Scottish soldiers completed a military “Spurs course” and obtained an equine qualification from the British Horse Society (BHS).

The soldiers of the Scottish regular cavalry unit, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, and their twin reserve unit, The Scottish and Northern Irish Yeomanry, spent a week at the BHS approved Tower Farm in Edinburgh and obtained a qualification BHS.

Credit: British Horse Society

Spurs courses are designed to quickly bring new members of cavalry regiments to the starting state required for them to train with the regiment. This course has provided horseback riding as a new skill with the added benefit of BHS qualifications to tie real-life experience and give a foothold in the BHS Equine Excellence Pathway that can lead to a civilian career in coaching.

There were three groups of different experience levels. In the lead group, six runners reached stage 1 of the BHS, seven reached bronze and six other novice runners achieved their introductory challenge prizes.

The coaches were Patrick Print FBHS and Richard Johnstone Smith BHSI.

“To think that some of these soldiers had never sat on a horse before 3pm on Monday and passed out during a training exercise before noon on Friday is remarkable,” said Patrick.

Credit: British Horse Society

“These were a few very intensive days, we included handling, farrier, horse care with a veterinarian as well as horseback riding; The level of horses and participation from Tower Farm was phenomenal, as was the enthusiasm of the participants.

The Spurs course was the culmination of 18 months of work since BHS Scotland launched an initiative with the two Scottish Cavalry Regiments with the aim of providing broader equestrian training to Army personnel, while working to undertake ceremonial tasks mounted in Edinburgh and beyond.

“This week has been a great opportunity for the soldiers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and our Reserve Partner Regiment to reconnect with our original mounted role,” said Lt. Oliver Horridge of SCOTS DG.

“We had a fantastic week at Tower Farm, working with their friendly staff and learning from Patrick and Richard, whose enthusiasm and knowledge was contagious.

“We received brilliant support from the BHS in getting all of our soldiers accredited at different levels based on their previous driving experience. Many soldiers had recently returned after a few months of practicing in Oman and enjoyed the opportunity to relax and improve a skill different from their normal day job.

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