Working in the equestrian sector means that welfare is a very high priority, whether you are a coach, a rider, an equestrian business or horse owner.

Areas you will need to focus on include:

Would you know what to do in an emergency?

Having a 1st Aid qualification could be the difference between life and death in the case of an accident.

Assessing suitability of medical and support staff to work with children in sport



Many sports organisations work alongside external providers such as private ambulances, first aiders, doctors and physios. It is important that when you're employing external providers the appropriate safeguards are considered, so we've created a briefing to provide guidance on assessing suitability.  

First Aid

Mental Health

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Mental Health and Wellbeing e-learning

sportscotland and partners have been supported by SAMH and Scottish Sports Futures in providing tools and techniques to help support players, coaches, parents and officials to achieve a better understanding of mental health and wellbeing, the misconceptions surrounding it, and how to communicate effectively to support a mental health conversation.This e-learning can be accessed here


In addition, Scottish Sports Futures have developed a complimentary Mental Health and Wellbeing ETC Workshop that is available for free until the end of March 2022 due to support and funding from Scottish Government. Initially, this offer will be delivered online and is designed specifically to support coaches in their role. Further information on the learning outcomes and the booking process can be found in the documents below. Further details can be obtained by emailing etc@ssf.org.uk . 

Module overview

Individual attendee

registration form

Partner workshop

booking form

Workshop booking




SAMH (Scottish Association of Mental Health) has launched their new strategy to set out how they will reach more people than ever before. The new strategy “We won’t wait” recognises that the last 18 months have been really hard for all of us and sets out that SAMH will be there for everyone, every step of the way. The strategy outlines that SAMH has delivered care and support to thousands, spoken out, stood up, and listened. They have tried, tested and trusted, and now it’s time for more. 
Read more

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Useful Links
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horsescotland have been working closely with Dr Andy Malyon who has provided us with this information and support on Concussion in order to help educate the equestrisan sector on concussion and how to deal with concussion.

What is concussion?

Concussion is a brain injury.  That might sound quite dramatic, but that is what it is & why it is being talked about in sporting circles.  For most people who are concussed, it is a self limiting problem which will resolve with a short period of rest.  The most important thing is to identify the fact someone is concussed and look after them properly.

This section of the website outlines what concussion is, how to recognise it, how to manage it and some of the complications that can be associated with it.  The intention is that we raise the awareness of concussion amongst everyone involved with horse sports in Scotland.  Some of the features described may seem quite dramatic, but as with so many things if we get the basics right & look after someone with concussion properly it should never become a problem in the ways described.

Useful Links


Points to note

  • If in doubt, sit them out.  - Be suspicious, & if you think someone is concussed sit them  out.

  • Rest the body, rest the brain. - If someone is concussed, a full period of rest for body and brain until all symptoms have gone, then a Graduated Return to Play

Health & Safety


Working with horses can be quite dangerous if you do not follow Health & Safety guidelines.

To help please find information on:


Equine Welfare

The Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 places a duty of care on pet owners and others responsible for animals (including horses, ponies and donkeys) to ensure that the welfare needs of their animals are met. It also allows the Scottish Parliament to make further regulations to regulate other animal-related activities including, for example, the running of livery yards. You can read the full paper here.

The duty of care is based on the "Five Freedoms":

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst

  • Freedom from discomfort

  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease

  • Freedom to express normal behaviour

  • Freedom from fear and distress

The Scottish Government Code of Practice for the Welfare of Equidae gives advice on how to provide your horse or pony with care that ensures it has the five freedoms. The 75 point document is a practical guide for owners and keepers responsible for equines in Scotland and sets out the underpinning principles of horse care.

Many of our Member Bodies work tirelessly to improve horses welfare, contact them for more information.

Agriculture and Rural Economy learning resources


You can now learn about biosecurity and animal welfare practices thanks to the publication of these courses, which is usually only available to Scottish Government staff.

These courses can be used to educate and inform employers and employees on how to maintain the highest biosecurity standards, and how to respond to animal disease outbreaks.



Learn how to minimise the spread of plant pests and diseases.

Animal Disease Control


This course provides an introduction to Scottish Government policy on animal disease control.


Disclaimer: Within this course there are some graphic images of animal disease that some viewers may find distressing. Viewer discretion is advised.

Equine Grass Sickness


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Horse owners and keepers all over Scotland are already enjoying the added security which comes from registering on ScotEquine.

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Exciting times ahead for this difficult and devastating disease of equines. A research update and look to the future.

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Equine Passports

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Guidance for owners, keepers, veterinarians and local authorities 2020

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Equine Water Treadmills

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New guidelines endorsed by British Equestrian (BEF) have been published to highlight best practice in the use of water treadmills to train and rehabilitate horses.

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