Youth and participation coach, Gillian Elliot, has become the first equestrian coach in Scotland to be awarded the UKCC Level 4 qualification, the highest possible level in the UKCC programme.
Achieving the Level 4 qualification required years of hard work and commitment. Following a three stage interview process to be selected for the programme, Gillian completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice in Sports Coaching through the University of Gloucester, which is a pre-requisite of the UKCC Level 4 programme. The next step was assessment of a coaching session before the final panel interview.
Completing her UKCC Level 4 qualification was a major ambition for Gillian, who from a young age had dreamed of pursuing a career in coaching:
“I think I decided to be a coach the first day I sat on a horse, and I just never changed my mind”.
Originally from Lanarkshire, Gillian is now the manager and Head Coach at Burnbank Equestrian Centre in Hamilton, and is also Equality Director at horsescotland. She hopes to improve the quality of coaching and shape the equine industry, and also to inspire the next generation of riders and coaches.
One element of this has been to establish a Youth Development Team at Burnbank, where promising young riders have the chance to receive coaching, as well as learn about stable management and theoretical aspects of equestrianism. As with much of her coaching, Gillian integrates modern technology in to her approach, using video analysis in order for the rider to better understand and improve their positioning. Gillian hopes to equip them for a future in the industry:
“I see my development team as the future of coaching – any of them could follow the path that I have chosen and become a coach at this level.”
Gillian’s own mentor and role model throughout her coaching journey has been Patrick Print OBE, now the Chair of horsescotland: “I met him when he was my coach and he was the person that changed me and pushed me in the right direction.
"He has been my mentor in every way possible - if I could do for other people what he’s done for me, that would be amazing”.
Gillian received support throughout her journey from sportscotland, horsescotland and various other sources, and states “I am really grateful for the opportunity to study at this level so I can help my riders and horses improve. I would like to personally thank my mentor for his hard work in helping me with my own studies over the last 12 years. I would also like to thank the BHS education department and ABRS Trustees for their impact on this significant year”.
Fiona Rawson, horsescotland Education and Development Officer, said "I wish to congratulate Gillian on her achievement of being the first equestrian coach in Scotland to complete the UKCC Level Four, which is a significant achievement. I hope this promotes the UKCC qualifications pathway to other equestrian coaches"
It seems there’s no stopping Gillian, who is aiming to complete an MSc in Equine Stress Behaviour and hopes to become a UKCC Coach Educator, to continue working towards improving coaching and developing the coaches of the future.
Find out more
More information on the UKCC programme, and the levels available, can be found here.