Contessa Riding & Training Centre

Contessa is a leading Dressage Centre in Hertfordshire, providing Advanced Dressage lessons Lusitano stallions and warmbloods as well as riding for all levels

Exam Training

Contessa Riding Centre is a BHS “Where to Train Centre” and an ABRS coaching and Exam Centre for up to ATD level. We are able to offer training in the BHS, UKCC and ABRS exam systems as well as NVQ qualifications.
There are a number of different ways of achieving your exams with us at Contessa. You can apply for a student placement and work and train with us either full or part-time; or you can book either individual or weekly exam training.

Student placements run for from 1yr to 18 months with the option to doing an additional year if you wish to continue with your exams. During your placement you will receive training towards your BHS and/or ABRS exams, ie stages 1, 2 ,3 plus UKCC level 2 coaching/PTT exam or ABRS Initial Teaching and progressive tests 1-10. Additionally you will have the opportunity to experience the advanced schoolmasters, to compete in Dressage or Jumping and to ride on international trainers clinics.
Students will receive weekly logged and recorded training towards the BHS/ABRS guided learning hours.
Training is usually run between the hours of 10am and 1 pm.

Weekly training includes riding, lecturing and practical assessments. The sessions cover the guided learning hours for the complete BHS AI. We are on the yard between 8am and 5pm including weekends.
Students are expected to complete a years placement and the training fee is for the whole course. If students are unable to pay for their year’s training up-front, weekly payment can be arranged. We can also offer reduced training hours for a smaller fee for those students who can not afford the hours by arrangement. All exam fees are the student’s responsibility. Live-in accommodation is available at small fee per week.

The training will cover all the guided learning hours required as per the BHS/ABRS syllabus which includes practical assessments, riding and theoretical knowledge plus business management.
We offer training for BHS stage 1, BHS stage 2, BHS stage 3, BHS PTT, BHSAI, BHSII, ABRS tests 1-6, ABRS Initial teaching, ABRS Teaching Certificate & ABRS Advanced Teaching Diploma. Fees may change pending us receiving training provider status, in which case you maybe eligible to receive a student loan depending on your circumstances.


Senior members of the Contessa team train exam candidates. They all have a great deal of experience at assessing potential candidates at all levels. They include:-

Tina Layton-Elliott BHSI (regd.) – Proprietor –

Tina has been a BHS examiner, and is currently an examiner for ABRS qualifications up to ATD. She is also qualified as a UKCC Coach Educator. She has competed in international dressage competitions for Great Britain on horses that she has trained herself all the way through the levels to Grand Prix.

Dawn Elliott-Moulden ABRS ATD, BHSIT – Head Girl –

Dawn won the ABRS Silver Spur for teaching excellence in 2004, and in the same year was awarded her Advanced Teaching Diploma. Dawn has competed in Dressage up to Advanced level.

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Exam Training
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We offer apprenticeship schemes for school leavers wanting to learn and start a career in the equine industry. Primarily we are looking for 16 to 19 year old students, but older students are also eligible and welcome subject to course requirements. Apprenticeships combine practical training on the job with study. Apprenticeships take from 1 to 2 years to complete. These apprenticeships are subject to an assessment. You are only eligible for an apprenticeship if you do not possess a degree or received government funding.

As an apprentice you will:

  • work alongside our experienced staff
  • gain job-specific skills
  • earn a wage and get holiday pay
  • study towards qualifications

Levels of apprenticeship:

  • Level 2 Qualification or
  • Level 3 Qualification or
  • BHS/ABRS Qualifications

Who can apply:

You can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still at school. To start one, you will need to be:

  • 16 or over
  • living in England
  • not in full-time education

If you can answer all the 3 points above with yes, please apply by sending your CV to
If you have any questions send an email or give us a call and we are happy to help you.

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Work Experience

Contessa offers work experience for school leavers, veterinary students, university students and graduates.

Contessa offers an opportunity for work experience students to learn about the everyday running of a yard and the work behind the scenes. This placement would particularly benefit students with a strong interest in a career in the equine industry to learn more about how a busy Riding & training Centre operates.

We can offer work experience through holiday periods as well as term-time. Schools, Colleges, and Universities must correspond directly with Contessa as we have limited spaces available.

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Work Experience
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Join Our Team

Positions available:

Full time:

Full time position available to work alongside existing yard manager for BHS AI or PTT Instructor.

Opportunity to work towards next exams.
Competitive Salary plus 28 days paid holiday.

Opportunities to have instruction on horses up to adv level and our Lusitano stallions.

We are looking for an enthusiastic team player who can organise day courses, assist in training juniors, school a mixture of horses and ponies, teach adults and children and above all someone who wants to gain further experience riding at a higher level. Work to include general yard duties. Also the opportunity to ride on clinic with international trainers and a chance to compete.

Own room in Self catering on-site accommodation with shared facilities. All bills included.

Start December. Please contact us with your CV and completed application form




Part Time:

We are looking for a part time self employed cheery yard worker/groom for approximately 3 days a week to cover staff holidays etc. They must be physically fit and have previous equine experience. Hours etc by arrangement at National Minimum Wage.

Start December. Please contact us with your CV and completed application form



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Join Our Team
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