[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Dutch equestrian sport is known for its expertise. Dutch riders, carriage drivers, breeders, trainers and horses are dominating the world stage. Over the years, the Dutch have gained the knowledge and expertise in training, veterinary care, nutrition, breeding and equestrian management to perform successfully at world-class level.
How did they get where they are right now? And how do you become a better rider, trainer, groom, veterinarian, farrier or horseman? There are many ways to gain more knowledge, skills and competency, as long as you have the right attitude and intrinsic motivation.
How the Dutch do it
Riders take lessons from professional trainers, and those trainers follow courses at the federation. Farriers attend vocational education for two years. Ambitious non-professional riders follow training programmes, read magazines or learn from other knowledgeable people. Like with any other job, dealing with horses requires skill, knowledge and the right attitude. By allowing yourself to learn, you will improve and develop your knowledge and skills in the equestrian world.
In the Netherlands, there are various educational programmes you are able to follow to start a career in the equestrian sector. If you’re interested in an equestrian career, then perhaps your equestrian career starts in the Netherlands!
Training modules offered at the federation
The Royal Dutch Equestrian Sport (KNHS) federation was founded in 2002 through a fusion of the three original federations, which can be traced back to before the Second World War. The current federation consists of national, regional and county committees to deliver wishes and objectives from several levels and to provide a link between riders and the head office of the KNHS.
The KNHS aims to make the equestrian sport accessible to all 1.2 million Dutch equestrian followers in a pleasant and responsible manner. As for the diversity of disciplines and involvement in the equestrian sport, the KNHS endeavours to be open, respectful, involved and professional towards every person interested in horse sports.
Therefore, they offer a wide range of training modules and courses in different disciplines at approved centres throughout the Netherlands, such as educating horses, first aid, qualifying to be a trainer, masterclasses and riding tests for novice riders.
KNHS offers anything you’re looking for, whether you are looking for a career as a trainer or working towards riding at a higher level.
As we all know, most equestrian-related jobs are very practical, so the biggest representatives of equestrian education are the vocational education institutions.
If you desire a career as a farrier, equine entrepreneur, all-round employee, equine instructor, equine retailer, or if you desire a career in recreation and hospitality, then this is where you need to be.
There are about 14 institutions, some of which have more than one location and offer vocational education from international levels two to four.
As for universities, there are two opportunities for you. One is to become a veterinarian and specialise in equines, and the other one is in animal sciences where you can choose to complete a horse-related specialisation or PhD.
The cost and duration of education vary depending on the programme you choose. Besides structured colleges and certifying programmes, experienced horsemen can also be excellent mentors.
If you would rather go into a mentoring field, you will be educated at a yard and you will be able to get a career as a rider, groom or stable manager. You will dedicate yourself to a certain system for several years.
Other horse-related careers
For those who focus on specific knowledge such as saddle fitting, dentistry and equine therapy, there are a lot of private organisations that offer short courses, clinics and modules. You are able to get a certificate within two years. Most of these organisations are linked to a national or international quality control organisation.
The full article appears in the August issue of HQ: shop now