About the Coach Education Programme


The HSI Coaching Programme is a comprehensive skill based educational programme that focuses on all aspects of equestrian coaching, with horse welfare and rider development to the core.

Originally developed in 1998 by the Equestrian Federation of Ireland (EFI), the HSI coach education system is world-renowned as a professional coach education programme. It has been adopted by several national federations around the world, including the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

Originally implemented by the Equestrian Federation of Ireland Coaching Committee in 1998, now the HSI Coaching Steering Committee, the aim of the programme is to:

  • Establish a practical and professional equestrian coach education system
  • Increase the number of home-grown qualified professional equestrian coaches
  • Maintain a recognised certification system
  • Provide an ongoing educational support system for qualified coaches

Since its foundation, the course has provided an educational pathway for several hundred coaches across all levels of equestrian sport. HSI Coaching courses are delivered across four levels and are fully accredited by Sport Ireland Coaching, the Irish governing body for coaching in all sport.

From the Introduction to Coaching one day course to Level 3, the programme develops candidates’ understanding of modern competition requirements, coaching skills, technical knowledge, and the principles of good horsemanship.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, HSI has worked with a team of HSI Coach Developers as well and national and international experts in Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country in the redevelopment of the Level 1 Coaching course as to serve current industry needs and the requirements of modern equestrian sport.

The new Level 1 course now offers two sperate professional qualifications, The National Performance Coach (NPC) and The National Development Coach (NDC). The NDC qualification is suitable for candidates who wish to become a high performing coach at grassroots level. It is aimed towards all candidates who wish to achieve a reputable and professional qualification and is particularly suitable for Pony Club and Riding Club coaches, as well as those who may be taking their first step into professional coaching.

The NPC Pathway caters for aspiring high-performance coaches who have significant coaching experience and can provide evidence that demonstrates they are currently working with students at the relevant competition standard. Following a period of personal development, candidates completing this pathway can then go forward to Level 2, moving onwards up the coaching ladder.

Both pathways provide candidates with the opportunity to expand their technical knowledge and to practice and deliver coaching sessions under expert guidance, improving and developing their coaching skills at their respective level.

Sport Ireland Coaching

Sport Ireland Coaching has the lead role in the development of coaching on an all-island basis, highlighting the importance of quality coaching in developing our athletes and providing opportunities for participants.

The National Coaching and Training Centre (NCTC) was established in 1994 to cater for both High Performance Athletes and Coach Education Development. The Equestrian Federation of Ireland (EFI), now operated through Horse Sport Ireland (HSI), signed up to the National Coaching Development Programme (NCDP) in 1996 and has been very active in equestrian coach education since that time.

NCTC was rebranded to Coaching Ireland (CI) in 2007 and again to Sport Ireland Coaching (SIC) in 2016 and aims to ensure performers and participants receive the best quality coaching throughout their involvement in sport.

The main objectives of Sport Ireland Coaching are to:

  • Raise the standard, status and profile of coaching in Ireland to provide performers and participants with the best quality coaching through their involvement in sport
  • Lead the development of coaching in Ireland through the implementation of a quality coach and tutor education and support programmes
  • Work in partnership with NGBs and the wider sporting sector on an all-island basis

For more information please contact the HSI Coaching Department on Tel: +353 (0)45 854 533 or email: [email protected]