France to impose certificate of knowledge

paddy555

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it might be a good thing for people to see just how complicated looking after horses can be first time around, before they jump, and consider other options other than taking on a huge commitment and a lot of expense

and give them time to consider learning more about horse management before frightening themselves or being disillusioned about horse ownership
I got my first horse when I was 19, I had no management training but I didn't find it complicated, frightening and I wasn't disillusioned. We seem to be making it into something so complicated.

I do see that pointing out the costs of insurance/vets bills may be sensible plus getting it vetted before you buy plus making sure you are getting a suitable horse not one that is doped or is going to chuck you off when you get it home plus making sure you are not overhorsed and are realistic about your ability.
The main problem that seems to come up time after time is buying the right horse not a problem one or a potentially poorly one. I don't think that is taught in any BHS stage 1.
 

Mule

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This would be a concern of mine. Frankly my horse keeping standards are, in most people's eyes, appalling. Dirty yard, dirty beds, dusty barn, horses not seeing a brush other than on the saddle patch from one end of the month to the next, food soaked in ways that are described as dangerous. And yet my horses see a vet for management related issues less than any others I know of 🤷

ETA I am not boasting or proud of this, just saying it as I know other people view it.
A fellow non groomer :D
 

sunnyone

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Hmm. The French are renowned for having a law and then finding a way round it. Just recently the gendarmes did a routine stop of a driver in a nice posh car; they discovered that he had been driving for 31 years without a licence. Presumably the car was not in his name and it's the vehicle that is insured, not the driver. But he's a doctor!
Currently there is no law ( that the local gendarmes know about) that will let them intervene in for a donkey being crippled by untrimmed hooves, nor does my farrier know who can intervene. Police attitude was it had to be a beating to be cruelty.
It's unlikely the French will insist on horses being shod as the current system is that competitions are held on sand deliberately to enable the unshod to compete. The sand often gets removed after the shows.
The second element of the French law will be to speed unpaid livery debts through the tribunal de justice (small claims court). I recently had to do this for a non-delivered internet purchase. It took 18 months to get a full refund. Imagine if the debt had been for keeping a horse.
 

RachelFerd

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so would there be a similar entry level course for all animals? why just horses? I have kept dogs, cats, goats, cows, pigs and others. Each animal is different. If this is done for horse welfare it should be done for other animals. They have very different needs specific to each species. Alpacas for example, now a very common pet.

Can you explain what it is that the people you witness don't understand that can be taught at a basic level? I am lost on that. Are you saying that people really do not know how to put a saddle, bridle on and lead a horse. Why does everyone need to learn to muck out a stable? As for grooming there are no set rules. A very experienced poster told us earlier they brush the saddle patch and bridle area. I often do the same.

I am all for wiping out cruelty, I am very keen on it, I have taken on a number of rescues over the years that were in that position due to cruelty, extreme cruelty. However whatever test or training you have is not going to wipe out that sort of ill treatment. If we want to do something for horse welfare that is where we should be concentrating our efforts.

Would you have the course/test for everyone? or grandfather rights?
would you really take some of the most competent horse owners in the country and expect them to do this? or just people new to entering into horse ownership? some don't even need to know the contents of BHS stage 1 care. For example the owners of semi feral ponies. The ponies are not stabled, not handled, certainly never tacked up or rugged. Would you make them go on a course?

I simply cannot see the point of this. There is a lot of free info out there for people to learn from, there are BHS courses if they want to learn that method of horse keeping and no doubt other methods teaching their way of management, If people want to learn they will learn. If they don't well telling the the BHS method of grooming a horse is not going to make the do it that way.
I'd agree with having licensing for ownership of any animal - cats, dogs, the lot. Too many people out there own animals without understanding how to meet their animal's basic needs.

I witness people taking on horses that do not know how to put on a headcollar. That are intending to ride but have no idea how to put their tack on. Don't understand how to safely approach and catch a horse in the field. Have no idea that they should use the same farrier on a regular basis (!!!) Witnessed someone the other day who thought their horse was colicking because it was 'so sweaty' - when instead all that had happened is that it had been turned out in the rain without a rug (fat cob). These are the people that are so naive they have no idea how much they don't know. They shouldn't be in this position, but they are.

I don't think testing and licenses will remove pure intentional cruelty, but I think you could do a lot to remove a lot of the unintentional cruelty which happens through ignorance or a lack of understanding.

I'm sure there would be simple ways of ensuring that people with prior knowledge could get a dispensation or some kind of accredited prior learning.

As for people who 'dont need to know the contents of BHS stage 1' - I disagree. You may choose to keep your ponies in a semi feral way, but you should at least KNOW and UNDERSTAND expectations around stable management, grass management, feeding, handling and emergency care. If you don't need to use it, that's then a valid choice.

Looking at the Stage 1 syllabus (https://pathways.bhs.org.uk/media/2025/stage-1-care-qualification-structure-090919.pdf) I think you could cut out the parts about working on a yard and about tacking up... retain the sections on stabling, grooming, behaviour and health, rugs, handling and feeding and watering. Possibly add a little bit more on 'when to call the vet/emergency care' ... the grooming syllabus is not about presenting a horse for show, it is about basic foot care, checking for injuries and understanding what all the bits of grooming kit can be used for. That's not a crazy BHS ideology about grooming - it is just some sensible basic knowledge. The BHS are perfectly happy for people to scrub the mud off where the tack goes and carry on!

I think there's a bit of wild overreaction here to what is a really sensible idea.
 

Orangehorse

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That seems a bit of a stretch TID2022!
I don’t think getting a basic sign off (that then can be used as evidence you ought to know better) would be a bad thing. Their competition world is pretty different to ours but I think increased structure (on what’s already more structured than us) can only be a good thing.
I'm pretty much sure that in France you have to have a certificate of competance to ride in a competition.
 

tristar

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I got my first horse when I was 19, I had no management training but I didn't find it complicated, frightening and I wasn't disillusioned. We seem to be making it into something so complicated.

I do see that pointing out the costs of insurance/vets bills may be sensible plus getting it vetted before you buy plus making sure you are getting a suitable horse not one that is doped or is going to chuck you off when you get it home plus making sure you are not overhorsed and are realistic about your ability.
The main problem that seems to come up time after time is buying the right horse not a problem one or a potentially poorly one. I don't think that is taught in any BHS stage 1.
i`ve seen plenty who have had it go wrong first time around, and other times around for that matter

i was also thinking about the lady who assured the farrier,`` i will have him shod every year`` and oh the extra expense may come as a shock, no?
 

EventingMum

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Basic professional knowledge in the UK and Switzerland that has been proved absolutely wrong in my lifetime, just off the top of my head.


Haylage is bad for laminitis (the right haylage is lower sugar and can be better than hay made from the same grass. )

I have argued this so many times with people convinced that all haylage is sugar-laden rocket fuel and feeding weedy, dusty hay is preferable.
 

paddy555

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I'd agree with having licensing for ownership of any animal - cats, dogs, the lot. Too many people out there own animals without understanding how to meet their animal's basic needs.

I witness people taking on horses that do not know how to put on a headcollar. That are intending to ride but have no idea how to put their tack on. Don't understand how to safely approach and catch a horse in the field. Have no idea that they should use the same farrier on a regular basis (!!!) Witnessed someone the other day who thought their horse was colicking because it was 'so sweaty' - when instead all that had happened is that it had been turned out in the rain without a rug (fat cob). These are the people that are so naive they have no idea how much they don't know. They shouldn't be in this position, but they are.


I am incredulous that someone buying a horse has not tacked up at their local riding school. Are there really so many who cannot put a headcollar on? When I was a student I had a summer job on a trekking centre. We had around 80 riders. Many beginners and a lot of novices. By around day 2 most could put the simple saddle and bridle on. It didn't take much to teach them. By the middle of day 1 when we stopped for lunch they had worked out how to get the bridle off and the halter on. A course may teach you how to approach the perfect horse in a field, it is experience that will teach you how to approach and catch the more difficult one. No one has to use the same farrier as as for the colic I do sympathise. I had the same. Unrugged horse, very wet and when he came in he was sweaty and questionable if he had colic. He did, he had mild colic so well done to someone noticing a sweaty horse and wondering if it was OK. Better to notice than not. Experience again teaches you about colic even those of us with many horses don't always recognise it. I called my vet for a questionable horse. Didn't know if it had colic, was tied up or as the vet said on arrival was lame. Blood tests ruled out tie up, not lame and afterwards the vet couldn't even decide if it had been colic so not always easy.



I don't think testing and licenses will remove pure intentional cruelty, but I think you could do a lot to remove a lot of the unintentional cruelty which happens through ignorance or a lack of understanding.

I'm sure there would be simple ways of ensuring that people with prior knowledge could get a dispensation or some kind of accredited prior learning.


no way of verifying prior knowledge. It should get amusing if you send some of the top riders or indeed many experienced long time owners on courses to learn how to rug and groom horses.



As for people who 'dont need to know the contents of BHS stage 1' - I disagree. You may choose to keep your ponies in a semi feral way, but you should at least KNOW and UNDERSTAND expectations around stable management, grass management, feeding, handling and emergency care. If you don't need to use it, that's then a valid choice.

I personally don't but I was referring to the many owners of feral ponies. Why would they need to know this? the content would be irrelevant to them. What they need to know is how to ride a quad bike to gather them, how to drive them into a yard, how to drive them through a cattle crush and how to drive them into a trailer to either the zoo or the sales. Emergency care will most likely be a bullet and most of them have firearms certificates. Why on earth would they need to know how to groom when you cannot get within yards of these ponies:D A total waste of time for these people.

These semi feral owners are just on example of the pointlessness of this. I am sure there are other similar groups.





Looking at the Stage 1 syllabus (https://pathways.bhs.org.uk/media/2025/stage-1-care-qualification-structure-090919.pdf) I think you could cut out the parts about working on a yard and about tacking up... retain the sections on stabling, grooming, behaviour and health, rugs, handling and feeding and watering. Possibly add a little bit more on 'when to call the vet/emergency care' ... the grooming syllabus is not about presenting a horse for show, it is about basic foot care, checking for injuries and understanding what all the bits of grooming kit can be used for. That's not a crazy BHS ideology about grooming - it is just some sensible basic knowledge. The BHS are perfectly happy for people to scrub the mud off where the tack goes and carry on!


I think there's a bit of wild overreaction here to what is a really sensible idea.
I don't see it as wild over reaction although it is a very interesting thread I just see it as a pointless waste of people's time the vast majority who have skills well in excess of stage 1 and just another way of exerting control over people ie horse owners in this case. Passports don't work. If they worked along with chipping we would be able to identify every single equine. We can't. People can still dump animals with no consequences.
It will make little difference to poor horse treatment. Will it help the horse with too tight a noseband, poorly fitted saddle, too heavy a rider, kept in 24/7 or out 24/7 in atrocious weather (whichever is your preference) of course it won't. You might learn on a course a saddle should fit properly but no way are you going to know if your new saddle is correctly fitted. Some people don't go along with stabling and rugging so why should they learn BHS methods.


ps apologies for the bold, I am not shouting just can't get the paragraph/quotes thing.:)
 

Cortez

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I don't see it as wild over reaction although it is a very interesting thread I just see it as a pointless waste of people's time the vast majority who have skills well in excess of stage 1 and just another way of exerting control over people ie horse owners in this case. Passports don't work. If they worked along with chipping we would be able to identify every single equine. We can't. People can still dump animals with no consequences.
It will make little difference to poor horse treatment. Will it help the horse with too tight a noseband, poorly fitted saddle, too heavy a rider, kept in 24/7 or out 24/7 in atrocious weather (whichever is your preference) of course it won't. You might learn on a course a saddle should fit properly but no way are you going to know if your new saddle is correctly fitted. Some people don't go along with stabling and rugging so why should they learn BHS methods.


ps apologies for the bold, I am not shouting just can't get the paragraph/quotes thing.:)
You are making a lot of assumptions there. Education is always to be encouraged and there are many ways that a system of certification can be implemented. How on earth do you conflate requiring a level of competence with "control"? Oh, and passports absolutely do "work", what maybe doesn't is the follow up on compliance. I think it's taken more seriously here in Ireland.
 

paddy555

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The vast majority of cruelty is unintentional and primarily caused by ignorance coupled with laziness IME. An introduction to the basics of animal caretaking and ownership would be a great help in reducing suffering for any animal.
a lot more is deliberate. A basic animal caretaking course is not going to solve that. Just because you have the basic knowledge per a simple test doesn't mean you are going to apply those principles. It simply depends on the person, their attitude and their willingness to learn more or think they know it all

If we take the frustrated rider which the whip in the collecting ring, we've all seen them, the somewhat frustrated school teacher whipping the horse at the hunt recently. I am sure she could groom, muck out and tack up her horse. Probably knew a hundred times more than the basic syllabus but that training didn't stop her. I watched our local hunt for years hammering their horses back and forth up and down the road as fast as they could possibly make them trot time and time again then load them, park outside the pub and spend the next couple of hours propping up the bar. How would any course stop that sort of behaviour towards horses.
I remember another hunt I drove past (not picking on hunts) early Nov, snow had been forecast, late afternoon, all horses newly clipped out, freezing wet snow conditions and riders huddling under walls waiting for their transport. None of the horses (TBs) had an exercise sheet on and just clipped out they were bl*ddy freezing and shaking. That to me is unacceptable yet all could have passed a test.

Laziness is intentional in my view. You can't be arsed to do something and have a pretty good idea an animal is going to suffer (or be inconvenienced) in some way.

Ref your earlier post of course education is important, I doubt there is anyone on here who isn't constantly reading, researching and learning to better their methods.
As for passports then yes they fail because of lack of enforcement so as a system they fail. I've had multiple horses, between around 8/12 at a time since passports were introduced and other than the vet signing them off initially for treatment they have never once been asked for by anyone. There seem to have been several queries on here about horses arriving without passports or very recent passports in older horses which have only just been obtained. Surely if the system is working well there should be a 15 year old horse with a 15 year old passport.
 

Cortez

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a lot more is deliberate. A basic animal caretaking course is not going to solve that. Just because you have the basic knowledge per a simple test doesn't mean you are going to apply those principles. It simply depends on the person, their attitude and their willingness to learn more or think they know it all

If we take the frustrated rider which the whip in the collecting ring, we've all seen them, the somewhat frustrated school teacher whipping the horse at the hunt recently. I am sure she could groom, muck out and tack up her horse. Probably knew a hundred times more than the basic syllabus but that training didn't stop her. I watched our local hunt for years hammering their horses back and forth up and down the road as fast as they could possibly make them trot time and time again then load them, park outside the pub and spend the next couple of hours propping up the bar. How would any course stop that sort of behaviour towards horses.
I remember another hunt I drove past (not picking on hunts) early Nov, snow had been forecast, late afternoon, all horses newly clipped out, freezing wet snow conditions and riders huddling under walls waiting for their transport. None of the horses (TBs) had an exercise sheet on and just clipped out they were bl*ddy freezing and shaking. That to me is unacceptable yet all could have passed a test.

Laziness is intentional in my view. You can't be arsed to do something and have a pretty good idea an animal is going to suffer (or be inconvenienced) in some way.

Ref your earlier post of course education is important, I doubt there is anyone on here who isn't constantly reading, researching and learning to better their methods.
As for passports then yes they fail because of lack of enforcement so as a system they fail. I've had multiple horses, between around 8/12 at a time since passports were introduced and other than the vet signing them off initially for treatment they have never once been asked for by anyone. There seem to have been several queries on here about horses arriving without passports or very recent passports in older horses which have only just been obtained. Surely if the system is working well there should be a 15 year old horse with a 15 year old passport.
Again, you are conflating a whole load of stuff into this which is nothing to do with what is basically a very good idea. From working with several animal welfare organisations over many years I can tell you that most cruelty is not deliberate, and IME that is especially true when it concerns horses. Passports seem to be a particular "thing" in the UK; everywhere else just gets on with it without all the sturm and drang.
 
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oooh, fun thread :D

tbh some sort of basic course in management of grass kept horse, management of a stabled horse and safely handling a horse wouldnt be a bad thing surely? Plus some basics about their digestive needs and signs of good/ill health, taking TPR. Yes some things have changed but much still holds to the BHS stages I did back in the 80s-the framework of which I still use when handling an unknown horse, I've seen some horrifically unsafe handling on livery yards over the years. I know people love to scoff at them (BHS Stages that is), mostly by people who've not done them but tbh for me they've been a very useful thing to have both professionally and now for horse archery wierdly.

Education about more 'expert' things such as saddle fitting, performance barefoot, anatomy etc could just consist of where to go to find more information, professionals, courses etc

my ponies are pretty feral this time of year too-but I do know what signs to look out for.

Saying that, people who are invested will do it, people that aren't won't. A basic standard of knowledge on the whole would be a good thing though.
 

teapot

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I do think some form of enforced required knowledge would be a good thing, and for the UK, it would be under Defra/Animal and Plant Health Agency, and no doubt advised on by the BEF/BHS.

A combined Stage 1/Stage2 type would be ideal imho (after all, you have to bandage and load for your 2)
 

teapot

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Who's going to pay for the Stasi inspectors to ensure this is enforced?
.
I'm sure the Stasi informers supporters can run a little black book to keep the funds up ;)

Who knows? How are the competition rider regs inforced in France and Germany? Federations or govt?
 
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It’s going to happen in the uk rescue will make it happen and lot of equestrian community want it everyone on Facebook thought it was a great idea. Yeah there is probably a lot of idiots who buy horses and haven’t got a clue so something like this would be beneficial .
 

onemoretime

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I think its unworkable.

However, I would absolutely like to see livery yards with more than X number of paying liveries (DIY, FULL, Grass, eg all paying liveries) coming under the boarding of animals act. Or at least being council licenced for basic facilities inc buildings (stables and ancillary buildings) for Y number of equines that can be housed.
Agree FF. I would also like to see Dealers licenced with the Local Authorities.
 

Mule

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Whats the point of passing exams to compete affiliated? Surely if you didn't know what you were doing you wouldn't be competing in the first place.
 

paddy555

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Who's going to pay for the Stasi inspectors to ensure this is enforced?
.
now at your age, and also mine, I would have thought that you could have worked that you will have to pay for your training, you will have to pay for your testing and, although it may come as a shock, you will also somehow be contributing for the Stasi inspectors. :D
In return for all this money however you can rest assured you will then know how to catch your horse in it's field (when it doesn't co operate and walk into the barn on it's own) and you will also know how to lead it properly and muck out it's stable, not that it has one.
When they have moved to full livery you will be able to watch the staff doing these tasks.
 

paddy555

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Again, you are conflating a whole load of stuff into this which is nothing to do with what is basically a very good idea. From working with several animal welfare organisations over many years I can tell you that most cruelty is not deliberate, and IME that is especially true when it concerns horses. Passports seem to be a particular "thing" in the UK; everywhere else just gets on with it without all the sturm and drang.
we will have to beg to differ on cruelty. I haven't worked with welfare organisations as such so have no idea what they have taken in.The ones I have worked with are ones (probably around 14)most of which I have personally taken in. (and in most cases rewarded the owner by paying for them:mad: ) and a couple where I did involve welfare organisations and the horses were PTS immediately. Every single one was laziness, couldn't give a damn and cruelty. Just about all of their previous owners were very familiar with animal and horse care. A couple could in fact have probably passed BHS stage 2.

If there is money to spare it should go on real cruelty.

It's not that I have a problem with beginners to horse keeping learning basic skills although I really struggle to believe they are as bad as some make out. It is that even if there is a test people can pass that if doesn't mean they put that into practise when they walk out of the door.

An example is shoeing. You can teach someone the horse needs shoeing every 6 weeks max. Once they go away they decide it will be shod every 12 weeks (and that does happen) because I am not forking out for shoes every 6 weeks for a horse that I only ride once a week and still look good then the training was pointless.
 

paddy555

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I do think some form of enforced required knowledge would be a good thing, and for the UK, it would be under Defra/Animal and Plant Health Agency, and no doubt advised on by the BEF/BHS.

A combined Stage 1/Stage2 type would be ideal imho (after all, you have to bandage and load for your 2)
for stage 2 you have to trim, plait, clip (I think) know how to use brushing and overeach boots, put on endless travelling gear and load along with lots on stables, yard management etc. It said it was for assistant grooms on yards.

What on earth is the relevance of that to the novice owner who needs training because they cannot put a headcollar on, tack up and needs to learn to muck out a stable?

Most owners in that position are on livery yards. They have no say in their stabling, grassland management and very little else. Much of the stage 2 syllabus is irrelevant for beginners. Those more experienced will know the parts that have relevance to them or will learn the bits they need.

I don't agree that "enforced required knowledge" is needed for all animal owning activities and also then of course for livestock farmers. Horses are simply an animal one of many that need care.
Education of course is vitally important and continual learning and developing ideas.

From another POV how are people expected to pay for this? It appears to require in person learning at an equestrian centre plus the theory stuff and no doubt test fees plus of course the cost of transport. For many in rural areas that is going to be considerable cost in time and money getting to centres. Many people keep horses on a shoestring. Many of those no doubt already have excellent care. Their owners are short of cash not of the ability to look after them. Should they be expected to pay to go on these courses which are enforced required knowledge.
 

teapot

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for stage 2 you have to trim, plait, clip (I think) know how to use brushing and overeach boots, put on endless travelling gear and load along with lots on stables, yard management etc. It said it was for assistant grooms on yards.

What on earth is the relevance of that to the novice owner who needs training because they cannot put a headcollar on, tack up and needs to learn to muck out a stable?
You combine the needed bits of the 1 and the 2, eg bandaging which imho is badly done by the vast majority of people, how to weigh a horse, signs of under/over weight etc, signs of a unfit horse, signs of lameness.

The Stage 2 care exam is about people doing horses unsupervised, ie your average novicey owners.
 

paddy555

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Goodness, you're getting very aerated about a proposal in a different country, that no-one has any idea of the content of.
not aerated but irritated by this sort of rubbish which could well cost people a fair amount of money to achieve little whilst the real problems go unaddressed.
 

Palindrome

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Who's going to pay for the Stasi inspectors to ensure this is enforced?
.
I am pretty sure it will only be enforced in cases of abuse and/or neglect. Let's say a horse is very thin due to not being fed properly. The relevant authority can then check that the owner has the certificate of knowledge. If no certificate then there is ground for warning the owner/removing horse from their care.

If there are no problems in the horse's management and condition there is little interest to check the paperwork. It's a bit like the only time your get your driving licence checked is usually if something is amiss with your car or driving.
 
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