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Equestrian Training Programme

The Festina Lente Equestrian Training Programme is a 3 year full time practical & academic course which enables the learner to develop the knowledge, skills and competence in a broad range of equine skills to work in a variety of equine sectors.

Successful graduates will be awarded a QQI level 4 Major Award in Horsemanship.

What will I learn on this training programme?

On the Equestrian Training Programme you will learn about:

  • Handling horses in a safe way
  • Daily stable and yard tasks
  • Caring for horses and feeding of horses
  • How horses behave and why based on the latest Equitation Science Research
  • The equipment used when working with and riding horses
  • How to work as part of a team and communicate with others
  • The skills necessary to ride competently
  • Horse Riding Lessons

Course Qualifications

If you successfully complete all the modules offered on the programme you will receive a QQI level 4 Major Award in Horsemanship.

The QQI level 4 modules available on the programme are:

Stable & Yard Routine
This module is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to care for and maintain horses under supervision.

Workplace Safety
This module is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to appreciate the importance of workplace safety. It is designed to develop skills in handling workplace items and safety equipment safely and effectively.

Communications
This module is to equip the learner with the relevant knowledge, skill and competence to communicate verbally and non-verbally in routine everyday tasks, and in work-related tasks while under supervision.

Work Experience
This module is to equip the learner with the relevant knowledge, skill and competence to participate in the workplace for a limited time and to carry out work-related tasks while under supervision.

Horse Riding
This module is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to ride an experienced horse in a balanced position in harmony with the horse in an enclosed area.

Personal Effectiveness
This module is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to use a range of personal and learning skills in a variety of personal, civic and vocational contexts, operating with some autonomy while under direction.

There is also an opportunity to receive a British Horse Society qualification if you wish to do so. The programme team will help you to decide what you want to do when you finish your training.

How do I know if I am eligible to do the course?

If you are over 16 years of age, are physically able for the demands of the course and are on a disability allowance you are eligible for the programme. If you are not on disability allowance but have a learning disability or another health issue you may still be able to take part. Contact the Training Programme Manager if you have a question about your eligibility.

All applicants must be registered with SOLAS (formally FAS).

You do not need experience with horses to take part on this programme but you must enjoy working outdoors in all weathers in a physical job.

When does the programme start?

There is an ongoing intake on this programme. That means that as places become available during the year people can start immediately.

How can I apply?

Complete the application form found here or contact our  acting Training Programme Manager Sabrina Tierney on Tel: 01-272 0704 (ext.207) to get an application form posted out.

Please note that all applicants must have received a tetanus injection. Please ask your GP to complete this form, click here to download Tetanus Vaccination Record for your GP to sign.

What happens when I apply for the programme?

You will have an informal interview with our Training Programme Manager. Depending on your eligibility you may also need to meet with a SOLAS Department of Social Protection Case Officer. If you are eligible for the programme and there is a place available you will be offered an orientation week. This gives the instructors an opportunity to get to know you and gives you a chance to sample the programme and see how you like it. After the orientation week a place on the programme may be offered.

Are there exams or assessments on the programme?

Assessments take place on an on-going basis. Assessments can be in the form of projects, portfolios or skills demonstrations. There are some written exams but they are accessible for people with literacy needs and support can be provided as appropriate.

Will I do a work experience placement as part of the programme?

Yes. All students have an opportunity to complete one work experience placement during each academic year.

Will I learn to horse ride?

Horse riding is one the QQI FETAC modules offered and lessons are available to trainees as part of their training week. In the interests of horse welfare there is a rider weight limit of 13.5 stone.  For those riders who may exceed this we offer alternate equine related activities including long-lining, lunging and equine related care activities.

Do I get paid?

If you are already on a disability allowance or another social welfare payment you will receive a SOLAS training allowance. Your eligibility for disability allowance will not be affected by participating on the programme. You may also qualify for a meal allowance or a rent allowance payment. The payment you receive depends on your age and the current payment you receive, you will need to discuss this with the Training Programme Manager.

Do I get holidays?

Yes.  Compulsory leave at Christmas, Easter & Summer (total 25 days)

Do I need any equipment or clothing to take part on the course?

You will need to wear strong shoes or boots and jeans. Tracksuit bottoms or hoodies are not permitted. Clothing requirements are dependent on weather: rain jackets and rain trousers during wet weather, warm clothing during the winter, sun-cream and a hat during the summer. Riding hats, boots and body protectors are available in the training centre if you do not have riding gear for the orientation week. Once accepted on the Programme, it is compulsory for all trainees to buy and wear the Festina Lente uniform, their own riding hats and boots.

Is there accommodation available?

Festina Lente does not provide accommodation but it may be possible to put you in touch with accommodation options.

Where can I get more information?

Please contact our acting Training Programme Manager Sabrina Tierney on 01-272 0704 (ext.207)

Funding for this project is made available through KWETB