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SPINE - Erasmus +

The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. 

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Erasmus+ Project 2017-2020 SPINE

SPINE Start Up meeting in Flyinge October 2017 with Project Partner representatives from the European Schools belonging to the Erasmus+ project.

SPINE is an innovation project with the major aim to enable young professionals within equine sector to enter the international labour market.

Looking into the national vocational education and training systems in equestrian schools it is viewable that the education is mostly focused on the demands of the national market. With increased global opportunities for equestrian professionals there is a need to establish an educational system to provide the required knowledge, skills and competences for an international career.

The target group should be all professionals, educated within national equestrian schools wishing to enable themselves an opportunity to create an more international professional profile.

The project seeks to develop language skills and knowledge primarily in English together with an understanding of how the equestrian industry works in different countries regarding national traditions and cultures in horse sector. This will be included in creating a curriculum for an extra qualification (EQ) with high international standard regarding knowledge, skills and competences fitting to the equestrian labourmarket.

The European project parners are working close toghether in the vocational and educational training field. All of them do have a profound overview of the existing educational products. The needs analysis is based on the experience of these partners. Especially for the equestrian sector there is no education avaliable which prepare young professionals enough for the European labour market.

The added value to do the project with these established project partners is to guarantee the transnational spreading of the knowledge, skills and competences within the Extra Qualifications (EQ) on the same high level all over Europe.

Most equestrian educations are only fitted to the national labour market and needs. Therefore the students are not prepared enough to work in an other country than their own. Student feedback in previous projects also strongly points out the need to be trained in different work environments regarding historical, social and cultural circumstances in the equestrian professional sector in different European countries.

The innovative part of SPINE is to create an international qualification which prepares young professionals for the European labour market. This project of education is meant to be shared between different schools in Europe. The involved schools are the main important stakeholders for the equestrian vocational education in their countries. The schools are going to develop an Extra Qualification (EQ) with a unique curricula. It will contain the needed learning pathway, containing training and teaching subjects relevant for the international equestrian market. It also emphasizes that the students going through this qualification have to collect experiences in different schools and different countries and practice their professional skills and competences in various social and cultural environment.

Expected result is to create an Extra Qualification (EQ) used to complement a national VET education.

Three Transnational Project meetings has now been carried out in Flyinge (SWE) October 2017, Barneveld (NED) March 2018 and Golegã (POR) May 2018. The work done in these three meetings resulted in modules that was tested and evaluated 2018-2019 in three different learning/teaching /tranining activities held in Germany, France and Norway. These activities will also bring together students from all Partner schools.

Deutsche Reiterliche Vereinigung e.V. (FN), Germany
Markus Scharmann

Ypäjä Equine College, Finland
Anu Korppoo

Ridskolan Strömsholm, Sweden
Åsa Steninger

Atheneum Martinus Bilzen, Belgium
Muriel Coppin

Aeres Group, Netherlands
Monique van den Hoeven

IFCE, France
Eric Deyna

Stiftelsen Norsk Hestesenter, Norway
Contact: Evija E. Lie

Escola Nacional de Equitacão
Maria Margarida Carmo Costa

The progress of SPINE in making the Extra Qualification

Summary Module 1 Warendorf Germany
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Module 1 was carried out in December, 13-17, 2018. 9 students along with 17 teachers from all 9 partnership schools attended the first module.

This was the first Learning/teaching/training activity in the project. The module was successfully completed with just a few small changes. During the module the project group discovered that the timetable was somewhat too ambitious.

We had a debriefing at day 3 summarizing the module so far and the discussions regarding time/subjects and decided to make some changes for the rest of the module. In this process the students contributed with their perspective and thoughts.

The students got to practice giving lessons in English, with students from Warendorf riding as well as teaching each other. They also had lectures from the teachers in Horse Welfare, Principles of Riding & Principles of Training, Riders performance, Self marketing & Social media, Cultural & social understanding, Business & Management, Language & communication and Laws & Regulations.

The teachers summarized the Homework for Module 2. All presentations in the Workshop will be included in the Study/Teaching Material of Extra Qualification. Looking to the result reached so far, the project is following the timeline and is well prepared for the upcoming Learning/Teaching/Training Activities.

For the students piloting the first module in Warendorf there was, beside the learning regarding the equestrian European labour market, an exchange of social, cultural and human skills and knowledge.

In workshops, discussions and lessons they contributed to the creation of the Extra Qualification. They were given homework to produce before the next module which also enables their classmates at home to know and see what the projects aims are.

In module 1 additional members of the EEN was invited to follow and give input to the SPINE project. They participated in discussions regarding the subjects and the final outcome of the Extra Qualification.

Summary Module 2 Saumur France
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Module 2 was carried out in the end of February 2019. The same 9 students attended this Module along with 16 teachers. The students continued their education with progress in all subjects from Module 1.

They were able to practice teaching students from the organizing school IFCE and also analyse horses whilst riding themselves. All in supervision of the teachers. The students were also asked to present their homework from module 2, with good results.

At the end of Module 2 the students were asked to answer a questionnaire about their involvement in the SPINE project so far. The results showed that they enjoy the experience in being a part of creating the Extra Qualification and feel that they are learning and developing. It also shows that the schools can be even better with using the SPINE project at home for discussions and lessons, so that the project can have an impact on even more students at local and regional level.

The teacher finalized the structure and content of the starting days of Module 3 in Starum as well as the exam days over there and the debriefing afterwards. The homework for Module 3 and the content of the portfolio that the students are asked to present was discussed from a warm and sunny Saumur.

We are now looking forward to the testing the final Module 3, in Starum Norway in November. The Exam of the Extra Qualification will include a theoretical part with presentations from each student and a practical part where each student is assigned a “client” in form of a student from she school of Starum.

The student is asked to perform a two day clinic with their client.

Summary Module 3 Starum, Norway

Module 3 took place in the beginning of November in a five days workshop in Norsk Hestesenter, Starum in Norway. The nine SPINE students attended the final Module of the project, the Exam of Extra Qualification of Riding Instructor.

The week started with two days preparation together with the teachers. On Monday and Tuesday the students met the riders and horses they were supposed to work with during the Exam days. The students also had preparative lessons with teachers to finalize their Homework according to the feedback they had received from the teachers already before the Exam week.

The Exam started on Wednesday morning with students presentations of their Business plans and Dressage lessons they gave to the students of the local school. A group of SPINE teachers assessed the Business plan presentations while another group consisting of riding instructors was assessing the Dressage lessons the students gave each to their chosen rider. In the afternoon the students presented their Homework of the Cultural and Social background and the Laws and Regulations of the specific country they have chosen to be the place they wish to work in the future. At the same time in another classroom the riding teachers assessed the students theory lesson where the students explained their rider how to make improvement in their riding and co operation with the horse.

On Thursday the Exam went on in the morning with the Students giving a jumping lesson, each to their chosen rider/horse pair. The students gave either a lesson with poles or with small jumps, according to the specialization of their rider. In the afternoon the teachers made a complete evaluation of the Students’ all lessons and presentations.

Progress of the Erasmus+ funded project SPINE spring 2020

The project is in the last phase and the work is now mainly focused on evaluating the piloted education modules, updating all learning material and finishing the curricula for SPINE. We are also discussing different possibilities to disseminate the project results if were not able to host a multiplier event as planned.

We are happy we could finish the testing of out three modules with our students before the Corona crisis entered but of course would have wanted to be able to proceed with our transnational projects meetings as planned in the project. The meeting in Bilzen, Belgium had to be replaced by a two-day meeting in digital form. The meeting focused on discussing each subject and all material linked to it. The subjects of the SPINE project are: Horse welfare, Analysing riding & training, Riders seat, Riders performance, Pedagogics, Language & Communication, Social & Cultural understanding, Business & Management, Social media & Self-marketing and Laws & Regulations.

The mandatory group picture with (very long distance) social distancing!

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Stay safe and healthy! 

Partners of the SPINE project

SPINE project completed!

The future of the Extra Qualification

The Extra Qualification (EQ) has been developed as a product of the Erasmus+ SPINE Project (Schools’ Project to Increase employability in the European Equestrian Market). The partners of this Project are nine member schools of EEN (Equestrian Educational Network).

The partners of the SPINE project are proud to announce that the project has reached its initial aims and goals. During the last three years we have worked together to create an education which aims at enhancing the employability for equestrian professionals in educating horses and riders in the international equestrian labour market.  This education we named Extra Qualification (EQ). In the first stages of the project (October 2017 – November 2018) we created a first draft of a curricula for the education. It was decided to divide the education into three different modules, with the last one containing an exam in both theoretical and practical subjects. The modules are made to be held at any of the schools within the Equestrian Educational Network (EEN). When attending each of the three modules the candidate will gain experience from three different schools withing the EEN.  One module is approximately 4-5 days depending on the number of candidates. The basic knowledge, skills and competences demanded of an Extra Qualification Candidate are the minimum requirements of IGEQ Riding Instructor, Level 2 (Horse management, Riding and Teaching). 

Among the project partners we also discussed and decided what subjects and training the EQ should contain, and each school/partner picked a topic which they were responsible to develop with learning material, curriculum and guideline manual.  We discovered that some subjects were more suitable to deliver as a unit and this created even more cooperation between the schools than we knew at the beginning. This even further enhanced the exchange of good practices and the social and cultural exchange.

The EQ was tied together by a joined curriculum, containing information on the education, a plan for all subjects, the outline of the exam and the learning outcome of all subjects. In addition to the Curricula and the learning material created there is also a Guideline manual that describes how to conduct each module in the EQ, this is to ensure that all future modules are carried out with the same learning outcome, indifferent of what school holds each module.

To test implementation and quality of the EQ each partner chose a student from their school to participate in the pilot modules of the education. These nine candidates were offered to do all three modules and help us to evaluate and improve the education. All nine completed the education and the end Exam. Our candidates were an essential part of the project and their efforts and input helped us in the process of creating the EQ. The pilot modules were carried in Germany, December 2018, France, March 2019 and Norway, November 2019.

After each pilot module the students and teachers gave their opinion, and the partners of the project discussed and made improvements for the next module to come. At the end of each module the students were offered to evaluate both anonymous in a questionnaire and in a group together with the teachers. During their ongoing education the students trained and performed homework at their home schools, resulting in them spreading their new knowledge at home with classmates and other students.

From December 2019 until now the original plan was to have three physical meetings with the partners of the project to finalize the structure and material for the EQ. This was an important work to be able to disseminate our projects results and hold a Multiplier event in Finland in May 2020. The purpose of the Multiplier Event was to present our EQ to important stakeholders in the equestrian business as well as relevant media and of course the target group - future candidates for taking the EQ. This presentation was planned to be both practical and theoretical. Unfortunately, all travel and physical meetings had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and all our meetings in 2020 has been in digital form instead. This has been a challenge for us, but with good communication between the partners we managed to finalize the material and hold a webinar in august 2020. We invited people in our target groups, important stakeholders in the industry such as the FEI, EEF, EHN and IGEQ and relevant media to join. All in all people from 10 different countries were invited to take part in the webinar where we presented our intellectual outputs produced, the outcome of the project and the future of the EQ in a shorter Multiplier event than originally planned. The Multiplier event was successful, and the participants left positive comments on the outcome of the project.

We are now in the process of finalizing the end report of the project, and later this autumn/winter anyone interested can view and use all our project results at

If you are already now interested to read more about the Extra Qualification here you can find the Curricula of the EQ and the presentation used in the Multiplier event when presenting the EQ at our website:

The first modules of the Extra Qualification:

The original plan was to start the first round of the Extra Qualification with module 1 in Starum, Norway in the beginning of 2021. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and uncertainties on travel restrictions and possibilities to join from different countries it was decided to postpone the first round of the EQ to the beginning of 2022. This is to ensure that the education can be given and that as many nationalities as possible are able to join safely.

When the registration for the first EQ is open you apply via the EEN website:

News on the first EQ start will be announced at our EEN facebook page as well as the EEN partners social media channels.

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