Programme Aim

The aim of this programme is to enable the learner to develop the knowledge, skills and competence in a broad range of equine skills to work in a variety of equine sectors under supervision, or progress to further education or training.

In North Connaught College of Further Education, Tubbercurry, Sligo  students will be facilitated to explore Horsemanship with a view to re-skilling/up-skilling and exploring concepts and subject areas that may interest the learner in future programmes or employment.

Students will gain vast practical experience in the areas of:

• Stable and Yard Routine
• Young Horse Training Techniques
• Equine Anatomy and Physiology
• Sport Horse Riding

Other areas of study include:

• Communications

Work experience is also a core feature of the Horsemanship programme with students spending time in an equine setting. This facilitates the enhancement of employability and transversal skills.

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Programme Progression

On completion of this programme learners will have the skills, knowledge and competencies in a broad range of equine skills to work as an assistant in a variety of equine sectors, including riding schools, studs, competition stables, livery stables, young horse training and dealing yards.

The training received from the Level 5 course would also prepare the learner for the British Horse Society (BHS) Stages 1 and 2 exams and the Stage 2 Teach. By taking the BHS exams the learner would have internationally recognised qualifications.

There is also the option to progress onto the Horsemanship level 6 course at North Connaught College or further education or training.

Entry Requirements

  • Education: No formal education or qualifications are required although applicants may have participated in primary and secondary education. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate a standard of knowledge, skill and competence equivalent to NFQ Level 5 when accessing a Level 6 programme.
  • Aptitude: Applicants must have a motivation to learn, an interest in the subject and the ability to acquire the knowledge, skills and competencies set out in the course.
  • Previous Experience: Applicants must be able to demonstrate a broad range of knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to the course and be able to exercise initiative and independence when carrying out course activities.

Course Content

Title Award Awarding Body
Work Experience Work Experience (5N1356) QQI
Communications Level 5 Communications (5N0690) QQI
Stable And Yard Routine Stable & Yard Routine (5N3355) QQI
Young Horse Training Techniques Young Horse Training Techniques (5N3357) QQI
Equine Anatomy And Physiology Equine Anatomy & Physiology (5N3360) QQI
Sport Horse Riding Instruction Sport Horse Riding Instruction (5N3362) QQI

Further Details

Below is a more detailed description of each of the Components

Stable & Yard Routine

Examine the different types of feed and rules of feeding and watering. Explain the functions of nutrients in the diet and supplements. Discuss a range of aspects of grooming, padding and bandages, saddles, nosebands and martingales. Describe common foot problems in horses and forms of treatment, and also general health issues with horses. Discuss the various types of shelters and fencing available for use with horses kept on grass. Be able to demonstrate how to deal with the areas above.

Young Horse Training Techniques

The purpose of this component is to enable the learner to train young horses under supervision. Examine the risks involved in handling young horses and the importance of implementing safe working practices. Discuss a training programme for a young horse. Explain and explore sequences of paces and walk, trot and canter and recommended exercises. Show competence in lunging. Procedures for jumping over trot poles and small fences.

Sport Horse Riding

This component will prepare the student to handle a horse safely both on the ground and when being ridden on the flat, on the road and over jumps. The student will gain knowledge of how to ride and school a variety of horses in harmony, enhancing the horse’s natural beauty and elegance.

Equine Anatomy & Physiology

The purpose of this component is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to understand the structure and functions of the horses body. Examine the difference between anatomy and physiology with emphasis on the roles of cells, tissues and organs. Investigate the skeletal system. Outline the functions and locations of the muscles, ligaments and tendons on a horse. Examine the following systems, circulatory and lymphatic systems, respiratory system, digestive system. Explain breeding cycle.


One of our most important components, whether in the workplace or in a college environment it is essential to be able to transfer knowledge in a clear and concise way and also to be aware of the different types of communication. The component covers both written and practical aspects of communication and gives learners practice and confidence for public speaking which is very important for the third level where presentations are compulsory.

Work Experience

Students must find work experience in a suitable equine setting. Work experience classes prepare the student to apply for work placement and future work by learning skills, producing a cover letter, CV and interview techniques. Students will also gain an understanding of their own skills and qualities, as well as how to document their learning during placement. This is an essential component for anybody wishing to prepare for or return to the workplace.