Abbotsholme is extremely proud of its BHS-approved Equestrian Centre, which is located within the school grounds, conveniently close to the heart of the school. We offer working livery to students, and many pupils choose to keep their own horse at school. Pupils learn to take responsibility for the care of their horses, as well as progressing through the BHS or Diploma qualifications. As part of their equestrian training, pupils are expected to play a full part in the daily running of the Equestrian Centre.
We have an outdoor manege which enables horse riding tuition to continue all year round. Lessons may be both group or private.
For those who do not have their own horse stabled here, there are a number of school horses and ponies available, ranging from 11 to 16 hands high. These are regularly schooled by the staff to enable the students to learn to ride to a proficient level. We cater for a range of students and abilities, including complete beginners, those who wish to ride purely for pleasure, as well as the more serious competitor.
At the Equestrian Centre we can provide numerous opportunities for the students. The British Horse Society Stages provide students with all round care and knowledge of horses including riding, these are internationally recognised qualifications.
We are able to offer BHS Stages at level 1 and 2 in care and riding as well as level 3 Care.
For students who are more suited to continual assessment we are able to provide the Work Based Diploma (EQL) at level 1 and 2. This gives the same level of knowledge as the BHS Stages, but in a different format.
The students have the opportunity to learn at their own pace and we will select the appropriate course to suit each individual. They have an opportunity to use the equestrian centre as work experience due to the time spent on the yard, some have the option to help out with younger students sessions. At this level the student should already have a knowledge of basic Stable Management and be showing a capable level of riding. They will develop their practical skills on the yard as well as their theoretical knowledge. In the Equestrian Centre it is imperative that they learn Health and Safety and communication. They will become more independent within their riding. Being assessed via continual assessment in a more relaxed setting is good practice for the future. The Work Based Diploma gives the students work experience that they can take forward with them in the future. The BHS Stages will give the students a feel for a whole day practical exam, that will feel more relaxed as they build up a rapport during the day with other candidates and the assessors.
The EQL Work Based Diploma is broken down into units, each unit has a practical element and a written theoretical section. When the student is up to standard an external examiner comes in to assess each section, then an overall examiner comes to asses a random selection of units. When each student reaches the required standard they can progress onto the next stage. The Diploma consists of 50% Coursework and 50% Practical work.
For the BHS Stages the training will take place at the equestrian centre and when the candidate is ready they are entered into an exam at an external centre. This can be a whole day exam or split into units to suit. There is also the opportunity to take the Riding and Road Safety exam when necessary. This is 100% exam based.
At GCSE level there is generally 2/3 Equestrian sessions per week, these will be practical, theoretical and riding lessons.
At A Level there will be 3/4 Equestrian sessions per week, these will be practical, theoretical and riding sometimes with the addition of lungeing.
Half termly there will be sessions for the students to recap any areas they are finding difficult to give them extra support.
Each session is structured and planned so the students have an understanding of what they will be covering in each session.
There is time to go through homework in sessions in order to make sure the students understanding is correct. There is someone at the Equestrian Centre everyday if the students need any extra help or support.
Abbotsholme runs its own Pony Club every fortnight, for those aged between 7 and 18, aimed at both pupils within the school and external horse enthusiasts. Members of the Club are able to work towards attaining the Riding and Road Safety test, and other achievement badges as well as the Progressive Riding Tests.
Throughout the holidays the Equestrian Centre remains open and holds many activity days including Own a Pony Days, One Day Event, and Pony Club Camps. In the Summer, there is a choice of two camps for our Pony Club members: one being a four day, and three night camp aimed at the older students; and the other being a mini day camp which consists of two days of riding, badgework and fun. This is ideal for those younger students or those who are less experienced.