3 December 2020
Kilgraston School is celebrating 100% success with its first pupil-cohort of British Horse Society (BHS) Stage 1 Compete Horsemanship assessment candidates.
“This is an internationally recognised qualification which we are thrilled to be able to offer pupils,” said Equestrian Manager, Rachael MacLean, “all the girls have worked very hard throughout the year and are progressing to the tough BHS Stage 2.”
Equestrian Studies was introduced at the School last year as part of its Alternative Pathway curriculum. “Offering these valuable certificates allow girls to take an equestrian qualification in conjunction with their National 5s, concurrently developing their career strategy,” said MacLean, “Having the on-site Equestrian Centre offers superb continuity of learning, with staff always on-hand to offer help and advice.”
Kilgraston is the only school in Scotland to offer BHS qualifications, allowing those who pass to progress, should they wish, towards careers in the equestrian industry: “Candidates can move towards becoming racing or eventing grooms, professional riders or instructors or even take their study further at college or university where they can study, among other courses, Equine Management or Science,” expands MacLean, “BHS qualifications have a flexible syllabus, allowing candidates to focus on particular aspects of the industry in which they are interested, for instance, teaching or yard management.”
Qualifying for Stage 1 was a year-long process with the five candidates travelling to the BHS-affiliated Aberdeen Riding Club for a full-day external assessment: “Prior to their final assessment, a BHS external assessor came to Kilgraston, meeting the girls and giving feedback,” continued MacLean, “They studied three hours a week – one in the classroom and two practical hours in the yard – on top of riding lessons. It’s a very thorough assessment.”
Pupil Issy Wagg agreed: “It has been such a great privilege to study the BHS Stage I, learning how to properly manage horse care and be rewarded with a professionally recognised certificate which will help me on the first stage of my career with animals.”
All aspects of horse-care were covered, including stable and field management, tack and equipment maintenance and application, feeding, equine health, riding at all paces, with and without stirrups.
“Seeing the girls develop their ability and grow in confidence, becoming fully proficient in the first stage of their possible equestrian career, has been very rewarding. I’m very proud of them all,” concluded MacLean.
BHS Stage 2, which can take up to two academic years to complete, is also recognised throughout the world as a pathway of excellence and includes thorough assessment in care, lunge and mounted disciplines and is taken by pupils aged 15 and 16.