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Equine Interview Information

Frequently Asked Questions (scroll down for Ride Assessment Information)

Do I need a ride assessment at my interview?

If you have applied to FdSc or FdA, please come dressed suitably for a ride assessment.

However, if you have applied for BSc but have been predicted or have grades lower than those required for entry, please come dressed for a ride assessment as you may be offered an alternative level of course.


What should I wear to the interview?

Smart/casual but please consider the weather and campus terrain. Please wear suitable footwear and outerwear as you will be given a campus tour.

For a riding assessment, please wear jodhpurs, short or long riding boots and a suitable sweatshirt or jumper. For your own safety, please refrain from wearing any jewellery (you will be asked to remove any items worn).


Do I need to bring anything with me to the interview?

If you will be having a riding assessment you need to bring your own, current standard riding hat and gloves.

If you already hold a Level 3 qualification, please either scan and email this to prior to your interview or bring a copy along to your interview and hand it in at reception for the attention of Julie Isherwood.


How long will my interview/tour take?

You will be at the College between 3 and 4 hours (depending on whether or not you are required to do the riding assessment, and also the number of other students in attendance).


What is the Interview Agenda?

You will have a face to face interview with the tutor and be given a course overview. The interview may also include a ride assessment (see below).


Tutor contact number/email address in case of query

Charlotte Brigden 01995 642222 ext 2355 or email


What if I need to leave early?

If you speak with the tutor on arrival at reception, it may be possible for you to be interviewed earlier than the other candidates. Please note this would only be possible in exceptional circumstances.


HE Equine Ride Assessment

Candidates for FdSc & FdA will be assessed by a minimum of two British Horse Society (BHS) accredited instructors. The standard you are expected to meet varies according to the course for which you have applied (please see below). You may be asked to retire from the riding assessment at any time if your riding standard is seen to pose a significant threat to your own safety and welfare, or to that of the horse.   After the riding session you will be given the result of your assessment during your individual interview, which will be supplemented with a copy of the result form that will be sent to you after the interview day.  Unsuccessful candidates may be considered for a second assessment if it is considered that they may be able to reach the required standard in sufficient time.

FdSc Equine Science in Industry

Candidates must be able to ride independently in a safe and secure position. The assessment will require candidates to ride as a group, to walk, trot and canter on both reins under instruction. Riding is not a compulsory aspect of the FdSc, so a successful ride interview is not a pre-requisite for entry to the course.  If it is considered that a non-riding option would be more suitable for you, or your own preference, this will be discussed at interview.

FdA Equestrian Practice and Technology

The FdA Equestrian Practice and Technology ride assessment is appraised according to BHS Stage Two criteria (outlined below in table one). Candidates must meet these criteria in order to successfully gain a place on the course.

Candidates will be allocated a horse and will ride on the flat demonstrating an ability to ride the horse forward at the correct speed for each gait, showing appropriate independent balance, depth and security of position, applying the correct aids for canter leads and school figures. Candidates will be expected to be able to ride with an appropriate length of rein both with and without stirrups, and with the reins in one hand. The horse should be ridden forward in good rhythm. It is important that riders ride from the leg to a receiving hand and do not pull back with the hand to try to create a false outline in the horse. The rider should ride in harmony with their horses. This means the horses should not be upset by the rider’s methodology and become resistant. Building up a rapport with the horse means the rider must be able to recognise if a horse requires praise or admonishment, and must use frequent praise and only chastise when absolutely necessary.


For the first stage of the assessment candidate will ride as a group to walk, trot and canter on both reins. Only those who are considered safe and competent to do so will proceed to the second stage.

During the second stage candidates will be given the brief to work independently to improve their horse’s way of going and will be expected to incorporate a suitable range of exercises in order to achieve the brief.

Table 1: Assessment Criteria for the British Horse Society Stage 2


1. Be able to ride horses with a secure, independent and balanced position in walk, trot and canter, with and without stirrups

1.1 Walk, trot and canter with stirrups with a secure, independent and balanced position showing an ability to ride forward from leg to hand

1.2 Ride with balance in walk, trot and canter

1.3 Ride with ‘suppleness’ through the hip, knee and ankle joints in walk, trot and canter

1.4 Ride using the correct diagonals in trot

1.5 Walk, trot and canter without stirrups with a secure, independent and balanced position showing an ability to ride from leg to hand


2. Be able to apply natural and artificial ‘aids’ for riding horses in an enclosed area

2.1 Prepare for and carry out school movements, maintaining the horse’s rhythm and balance#

2.2 Use co-ordinated aids for riding transitions and school figures

2.3 Maintain a suitable rein contact for the work undertaken

2.4 Utilise natural and artificial aids as required

2.5 Use co-ordinated aids for riding with the reins in one hand

2.6 Use co-ordinated aids to prepare for and ensure a correct canter lead


3. Be able to ride horses in harmony and in conjunction with others using the area

3.1 Show respect for the horse and build up a rapport when riding

3.2 Abide by the rules of the school when riding with others in closed and open order