Re-developed HSI Level 1 Pilot Coaching Course builds on worldwide success

  • 10 December 2021, 12:45

The final assessments of the re-developed HSI Level 1 Coaching Course took place last week at Spruce Lodge training facility, Redcross, Co Wicklow. Twelve candidates took part in this coach education course which has been entirely revamped to serve industry needs and modern equestrian sport requirements.

The Horse Sport Ireland Level 1 coaching course at Spruce Lodge in Wicklow where Coach Developer Heather Coyle delivered a classroom session on the mental fitness of horse and rider Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Accredited by Sport Ireland Coaching, the HSI Coaching Programme is a world-renowned coach education programme originally developed by the Equestrian Federation of Ireland (EFI) in 1998. Since then, the course has provided an educational pathway for several hundred coaches across all levels of equestrian sport, from grassroots to high performance. The programme has been adopted by several National Federations around the world, as well as the Federation Internationale Equestre (FEI).

Throughout 2020 and 2021, HSI has worked with the team of HSI Coach Developers as well as national and international specialists in Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country, to produce a comprehensive and dynamic accredited coach development programme for both active and aspiring coaches. Delivered by an expert team of home-based Coach Developers, the course provided the opportunity for candidates to expand their technical knowledge and deliver practice coaching sessions under expert guidance to improve and develop their coaching skills.

Pictured at the recent HSI Level 1 Pilot Coaching Course at Spruce Lodge Training Centre, Co. Wicklow are assessors (from L-R) Pat Crann, Nicola McLeish and Targa Hammond (UK) and HSI Coach Developers Heather Coyle and Comdt John Ledingham with Course Moderator, Corinne Bracken.

The course now offers two separate pathways: National Performance Coach (NPC) and 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 coaches who wish to achieve a reputable qualification at this level. This pathway is particularly suitable for Pony Club and Riding Club coaches as well as those who may be taking the first step into 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 development, candidates completing this pathway can then go forward to Level 2, moving onwards up the coaching ladder.

The Horse Sport Ireland Level 1 Pilot course at Spruce Lodge in Wicklow. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

The course culminated this week in a series of practical coaching assessments, overseen by independent assessors. There was also a training opportunity run alongside this for assessors and moderators in training. The course moderator was Corinne Bracken who is High Performance Manager for Hong Kong. Corinne has extensive experience in coach education and course development and is an international coach holding the British Show Jumping (BSJ) UKCC Level 4 Coaching qualification, HSI Level 3 Show Jumping certificate and is Programme Manager for the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE).

Speaking about the new programme, Corinne Bracken said:

“This new and innovative qualification caters for not only the aspiring performance coach but recognises and certifies those working in a high performing way with participation riders in Ireland. It was an honour to watch these coaches progress throughout the course.”

Comdt John Ledingham, who delivered the Show Jumping section of this course and is Chairman of the HSI Coaching Technical Committee had this to say about the course:

“It has been very exciting to see this course come to fruition following two years of development. The course is now a comprehensive programme for coach accreditation and entirely relevant for modern day equestrian sport. A huge thank you must go to all involved in the development of the programme and the large team of Coach Developers and very experienced assessors.”

29 October 2021; The Horse Sport Ireland Level 1 Pilot course at Spruce Lodge in Wicklow. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Alison Corbally, HSI Director of Breeding and Programmes said:

“We are very lucky to work with national and international experts in the development and delivery of this exciting HSI Level 1 Coaching programme. It has been a world-renowned programme to date, and has been adopted by the FEI, British Equestrian Federation, Horse Scotland and the Hungarian Equestrian Federation to enhance their respective coaching development. The two pathways now provide an appropriate route for coaches to gain a recognised qualification at all levels. Sincere thanks to the committed HSI Education team and particularly, to Sport Ireland for their support of this HSI Coaching Programme. It is essential that we continue to support the development and lifelong learning of coaches to ensure they can enhance the skill development of riders and participants, towards enjoyment and success in the equestrian industry.”

The next HSI Level 1 Coaching course will begin in April 2021. For further information on the HSI Coaching Programme, requirements and full course dates contact HSI Coaching Administrator Jennifer Diamond Email: Tel 045 854 533  or see

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