitamins/Minerals – difference between them and why they may be deficient in the diet.
  • Name main vitamins/minerals and their uses.
  • Weights and types of feed available for: Riding School horses, Hunters, Competition Horses, etc.
  • Knowledge of structure of the tooth and ageing characteristics. Description of structure of the mouth and common problems that may result from poor mouth conformation.
  • Name and structure of different types of remedial shoes, describe the condition under which these shoes may be used and the way in which they affect improvement/relief.
  • List the basic principles of sick nursing and the reasons/conditions for implementing these.
  • Describe the way in which these principles may help to reduce severity of a condition/injury and any problems that may arise as a result.
  • Outline the basic principles of fitting various saddles (dressage, jumping, cross-country, general purpose) and bridles (snaffle, double bridle).
  • Describe the uses of specific ‘bits’ and gadgets, (draw reins, balancing reins, Market Harborough, De Gouge, etc.) and the way in which they work.
  • List common stable vices and their possible causes and suggest ways to stop such vices and the preventative steps that can be taken to limit these.
  • A general knowledge of The BHS and its Departments, Structure etc. Awareness of The BHS qualifications system and The BHS Register of Instructors.
  • Action to be taken in the event of an accident. A knowledge of RIDDOR and legal obligations of an Instructor.

Candidate’s information packs are available from the BHS Examinations Department on request.

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