View Full Version : Instructor Programs

Dec. 28, 2007, 11:40 AM
I posted this Off Course, but didn't get a single bite. (I'll don't want to cross post, but I do want to compile some information.)

I was talking about the existing programs with someone the other day, and these are the only ones in the USA that I could think of at the time. Does anyone have any to add to the list? (I'm talking about ones with certification programs.)

USDF (dressage)
USEA (eventing)
ARICP (a multitude of disciplines)
NAHRA (handicapped riding)
Centered Riding (basic riding, mostly dressage related)
CHA (camp)
(and I don't know what they call that funky Balimo chair certification thing :rolleyes: )

I know some are better than others, but I was just trying to figure out what ones are actually out there. I think the Hunters have something now, don't they?

Dec. 28, 2007, 12:52 PM
I was going to add the BHS, but I didn't think they did testing in and around the US anymore. Do they?

Dec. 28, 2007, 12:59 PM

Dec. 28, 2007, 01:36 PM
All I saw was a list of approved riding places, not places for certifying instructors. Is that somewhere else on the site? I remember looking at it briefly, a year or so ago, and I didn't see anything for a certification in the U.S. Just stuff that was in Europe.

I think the last instructor training and certification place here was Millbrook (MEC), and that's gone now.

Dec. 28, 2007, 03:40 PM
Equine Education Systems introduced the Balimo concept. I don't know whether they still exist, but the program had a very complete curriculum based on the training scale, but focussed mostly on developing the rider through effective systematic teaching. It is/was the dream of Scott Hassler's mother, the late Jill Hassler Scoop.

Dec. 28, 2007, 04:10 PM
Velvet, the EES website is www.equestrianeducation.com, I believe. You can read bios of those involved.

It is a quality, correct organization. Good luck!

Dec. 28, 2007, 04:24 PM
I think you are shortchanging CHA a bit. They are known for producing instructors who will teach in camp or academy environments, but they also certify trail guides, driving instructors, vaulting instructors, barn managers, and facilities.

Dec. 28, 2007, 04:36 PM
I guess the reason I said "camp" was that's how I used to know it--WAY BACK in the olden days. ;)

My problem with the Balimo program (BTW, your link went to an Arts School list when I hit it), is that it seemed to have been created not to truly improve teaching skills, but rather to produce sales people for a set program and especially a device that costs $300. :eek:

Correct me if I'm wrong. I know that their was supposed to be good information on improving teaching techniques, but why would they also offer a certification program and have everything come back around to a chair that costs $300???

Dec. 28, 2007, 10:32 PM
Sorry about the incorrect link, Velvet.

The EES program is an' integrated approach to teaching and learning' - in quotes because this is the title to the original textbook. As such, all aspects of the learning process are addressed - the rider's attitude, personality,body use, learning style, goals, etc,etc. as well as developing effective ways of teaching to each student's style.

When I attended what was the initial workshop at Hilltop in 1997, we took part in yoga and tai-chi classes, massage sessions to promote relaxation, we practice-taught, had lectures on learning styles, broke up into discussion groups, could take a lunge lesson. Not only did I come away having met many good, intent people and a thoroughly refreshed enthusiasm for teaching, I still use many of the principles learned then to this day.

I was introduced to Eckhart Meyners at a symposium in Rhode Island several years ago, which was sponsored by EES. Meyners' methods, a series of exercises and releases of trigger points, work. He would observe a competent dressage rider and her/his horse for 10 or 15 minutes, then have the rider dismount. He would then focus on areas in the rider's body which were locked up. The rider would then remount, and the difference in her/his riding was striking. In every case I observed, the horses were then able to move more freely, with better engagement and expression.

Meyners developed the Balimo (balance in motion) chair to facillitate and supplement his program of exercises, and it can be really valuable in unlocking the lower back and hip joints-the seat, if you will. But it is not an absolute requirement.

Yes, the chair is very expensive, and the courses are also, but if I was in a different place in my life, I would continue with the course work and become one of their instructors in a heartbeat.

ARIA is also valuable, dealing with many disciplines, but providing an opportunity for its applicants to be tested on levels of one's chosen disciples, customer relations, self evaluation, training, competition rules, and thorough horsemanship knowledge.

Dec. 28, 2007, 10:36 PM
The correct link is www.equestrianeducation.org

Kathy Johnson
Dec. 29, 2007, 09:30 PM
You didn't say dressage :)


Dec. 29, 2007, 10:02 PM
You didn't say dressage :)


:eek: Say it isn't so!

The more I research this information, the more I understand why no one would ever want to be certified, if they really can teach and train. I mean, if anyone can start a certification program, what is it really worth? This last one posted, thanks to KJ (I bow to your superior knowledge of the Parelli cash cow machine) pushes it right over the top from the ridiculous to the sublime.

I'm not saying a lot of these programs are bad. On the contrary, most seem really good. Especially the ones that offer a real education that also takes into account your already existing experience so you don't have to complete an expensive program before testing (you just have to be realistic about your current skills before testing). I also like when reading their information makes you feel like they really want to help you gain the knowledge to succeed. Not just suck you dry and hope you fail and have to spend more money on a repeat--or you have to "fit in" and play games to get certified.

It's VERY interesting. Makes me appreciate the ones that are trying to get it right, have a well defined objective and testing process, and those that offer certified instructors help with their career (through insurance savings, want ads, and other such things).

Any other ones I'm still missing? (BTW, this almost makes me want to start a program that is like those colleges that offer internet degrees. ;) Nah, I'm not that person, but I bet there are a few people out there already working on a degree program like that. :lol: )

Dec. 29, 2007, 11:44 PM
I was also going to comment on CHA, what a great program. I have gone through the NARHA riding and driving certification and will be doing the vaulting one soon. However, I love CHA's way of certifying you as a RIDING instructor before allowing you to certify for handicapped instruction. I think the ARICP publishes a good riding instruction magazine. I also have a friend who is beginning the eventing instructor certification. I think many instructors benefit from some formal instruction- either through mentoring, a certification program or higher education.

Dec. 30, 2007, 12:02 AM
CHA did very, very well by me.

One thing I particularly like is you must be able to TEACH. Doesn't matter a whit what your show record is, or how many horses you've trained to thus and such level... you have to be able to TEACH.

I've always said not all Trainers are teachers... conversely, not all teachers can train--I realize that's true.

You also must be able to teach GROUPS. I used to be amazed at folks who had been teaching professionally for quite some time, but could not teach more than two at a time. Not saying I like group lessons for more intense subjects, but there is something to be said for getting eight ten year olds on thelwell ponies all going the same direction, doing the same thing--that you WANT them to do. :lol: :eek:

I do regret that once I moved to my own breeding farm I couldn't keep up with the travelling involved to keep my certifcation. It was very much about safety, standards and teaching. I met some of my best friends and mentors through CHA.

Kathy Johnson
Dec. 30, 2007, 04:16 AM
If you're not already thinking of it, it would be good article and resource for you to compile your research on these programs. I would love to see a comparison of the cost, the time spent and level of expertise to become certified in each program. For instance, in the Parelli program, you seem to win through longevity--it doesn't say what you have to know, merely how long you stay a one star, two star, etc. trainer.

The USDF program has a strong component in showing--I believe either the trainer or a student MUST have competition scores at second level and above to be certified in anything.

The Eventing program, from the little I know, seemed the most sensible, as I believe you actually mentor with someone.

Dec. 30, 2007, 02:53 PM
The correct link is www.equestrianeducation.org

A lot of this website appears to be dated (2006) and/or unavailable. Does anyone know the current status of the organization?

Dec. 30, 2007, 03:11 PM
Any time you can qualify for certification through a video, and sending money, I think you are being taken for a ride. As is the unwitting public,who hasn't a clue as to the value of the various certifications.

Then too, there are those who can talk, & walk the walk, but aren't really capable of teaching.

So as in all things in life, its "buyer beware".

Dec. 31, 2007, 09:53 AM
There is this place, listed as a place to train on the BHS site


Grand cypress exam dates


Stage 1 Exam 11 May 2008
Stage 2 Exam 12 May 2008
Stage 1 Exam 7 December 2008
Stage 2 Exam 8 December 2008
Preliminary Teaching Test 9 December 2008



Been there , done that and I highly recommend the program.

Dec. 31, 2007, 10:03 AM
--I believe either the trainer or a student MUST have competition scores at second level and above to be certified in anything.

Actually it's both the instructor AND the student who need qualifying scores at 2nd Level or above, if you're going for the USDF Instructor/Trainer T-2 certification. (They have a new area that is just for being a USDF Instructor, not Instructor/Trainer, that uses only their students scores.)

Dec. 31, 2007, 10:08 AM
CHA did very, very well by me.

You also must be able to teach GROUPS. I used to be amazed at folks who had been teaching professionally for quite some time, but could not teach more than two at a time. Not saying I like group lessons for more intense subjects, but there is something to be said for getting eight ten year olds on thelwell ponies all going the same direction, doing the same thing--that you WANT them to do. :lol: :eek:

USDF requires that you can teach group lessons, too. But it does seem a bit obsolete when you look at the direction dressage lessons have taken over the past 20 years. No one really learns enough in a group lesson, usually, to make it worthwhile. Privates and semi-privates are the most popular forms of lessons for a reason. :)