Equestrian training programme – level 4

The Festina Lente  Equestrian Training Programme is a 3-year full time vocational training programme which enables the learner to develop the knowledge, skills and competence in a broad range of equine skills which will enable the student to work in a variety of equine sectors.  

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


No. You do not need previous experience with horses to do this course.

No. You do not need previous horse-riding experience to do this course however it is an advantage.

This is a three-year full time vocational training course.

Monday – Thursday 9am – 4.30pm Friday 9am – 3pm.

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

There is an ongoing intake, this means that as places become available during the year you can start.

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 Sabrina Tierney on Tel: 01-272 0704 (ext.207) or at sabrina.tierney@festinalente.ie if you have a question about your eligibility.

Complete the application form found here


contact our Training Programme Manager Sabrina Tierney on Tel: 0879633348

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.

You will be invited to an informal interview with the Training Manager. If you are successful with your interview 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.

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.

If you successfully complete all of the modules you will receive a QQI Level 4 Major Award in Horsemanship. Your keyworker will work with you during your final year to support you with your transition plan whether that is to go on to further training, employment or other. There are opportunities for you to progress within Festina Lente onto the Level 5 Major Award in Horsemanship.

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.

Yes.You take compulsory leave at Christmas, Easter & Summer (total 25 days)

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 trainees to wear navy in line with the Festina Lente uniform.

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

Please contact our Training Programme Manager Sabrina Tierney on 0879633348 or at sabrina.tierney@festinalente.ie Funding for this project is made available through KWETB.

H & S is paramount in Festina Lente. Currently all students are engaged in remote working, When on-site strict procedures are adopted to include:

  • All coaches and clients wear masks
  • All equipment is sanitized in between sessions
  • Social distancing rules apply
  • Hands are continually washed and sanitized with sanitising stations throughout the yard and site area