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Information & requirements

A BHS Accredited Professional Coach meets the highest professional standards within the industry.

  • Last reviewed: 29th August 2023

As the largest professional body representing equestrian coaches globally, BHS Accredited Professional Coaches create the benchmark for the industry. Join our community to benefit from career guidance and lifelong learning, development and support.

Qualification requirements

The great news is that we accept the minimum coaching qualification as entry to the membership of accredited coaches, so if you hold the Stage 3 in Complete Horsemanship  then we would love for you to join us.

We also recognise and accept: 
  • RDA Senior Instructor or Instructor certificates 
  • Endurance Instructor certificates 
  • Light Harness Horse Instructor certificates 
  • Vaulting Instructor certificates 
  • Mounted police trainers 
  • Jockey coaches 
  • BSPS/BHS Trainers 
  • BET Centre Manager 
  • Ride Leader and Assistant Ride Leader certificates 
  • Side Saddle Association (SSA) Grades A, B and C 
  • S/NVQ Level 3 coaching qualification. 
  • All equestrian UKCC level 2, 3 & 4 

We also accept recommendations from British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping for their top level training specialists. Evidence of these accreditation must be submitted upon application. 

Other requirements

Accredited Professional Coaches are promoted and recognised for having attended regular safeguarding and protecting children courses, being first aid trained, attending regular CPD and, dependant on their country of residence, having a criminal record check. Gold membership is also a requirement of professional membership.

We understand that all these things take time and cost money. However, to make the process a little easier we are offering free Gold membership, safeguarding and protecting children courses as well as free first aid for the duration of your membership. 

We continue to accept the HSE FAW first aid course and the Sports Coach UK Safeguarding course, so if you are required to attend one of these courses instead we will just need to see a copy of your certificate upon application.


The BHS is a proactive organisation and as such is fully committed to providing a safe environment for all individuals involved in equestrian activities: clients and coaches. Effective safeguarding is more than just criminal record checks and involves striking the right balance, so that all people are protected, but that equally, individuals and organisations do not become overly risk averse.

Disclosure and Barring Service – DBS – England and Wales

The revised DBS process does not require self-employed individuals to DBS themselves. However, individuals, such as Accredited Professionals, who are engaged in regulated activity under the affiliation of an organisation, must be DBS checked.  

Regulated activity includes work that involves close and unsupervised contact with vulnerable groups, including children. There are two types of regulated activity; Regulated activity relating to children and regulated activity relating to adults. If an individual falls within either of these categories an organisation may request an Enhanced Check against the respective DBS barred list.  

The BHS feels that all coaches are potentially undertaking regulated activity with children; under the definition of regulated activity relating to adults, it's unlikely that a coach would actually fall into this category, even if they never teach children. The BHS, as a responsible organisation who is committed to safeguarding, will continue to require all professional coaches to undergo DBS checks. They will also need to update their safeguarding training every three years to maintain their registered status. In simple terms, this means that if you are a Accredited Professional Coach you will need to hold a current DBS certificate, which has been sent to the BHS offices so we can ensure you are safe to work with children.  

Please Note: The BHS are only able to accept DBS certificates that are linked to the DBS update service. This is due to DBS checks being role specific and they may be interpreted differently depending on the organisation that has requested the check. Please contact the BHS if you have signed up to the DBS Update Service.  

Scottish Coaches

As a freelance coach you need to decide whether the work you are doing is considered to be 'regulated work' and requires a PVG Check. If you are working with private clients under the age of 18 in their own homes, on a freelance basis you will be required to complete a PVG check. Freelance instructors who have not yet joined the PVG Scheme but need to can obtain a scheme membership statement directly from disclosure Scotland at a cost of £59. Under the PVG scheme parents may choose to check whether you are barred from working with children, this is through their right to be able to access a disclosure as personal employers.

If you work in ‘regulated work’ for another organisation, as well as your freelance work, you will be able to access a scheme record or scheme record update through your employer. This is a higher level check and in most instances will be easier than applying for a scheme membership statement as an individual. It will also provide a link between you and your employer. If your employer would like further information please ask them to contact the BHS using the details below.  

For more information please see the BHS guide on  Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme information for Accredited Professional Coaches.  

Don’t forget to let us know once you are a PVG scheme member, so we can keep the details with your Accredited Professional Coach record.  

Irish Coaches

Access NI checks for Accredited Professional Coaches in Northern Ireland


Each applicant will need to complete:

  • BHS Pre-application form (link to doc)
  • Pin Notification and ID validation form (link to doc)
  • Identity Documents

Checking Documents

Please Email or WhatsAPP a copy of each document. WhatsAPP is secure. 

BHS Ireland will then arrange a face to face chat – WhatsApp is the preferred option or an online meeting via Microsoft Teams.


Before you apply online there is a cost of £33 which goes to the Pony Club Area 17 as they are acting as an Umbrella Body and processing the applications for the BHS.

The BHS Ireland Paypal account is or pay directly to The British Horse Society NI Region Bank Account – Sort Code 95-01-22 and Account No: 82792184

Next steps

Once that is all done then you get the pin number to apply online.  The current Access NI turnaround time seems to be around 3 to 4 days.

Apply online for an enhanced check through a registered body | nidirect


For more information please contact:

Susan Spratt

BHS Manager for Northern Ireland & Republic of Ireland


First aid

If you are in any doubt about the first aid course you are considering undertaking, please contact the BHS Education Team for advice on 02476 840508 or

Please note: BHS courses in Ireland are organised by BHS Ireland and in Scotland by BHS Scotland.

What does the BHS accept for first aid?

For the purpose of the BHS Accredited Professional Coach membership, BHS assessments and the UKCC taken through the BHS, we accept the following: 

  • A three-day initial FAW course that meets the HSE criteria and guidelines as specified above 
  • A two-day refresher FAW course that meets the HSE criteria and guidelines as specified above 
  • A two-day initial BHS First Aid course presented by Skillbase and booked through the BHS 
  • A one-day refresher BHS First Aid course presented by Skillbase and booked through the BHS 
  • An Ofqual accredited Level 3 certificate where the course has been run over three days. 
  • A First Aid Response Exam run under the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) 

Please note: in order to ensure that our customers are receiving the necessary first aid training for working within the equestrian industry and for the Professional Coach membership and our qualifications, if the certificate you provide does not provide enough detail about the course you have attended we may contact you for further information. 

What do the BHS not accept?
  • The one-day emergency first aid certificate or any one-day first aid courses.
  • Any first aid courses that do not match the above criteria or any other industry specific courses. 

Continual Professional Development

Once you join as a professional coach, we would like you to obtain 6 CPD points Continuous Professional Development (CPD) annually to ensure that you are at the front of any foresight and thinking within the equestrian industry.  

As an Accredited Professional Coach you will now have access to unlimited BHS accredited CPD within the BEF allowing you many fantastic opportunities to attend training days that will help you grow as a coach but also ensure that you deliver the very best information to your clients. 


Coaches who are resident overseas are listed under this category, which does not provide insurance cover. These coaches are required to hold an equivalent First Aid at Work Certificate. 

Code of Conduct

All members of the Accredited Professional Coaches are required to abide by a Code of Conduct, which will both safeguard their interests and those of the general public.

Join us today

If you would like to find out more about our Accredited Professionals programme, please submit an enquiry form and one of our team will contact you shortly. Alternatively, you can call our Accredited Professionals Team on 02476 840565 or email us at

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