Therapeutic Coaching Programme 

Therapeutic Coaching Programme

Irelands Pioneering

QQI Level 6 Certification

Therapeutic Coaching Course

Course  Overview

The aim of this highly interactive course is to equip participants with the skills and knowledge required to enable them to work as a Therapeutic Riding Coach. 

The course uses Equine based learning techniques together with knowledge of disability to design and develop learning and therapeutic interventions for people with special needs. 

  • Human and Equine Learning
  •  Understanding Disability
  • An appreciation of Therapeutic Riding and its impact
  • Designing Therapeutic Riding Sessions
  • Teaching/Evaluating Therapeutic Riding Sessions. Objectives of this course: After completing this course participants will be able to:
  •  Recognise principles of human and equine learning and apply them to the design and delivery of effective Therapeutic Riding Sessions.
  •  Demonstrate an understanding of disability as well as recognising the symptoms and indications of a variety of disabilities and devise appropriate therapeutic sessions to compliment them.
  • Scope the broad areas of Therapeutic Riding – its benefits and limitations, as well as effectively use a variety of techniques in the care and deployment of the Therapeutic Horse.
  • Design, teach and evaluate clinically sound and therapeutic equine sessions and activities.
  • Effectively manage Personnel involved in Therapeutic Riding sessions and successfully administer the Therapeutic Riding Process.
  • Develop a fundraising application and/or marketing proposal for Therapeutic Riding.

Training Approach 

This is a highly interactive course demanding the full energy and attention of learners and tutors alike. There are a variety of lectures involved who bring their expertise and experience of their particular discipline. 

Participants will be involved in practical sessions with horses throughout the course in order to ensure maximum experiential learning. 

Each module will have an effective balance between classroom work and practical application of techniques.Tutor Input, case studies, video, DVDs, course notes, discussion and practical exercises and work experience will be used appropriately throughout the course. The learning environment will be interactive, participative and fun. 

 During Modules learners will be exposed to a variety of competencies required for effective performance in the area covered by the Module and they will also be shown the performance standards expected at assessment. 

Learner Profile 

This course will be of interest to those who have experience in Horsemanship and an interest in applying this skill to working with people with special needs. Therapeutic riding lessons can be offered to clients either in a specialised equestrian business or as an addition to their client lesson choices in a Riding School. 

The course will also be of interest to those who currently work with people with special needs who demonstrate an aptitude for Horsemanship and a desire to integrate the two areas for training and development purposes. 

Course information

The following entry requirements apply: 

  • 21 years of age or over 
  • A current First Aid/CPR Certificate or a commitment to complete a suitable course during the first 3 months of the course 
  • BHS 2 or Pony Club B or equivalent experience 
  • Proven experience/interest in working with people with special needs 
  • Participants must confirm that they have access to a stable yard/facility in which to practice between Modules Accreditation. 
  • Student must have basic IT word processing and email skills e.g. google document or Microsoft word to write and submit assignments 

The cost of the Training Programme is €2030, payable in full, no later then 6 weeks before course commencement . Please note cost includes Protection of enrolled learner Insurance. See:

If your application is successful and you are offered a place on the course – you will be sent a link to pay a non-refundable deposit of €250 to secure your place.  Festina Lente CLG Ltd is a registered charity and therefore cannot offer credit, so please do not ask.

The course will be delivered over 6 modules by a variety of tutors and speakers with specialist skills and experience over 18 days at Festina Lente, Co. Wicklow.

There will also be self-directed learning, assignments to be completed between modules along with continuous assessment.  

There are  3 QQI Level 6 Component Modules of Accreditation which must be achieved to receive the Therapeutic Coaching Certification Award.

Modules Included

QQI Level 6 Coaching Models of Practice – 6N3087 

QQI Level 6 Disability Awareness – 6N1975 

QQI Level 6 Personal & Professional Development – 6N1949 

Please follow the link for Full Details 

Institute for Animal Care Education (IACE) Accreditation 

Our Therapeutic Riding Coach Certification Course is fully accredited with the Institute for Animal Care Education (IACE).

The Institute for Animal Care Education is an international organisation founded in 1996. Born through the ANIMAL CARE COLLEGE, and with a large contingent of Charter members, the Institute’s mission is to provide a governing body within the animal care sector focused on establishing high standards of education within animal welfare industry. 


The Institute’s objectives 

  • To promote and support high standards of quality in education and educational opportunities within the animal care industry throughout the world. 
  • To be an awarding body for approved courses within the animal care sector. 
  • The significance of this lies in the validation of our explicit consideration of the welfare of horses as part of this course. You will receive a certificate from them as part of your overall accreditation when you finish your training. 

“I found this course to be invaluable in many aspects. I gained an insight into the invaluable role of the horse when working with both children and adults with special needs and various levels and types of abilities. This included the selection, training and maintenance of the horse in all regards, and especially in relation to therapeutic horse riding.

The course afforded me an opportunity to gain an understanding of various disabilities and how best to construct and evaluate therapeutic riding lessons which were interactive, progressive, individualised, and fun for participants.

Topics on the course ranged from equine selection to risk assessment, insurance, safety and well-being, record keeping and various policy and procedures. The course was excellently coordinated, with the syllabus being very comprehensive and detailed and containing an equal balance of both theory and practise.

The various tutors were leaders in their areas of expertise and were informative, constructive, enlightening and approachable at all times. The location of the course was ideal, and enabled practical sessions to be observed, constructed and completed on-site, and gave course participants the opportunity for experiential learning throughout the duration of the course.

The fellow participants on the course ensured an excellent reflexive learning experience and provided an excellent network of support to each other ,which continues to remain in place. This course has given me the knowledge, confidence, competence and qualification to undertake the role of a therapeutic horse riding coach.”

Mary (Therapeutic Riding Coach Certification Course Graduate)

I live in the south of France where I am currently a Riding Instructor and a Therapeutic Riding Coach.  I already had experience with horses when I developed an interest in Therapeutic Riding. A friend of mine who had attended one of Festina Lente’s annual conferences informed me that Festina Lente were creating a Therapeutic Riding Coach training course. 

This training course gave me solid theoretical and practical grounds and was led by a competent and experienced teaching team, as well as brilliant speakers.  Festina Lente’s team of coaches shared their extended experience and knowledge in the domain of Therapeutic Riding, providing me with all the necessary tools to become a confident and skilled Therapeutic Riding Coach.
The sensory trail impressed me the most, as I think it is an amazing and limitless tool in Therapeutic Riding, opening people up to nature. 

Festina Lente’s interest and knowledge in horse welfare is also remarkable, and proof that it is possible to have a profitable riding center and happy, healthy horses. The horse isn’t considered as a slave working for us but as a partner working with us in helping people with special needs.  The Therapeutic Riding Coach training course at Festina Lente was an enlightening experience.” 


Marina (Therapeutic Riding Coach Certification Course Graduate) 

Please note that learners must attend at least 17 days of the 18 days across the modules. In the event that more than one day is missed from any of the modules, learners will be required to repeat the day/s the following year which may delay official graduation from the programme.

Therapeutic practice or assessment sessions can be done in Festina Lente Equestrian Centre where volunteers, leaders and equine are provided but there is a fee of €45 per session, the same charge applies to rescheduled assessments.