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Riva
Jan. 8, 2007, 03:45 PM
Is it worth getting a instructor's certificate through this organization? I know nothing about them, but I want to get my certification from somewhere. I believe it lowers my farm insurance if I have it too.

thanks for any input!

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Jan. 8, 2007, 10:43 PM
Hmm, not sure if old discussions on ARIA are still archived, but might be worth a search. Depending on your perspective, opinions are mixed.

I am ARIA certified in dressage and eventing, and found it a very useful process to go through as I was phasing out my desk job and starting to teach and train full time. Before you arrive for the testing, you are sent 20 essay questions to answer at home, and situations in them helped me think through things I had not yet experienced, but was bound to sooner or later. Questions about handling parents teaching from the rail, or things to discuss before helping someone horsehunt, for instance.

The process of making a 20 minute video was thought provoking, too, even before getting feedback from the person who viewed and graded it. Really makes you think through an appropriate lesson plan and how to execute it in that time frame!

Though I have gotten some inquiries from the website, I mostly teach people who already have their own horses, so I have referred on most of the calls I've gotten so far. Now that the footing is in the ring and I have a couple great schoolhorses I'll appreciate the referrals more. :)

The insurance discount is a good thing too, and the symposium was very interesting with access to helpful experts the two years I went. Not sure the symposium has happepned the past year or two though, but it has had people like George morris, Denny Emerson, and Mike Page as reulars, and various years Jane Savoie, and I think Jack LeGoff among others have been keynote speakers.

People who have known local instructors calling themselves ARIA certified have sometimes been skeptical of ARIA on COTH. I have always wondered if that is because to pass the level I certification you don't need a video, you don't need as good scores on teh tests, and in ARIA-speak it makes you certified as an assistant instructor. People do seem to earn that certification then call themselves "ARIA certified" (which I guess they are, to be fair, but not to the same standard as Level II and III instructors...)

Anyhow. Hope that helps, and good luck! I have found it a very useful organization to be involved with, if in different ways than I expected when I signed up for their testing.

Velvet
Jan. 8, 2007, 11:20 PM
Dang, Jeanette/ponygyrl, how the heck have you been? Long time no see/hear. :D

Any more trips to Rolex and Lexus test rides?? ;)

merrygoround
Jan. 8, 2007, 11:43 PM
Knowing where and how it started, and following it through the years, except for the great sales talk they have given the insurance industry, their certification is barely worth the paper.

Compared to BHSAI. BHSI, USEA, or USDF certification, there isn't any comparison.

As far as the speakers at their annual meeting. They speak because they are paid. I doubt any of them have truly examined the criteria.

But, if you feel the need to be "certified" have at it.

szipi
Jan. 9, 2007, 04:09 AM
Hi,
I actually went through the certification in 1995....years after becoming a certified trainer and instructor in Europe. Well, I do not agree with merrygoround, she probably never took the test. The tests are not very easy, especially at the advanced level, because there's no time to think. You have to know your stuff - or at least the stuff the ARIA thinks you need to know. The only problem is that with the ARIA that you become a professional, you learn on your own, you teach for years - and then you become certified. That's kind of backwards. Also, there's no riding or teaching demonstration involved - except for a videotape, which can theoretically be "faked". But at least this certification is something. www.prairiepinesfarm.com

I also attended USDF "pre-certification" clinics as well. I found it kind of ridiculous when people with much less experience and knowledge were trying to "teach" me and criticize what I was doing. Then they told me to attend other clinics 1000's of miles away and spend all sorts of money.... They are not a real serious group either.

www.prairiepinesfarm.com

Ange
Jan. 9, 2007, 07:23 AM
I am ARIA certified and have attended several USDF instructor workshops as well. In talking with people, I have noticed those who don't think highly of either certification have not gone through the process -- they are basing their opinion on others who have gone through it, instead of from first-hand experience.

Back to the OP -- ARIA is a worthwhile program. It is much more broad-based than the USDF program. It seeks to support riding instructors as professional business people, and gears the magazine and symposium to that much more than the USDF program does. The USDF program is geared more towards having everyone teach from the same knowledge base and with a similar teaching style, ARIA assumes the horse side of your professional development is on your own agenda, and aims to support you in the parts of the job you don't think about when you take your horse hobby pro -- things like keeping lessons fresh, how much insurance do you need, jugging demanding clients and maintaining balance between your professional life and your personal life.

Certification is like getting a B.S. degree -- it gets you a job, but to excel in that job you must continue professional development. Most dressage students are looking for a more sophisticated instructor, one that regularly continues to develop themselves after they get the certification paper. I think this is where ARIA certification gets a bad wrap, not because the certification is poor, but because the dressage client base is more sophisticated than the general equine client base.

I got certified when I was working at a barn with multiple instructors. I needed it for first-time students -- it tells those students you care enough about what you are doing to "put it to the test."

For the money, I get a lot out of my ARIA certificate. I attend USDF workshops when they are in the area for professional development, but don't see enough potential return on my investment to pursue the certification.

ESG
Jan. 9, 2007, 08:07 AM
In talking with people, I have noticed those who don't think highly of either certification have not gone through the process -- they are basing their opinion on others who have gone through it, instead of from first-hand experience.

That's a bit presumptuous of you, isn't it? Please don't ASSume that everyone relies on secondhand information to formulate an opinion. I'm one of those who doesn't think much of either program, and have been witness to both the certification process (from attending USDF instructor pre-certification clinics), and watching instructors certified from both entities perform. Agree with szipi and merrygoround that, for the most part, both are,.......................lacking. Severely lacking. Especially the ARIA - how can you certify someone as an instructor if you never see them ride or teach? :eek: What, exactly, are you certifying them for? What a farce! That's like handing someone a 70% score on a ride you've only seen and judged on video! What utter, utter nonsense. No wonder the standard of instruction in this country is what it is. :no:

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but this is my biggest pet peeve. Not only do we have incompetent instructors out there; now, it appears that we are (at least, through one entity) certifying them, without ever having witnessed them actually riding or teaching! WTF?!?!? Yeah, let's just give the newbies to the sport, that many more marginal instructors to wade through before finding someone who actually knows what they're doing. No offense to those certified by either entity, either. I know there are some good USDF and ARIA certified instructors out there, but with a certification that's based on an essay and a video? And I'm supposed to take them seriously and accord them the same respect as someone like me, who's been riding for 30 years and teaching for 20? And turned out numerous competent riders and well trained horses? Sorry - can't. :no:

Atlantis
Jan. 9, 2007, 09:35 AM
But, if you feel the need to be "certified" have at it.


I agree with merrygoround. I don't put a lot of stock in "instructor certification", but some people like to say they are "certified", whether "certified" really means anything significant or not.

Instructor certification also seems to be something for people who are "new" to it. Which means the very best, long time most experienced trainers and instructors are not certified. Imo, this takes credibility away from the certification process, when the best instructors are so established they don't bother and are uncertified, and most of the certified instructors are newbies.

"Grandfathering" might help with this credibility issue, but that also opens the door for a lot of politics.

AckAck
Jan. 9, 2007, 03:27 PM
As a newbie instructor (been teaching for about a year, riding for four years, working with horses on the ground at the track and on farms for 10 years), I don't think it is fair to assume that a less-experienced teacher is necessarily a bad teacher and therefore unworthy of "certification"...

I've been thinking about certification lately too... have been interested in the USDF workshops because, well, I teach dressage and wish to learn more (also interested in the BHS stable management), but there would be some advantages to having an ARIA certificate ... especially when dealing with the parents of children new to riding.

The question is, who are you getting the certification for? For yourself - to learn, to get lower insurance, to give a measure of confidence to parents of students? Or for "others", to prove that you are somehow worthy or superior as an instructor? For bragging rights? [This is the royal "you" here; I'm not singling anyone out].

I may go ahead and do the ARIA thing, but am I going to go around telling instructors and trainers more experienced than myself that I am "certified" ? Heck no! At the same time, fear of losing credibility among ones peers shouldn't stop one from certification.

Velvet
Jan. 9, 2007, 11:28 PM
I think that more of the experienced trainers in this country are becoming certified. There are still a lot who aren't, but I don't think it's only newbies anymore. I think some pros just like doing it, like adding another degree to your resume when you're in college (for some people, that is).

It's just something I've begun to notice. I was surprised at some of the people now involved in the USDF program. I was also surprised to see a recent series resulted in hardly any associate instructors. So maybe the program is improving. Not sure, since I haven't been to anything since the 90s, when the program first started. Hmmm...maybe I should at least audit.

Ah, I do miss the early days with Vi Hopkins and Major Lindgren. It really was a different time.

Velvet
Jan. 11, 2007, 12:31 PM
Hi,
I also attended USDF "pre-certification" clinics as well. I found it kind of ridiculous when people with much less experience and knowledge were trying to "teach" me and criticize what I was doing.

I was just thinking about this statement. I wanted to tell people something I learned at an instructor's workshop a loooong time ago. I knew a woman who rode at the upper levels and would come to these events and be a guinea pig for other instructor's so they could learn. She came did exactly what they asked her to do, and they could see if it worked and if what they were teaching was accurate and understandable. She knew it was not her job to do everything she knew, but rather to help them learn by doing what they asked and then letting the person in charge (typically Maj Lindgren) be the one to teach the instructor a better way of teaching.

In the pre-certs it's the same thing. You are there to learn from the staff organizing the pre-cert, NOT the instructor's. They are there to learn how to teach and what to teach from THEM. Not from the person on the horse. The instructors attending and being a guinea pig need to put their egos on the shelf and be there for the other instructors. Not the other way around. I think when you gain that perspective, you can help the other people. Your help in instructing, and what you've paid to learn, comes from the person on the side who is there to teach you how to be a better instructor. You're not there to learn to ride better from the other instructors.

I think this is a major problem with the program. People come thinking that it's all about them and that they are competing with the other instructors. That's not the right perspective to have, and not one that will help you learn (at least learn what the USDF program wants).

I'm so glad I met that person, and that I was able to do the earlier and much larger instructor's workshops. They really did help promote a better understanding and had some truly humble people teach other up and coming instructors what it meant to help others along the way.

Just a thought for all those thinking of participating or ever becoming a guinea pig for one of the programs. Please do so. It's very helpful. Even if some of the people act like DQs, know that you're doing it to better the sport and instruction in the U.S. :yes: And your participation will be appreciated in the long run!

ESG
Jan. 11, 2007, 03:03 PM
Well, what if the person doing the instructing in the pre-cert clinic is.....,well, incompetent? And focuses on stupid things? Like, telling the guinea pig rider that her polo wraps needed to have tape put over the velcro, so that she could be sure her wraps wouldn't come off during the ride? Or, doesn't critique the instructor candidate on her teaching technique until after her session is over, rather than giving her a chance to correct it? Or focuses on the negative, fast-paced, hurly-burly aspect of the certification process, rather than what you need to know to pass it?

If I, like you, had had the opportunity to clinic with competent instructors (as in "the old days"), I'd probably feel differently about it. But spending $250 for probably one hour of practice teaching, out of two hot, boring days of clinic under someone with a skewed focus, doesn't sound like a productive way to prepare for anything. And since that someone is approved by the certifying agency, what does that say about the credibility of the certification? Not much, IMO. :no:

Velvet
Jan. 11, 2007, 07:13 PM
I never said the program was great and didn't have a lot of issues (with the lack of real instructor training in HOW to teach better), I was saying that if you're the guinea pig, be the guinea pig. Don't argue with the instructor wannabe. Let them make their mistakes and let the USDF staff catch it. If they can't, then bring that up to the staff. In pre-certs the student is allowed to talk with the USDF staff/trainer. So you can say something at the end. But during the lesson don't worry that the person knows less than you. Do what they ask (and don't be snarky), and let them see what happens when you do what they've said. Let them LEARN by teaching and you being a helpful guinea pig (er, victim? ;) ).

I really think that the old workshops were much more helpful. Nowadays the focus does seem to be solely on getting certified, rather than on improving the instructors and letting them go on to the certification path once they feel they've learned enough. Or they can also just improve their teaching skills and not feel that they have to go and learn all the other persnickerty things (we all know how this goes when traines are evaluators--and you have to please each of them and avoid their pet peeves) to pass the tests.

merrygoround
Jan. 11, 2007, 08:35 PM
Hi,
I actually went through the certification in 1995....years after becoming a certified trainer and instructor in Europe. Well, I do not agree with merrygoround, she probably never took the test. The tests are not very easy, especially at the advanced level, because there's no time to think. You have to know your stuff - or at least the stuff the ARIA thinks you need to know. The only problem is that with the ARIA that you become a professional, you learn on your own, you teach for years - and then you become certified. That's kind of backwards. Also, there's no riding or teaching demonstration involved - except for a videotape, which can theoretically be "faked". But at least this certification is something. www.prairiepinesfarm.com

I also attended USDF "pre-certification" clinics as well. I found it kind of ridiculous when people with much less experience and knowledge were trying to "teach" me and criticize what I was doing. Then they told me to attend other clinics 1000's of miles away and spend all sorts of money.... They are not a real serious group either.

www.prairiepinesfarm.com

At least the stuff ARIA thinks you should know?? :) To my knowledge everyone out there doing the workshops, the pre-cert, and thecertification have tremendous mileage and excellent credentials.

SapeloApp
Jan. 11, 2007, 10:25 PM
I was "certified" with ARIA, and maintained it for a number of years. I am of two minds regarding ARIA certification -- on one hand, the hype about lowering your insurance occurs only if you have a gross income of $25,000/yr from teaching (otherwise there's no 15% discount) left a sour taste in my mouth... as I became certified before I hung my shingle out, and wanted instructor insurance before I took on that liability. Farm liability is NOT what is addressed, according to the agents. And if you decide to try going through a different agent, guess what... they all are agents for the one insurance company that sponsors ARIA, and then that company gets snitty because you tried to go through someone else.

ARIA does NOT teach anyone how to teach riding. They are set up to certifiy that you are a professional business person in whatever you teach. That is, if you know enough information to pass the test, their interest is in not shafting the student on fees, and handling irate or nosey or obnoxious parents, and managing the safety aspect of teaching. They don't care whether you can post on the right diagonal, nor teach it... but do you have your student wear a helmet and heeled shoes, and charge a fair fee, and have safe tack and a calm horse. In its own right, this is important stuff.

The third thing about ARIA is it is gear specifically for children student, NOT for adult students. I spoke with what's her name, the one who is head of it, because the rank you test for can change because you have 'teaching experience' in something other than riding. I taught adults at the community college -- EMT/Paramedic -- for 15 years, and have a masters in Adult Ed. Didn't count because I needed three years of teaching in an elementary school! I have no children students, and don't want any. But it didn't count with them.

The newsletter they send out is good information. The people involved in writing in the magazine have good information. But overall, not worth the money nor the time to get certified. (Oh yeah... and the tests are not all that well written, either. I spent many years working on EMT/Paramedic item writing for state certification, and item analysis. I know good questions and I know bad ones.)

Knowing what I know now... not a chance.

Velvet
Jan. 11, 2007, 11:56 PM
The comment on only teaching adults and not kids made me think of something else. I really, really want to know why instructors for dressage (specifically) are asked to do group lessons. I have taught for a looooong time, and I've never taught a group dressage lesson. Oh, other types of lessons, but not specifically dressage. So I've always wondered why that is part of the criteria in this day and age. Does anyone even bother to try and teach groups? The most I've taught (in forever--not when I was younger) is now a group of three people. I think that privates and semi-private lessons (two people) are the only way to accomplish enough for people to get their money's worth.

Anyone else have thoughts on this? I think group lessons are fun, and you can do quadrilles, etc., but not to really get focused on the fundamentals, or the more subtle aspects of dressage.

szipi
Jan. 12, 2007, 01:46 AM
At least the stuff ARIA thinks you should know?? :) To my knowledge everyone out there doing the workshops, the pre-cert, and thecertification have tremendous mileage and excellent credentials.


I understand that there are some competent people among the USDF certification staff. The ones I have "trained" with were totally incompetent. Very few people in the USDF truly know how to really train horses, especially young horses. What they practice is far, far from the true, classical basics. What they forget is "dressage" means "training" and not just plugging around in circles in a tiny enclosed space. The people who run it are true Dressage Queens.

I can tell you endless stories, but the most prominent was when they put me on an OTTB (5 years-old, 6 months off the track), in an ill-fitting saddle. Never mind that the horses brought there were supposed to be at least 2nd level. Also, when I checked the horses's teeth, they have never been done and even had a wolf tooth. Add to the picture that I am 6'5" and about #220. The horse worked much better under me that the owner - because I actually know how to re-train ex racehorses. The instructor even acknowledged it - that the horse worked very well, but said: " Now, we have to teach you how to sit deep in the saddle and drive more with your legs". What can you say to idiots like this one? I just said that "if you bring me a 2nd level horse, I may just be able to do that". So they put me on a 14H, 17 YO arabian mare, who was just brough in from the pasture and warned me that "be careful, she will not take the leg!". That's when I had it with that group.

Other people may have different experiences, based on the clinician and the quality of the horses that participated. However, there should be standards not just for the aspiring instructors, but the USDF clinicians and examiners as well.

ElizaS
Jan. 12, 2007, 09:17 AM
Michael Poulin
Lilo Fore
Lendon Gray
Cindy Sydnor
Maryal Barnett
Gerhard Politz
Kathy Connelly
Debbie Bowman

Which one is it again who is totally incompetent and has no credentials? I find that more than a little hard to believe. Perhaps the truth hurts to hear and it's easier to find fault with others.

merrygoround
Jan. 12, 2007, 11:01 AM
Szipi--Oh My gosh-- a wolf tooth.:eek:

Don't come near my barn or ride any of my horses. They may have wolf teeth.

Come on get real-Lendon Grey can't train? Mike Poulin can't train? Do you think they came outta the womb in tall black boots, complete with spurs, and never wore anything but white breeches? :lol: :lol:

ESG
Jan. 12, 2007, 11:26 AM
Michael Poulin
Lilo Fore
Lendon Gray
Cindy Sydnor
Maryal Barnett
Gerhard Politz
Kathy Connelly
Debbie Bowman

Which one is it again who is totally incompetent and has no credentials? I find that more than a little hard to believe. Perhaps the truth hurts to hear and it's easier to find fault with others.

There is one on that list that is,................questionable. :winkgrin:

mbarrett
Jan. 12, 2007, 12:32 PM
I'd like to conribute my 10 cents worth to this discussion. My husband is a certified ARIA instructor, a level III (advanced) in reining and western. In order to become certified, he put in a lot of effort, time and money. He studied, wrote answers to 20 essay questions, took the test, was interviewed, and had to video tape a lesson at the advanced level. It was very time consuming. He was recertified 5 years later. He had to retest, submit an new video, answer 20 more questions, etc.

I was impressed at the variety of assessments the ARIA uses to certifies their insturctors. I am a teacher so I can say this with authority.

Remember, the ARIA has a limited budget, so having a person observe a lesson would be time consuming and cost prohibitive. It's the best system they have in place at this time. Is it perfect, maybe not, but it works for them.

Also, we all click with different types of insturctors. Some work for us, others don't. We are all different types of learners, so we need to find an instructor that reaches us.

Please don't trash the ARIA because you know one person that isn't a good insturctor. Not all ARIA instrocutors are bad.

Thanks.

ESG
Jan. 12, 2007, 02:18 PM
I'm sorry, but IMHO, you can't get a good idea of exactly how effective/knowledgeable an instructor is, from a videotape. If ARIA wants to be taken seriously as a certifying entity, it needs to find a way to gear up the budget to accommodate live evaluation.

Seriously, would you take a video lesson from an instructor? Of course not. So why would you pay someone certified by video? Doesn't make sense. :no:

rileyt
Jan. 12, 2007, 03:18 PM
Of all of the certification programs out there, I think perhaps BHS is the most comprehensive.

I hear you about the video-taping. Sure it is a weakness in the ARIA certification, and I'm sure some people sneak through with weak riding skills.

but there are a lot of positives about the program too. The essays provide a chance to give complex analysis to common situations (ones that may never present themselves if you did a "live" lesson). It forces applicants to be able to compose answers for a variety of situations. In that way, I think it is a good test.

Also, the in-person testing makes certain that no one is totally faking the whole thing. Again, its more of a theory test than a practicum, but its a good start.

So, I think it would be possible for an ARIA person to have a good knowledge of theory and not be a particularly strong rider.

but then again, I know lots of "trainers" out there who are wonderful riders themselves, but can't teach for beans (and probably wouldn't even know what kind of bit was in their horse's mouth).

I guess what I'm saying is, ARIA may not be the perfect solution... but its one of the better options at this point.

Velvet
Jan. 12, 2007, 03:20 PM
From what I understand the ARICP video tape is of the instructor teaching a lesson to a student they know and normally teach. To me, this is an even better judge of how the instructor teaches. You would get to first see if the instructor can teach, and where the students truly are in their riding who have been with them for a while. You would also get to see if they notice something on their own that needs to be worked on. Watching people teach someone who they've never taught only gives you a very quick snapshot. Seeming someone who has had lessons for a long time with the trainer shows you a bit more about what they can achieve with their students.

Just a thought...

Atlantis
Jan. 12, 2007, 03:26 PM
Please don't trash the ARIA because you know one person that isn't a good insturctor. Not all ARIA instrocutors are bad.

I don't know that people are "trashing" the ARIA so much as saying ARIA and various other "certification" programs aren't very important or meaningful to them. I'm sure there are probably good instructors who are ARIA "certified". However, I know for a fact there are great instructors who are NOT certified by ARIA, BHS, USDF, or anyone else. Which can make a person reasonably wonder at the necessity of "certification".

That's the only point some of us were making.

ESG
Jan. 12, 2007, 04:42 PM
I'm going to have to disagree with Velvet. It's easier to teach someone you've been teaching, and look competent, than it is to teach a stranger with whom you've no prior relationship. That, IMO, is the true test of a competent instructor. Let's face it; if you went to a clinician for the first time, you've no history with that person, yet you expect to get something beneficial from one ride. That, as much as I dislike the USDF system, is something they do provide, and ARIA does not. And yes, it's expensive - so is BHS, which is the only real certification that's worth anything, IMO. But as with most other things in life, you get what you pay for. And given a choice between someone with no certification but a great reputation, someone with BHS certification, someone with USDF certification and someone with ARIA certification, I'd choose in the order listed. :winkgrin:

Funckyfilly
Jan. 12, 2007, 04:58 PM
ESG I totally agree with you. I would take lessons with someone with a proven track record (students doing well, showing well herself, keeping up with their own trainging, etc.) .before I would take a "certified" somebody I don't know or had never heard of

FuelsterFarm
Jan. 12, 2007, 05:13 PM
I am going to the ARIA certification in March... not because I think it is a great indicator of anything, but because we are building a barn, and like it or not, the bank wants something more concrete (in their minds) than my list of accomplishments.

In the meantime, I am working at my USDF certification, but it is really cost prohibitive to a young person such as myself. Worthwhile, but expensive. BHS is out of the question, which is too bad.

I like to think that my 4 years as a working student and the competitive success of both horses and students that I have worked with are the most meaningful "tangible" I can offer, but sometimes it is not enough.

We also need to keep in mind that students newer to riding or specific equine sports have no real way of measuring a trainer as they do not have the background themselves to make objective decisions. Having a certification at least shows these kinds of clients (which in my part of the world are our bread and butter) that a trainer has invested something more of themselves than simply hanging out a shingle, and have been "graded" in some way by their peer group. (If you saw the "trainers" in my area you would be mortified and begin to understand where I am coming from)!

The other concern we face in Wisconsin is that the state is trying to make certification of some type mandatory in the future. Who knows how far out that day will be, but I would rather have a jump on the process.

ESG
Jan. 12, 2007, 10:07 PM
But the ARIA certified instructors aren't being judged by a peer group. They're being judged off a videotape, and an essay. Sorry, but I can't see the difference between someone who hangs out a shingle, and someone who gets certified by the equivalent of an online college or correspondence course. At least the latter two have some sort of standard; the student must pass the tests on material the school provides. With ARIA, it seems to me that if you talk a good game, and show yourself working with a student (that no one knows for sure that you taught, or if that student came to you already competent :winkgrin: ), in a non-interactive video, you're pretty much assured of getting your certification. Bogus, IMHO.

And Fuelster, I would be very surprised if your bank has heard of ARIA. ;)

SapeloApp
Jan. 12, 2007, 11:04 PM
ESG -- I don't know about her bank, but MY bank knew about ARIA! Of course, the loan officer is a horse person...

Actually, holding a certification does show the bank (and the IRS, for those in the US) that you are somehow sincere about your intents, whether or not the officials know what "ARIA" or "USDF" or "CHA" mean, and they don't much care what the process is to achieve said certification. I guess it's much like us calling our horse doc's "Dr" or "Vet", but not going for details on their years of learning, what classes they took, how they did on their exams, etc. Some things go on faith.

I will say that my ARIA certification never helped me, nor did it hurt me. The self-exploration involved with the "20 questions" was a very beneficial experience, however, and much more complex than it orignially sounded.

SapeloApp
Jan. 12, 2007, 11:07 PM
Oh, one other thing, ESG. From your stated opinions, it is fairly obvious that you are unfamiliar with the process of "grading" that ARIA undertakes. You might find it interesting to explore it a bit... you might be surprised.

Velvet
Jan. 12, 2007, 11:15 PM
Oh, I do think that clinicing is the best way to test your teaching skills, and the USDF does afford a bit of that situation. But typically they will give you a set topic to teach a person about, not letting you do it as you would in a clinic or with a typical student in front of you. In those instances you prioritize things, and that shows a bit more of who you are and what you know. Sometimes they mix the two, which also helps, but I think that USDF would benefit from seeing a person teach someone over a couple of days vs one short ride. Make it like a clinic. Let the people see if the instructor has noticed any real changes or not, and what they think they should be focusing on the second day. That would be very telling in a lot of situations. I know that it would make the logistics much more difficult. Too bad they can't partner up with one place and do all the testing there. Then again, it's already cost prohibitive for a lot of people, and the travel would just make it more so.

SapeloApp
Jan. 13, 2007, 10:16 AM
One does not have to watch someone for a long period to figure out if they have good teaching methodologies or weak ones, just as most of us can watch a rider for only a few minutes to know if they can ride or not. You don't need to study them for an hour or two to make up your mind, or to see if they get better with time.

One of the weakest areas of riding instruction is the concept that if someone is a good rider, they'd be a good riding teacher. That's actually akin to saying someone who rides well can cook banquet meals. Riding and teaching are entirely different skills. One can see clearly from a video, as they can from an in-person situation, whether the teaching skills areadequately in place.

ESG
Jan. 13, 2007, 10:17 AM
Oh, one other thing, ESG. From your stated opinions, it is fairly obvious that you are unfamiliar with the process of "grading" that ARIA undertakes. You might find it interesting to explore it a bit... you might be surprised.

Thanks, but no thanks. If and when I decide to get certified, it won't be through an entity who gives out credentials on the strength of a video and an essay. :winkgrin:

ESG
Jan. 13, 2007, 10:22 AM
One can see clearly from a video, as they can from an in-person situation, whether the teaching skills areadequately in place.

This is where we'll agree to disagree. No, one can't. One can see that someone knows how to parrot what they believe to be "right", to someone they know to be a competent rider, and have that rider follow directions. And there's no way to know whether or not that instructor actually got that rider to his/her current competent state. So, all you really see in a video is someone talking, and someone else listening and following directions. Given the right script, my mother could direct me to do certain things while riding, and she'd look like the competent instructor she'd never pass herself off as, in person. ;)

SapeloApp
Jan. 13, 2007, 05:43 PM
ESG -- Apparently you are not differentiating appropriately or do not understand what is meant by "teaching methodologies". What I think I am seeing you say is that you cannot tell how well an instructor has taught one student over time via video. What I am saying is the assessors are not looking at student growth as their evaluative tool, but rather the way in which the instructor is presenting information. Does the voice project pleasantly, invitingly and clearly? Are directions clearly given? Is the student not berated for errors but rather appropriately corrected? Are the off-the-wall questions asked by the student handled with aplomb or pooh-poohed? Is the overall setting condusive to the learning environment or is it strewn with potentially unsafe obstacles? Does the instructor present him/herself in a professional manner? In great measure, the video shows whether the instructor knows HOW to teach, NOT "what" to teach. There are other evaluative tools to test that part. Teaching in and of itself is a big topic. That's why they have entire colleges dedicated to the topic, not just a couple of self-help articles in a slick magazine and a clinic or two you can attend.

ESG
Jan. 13, 2007, 08:46 PM
Oh, I see - ARIA just wants to know that you know how to teach, but doesn't care whether it's right or not?

Yeah - I definitely want certification in that! :rolleyes:

SapeloApp
Jan. 13, 2007, 09:23 PM
Oh, I see - ARIA just wants to know that you know how to teach, but doesn't care whether it's right or not?

Yeah - I definitely want certification in that! :rolleyes:

LOL The two go hand-in-hand! That's why they test knowledge/theory, essay the dickens out of your plans, and expect you to prove that you have some teaching methodologies to back up your core knowledge... and to foster safety. These are not bad goals and objectives.

As an organization, I found that ARIA did not fulfill what I thought they would-- for me, in my situation. Doesn't mean they aren't the cat's meow for others who have a different situation to work with.

ESG
Jan. 14, 2007, 12:37 AM
But that's not what you said, is it? You said, ...."the video shows whether the instructor knows HOW to teach, not what to teach". Who cares whether they know how to teach, if their knowledge of what to teach isn't sound? And sorry again, but you can fake both a video and an essay; I did it constantly in school. :winkgrin:

I stand behind my previous statement. No entity that doesn't examine its applicants for certification in person isn't worth anyone's time, and is no indication of expertise of the certified instructor. Try selling that to BHS, and they'll laugh you out of the room, and rightfully so. And I'd be willing to bet that if the banks, insurance companies, and other institutions hung up on that fabled piece of paper actually knew about ARIA's "standards", they'd think twice about granting discounts and other perks to those who hold certification from them. ;)

As always, JMO. :cool:

SapeloApp
Jan. 14, 2007, 11:01 AM
Interesting response, ESG. What are you fearful of?

And no, what I said was that the tape showed teaching mechanics, and a parenthetical sentence after that stated that core knowledge was tested through another means. But that's neither here nor there...

Personally, I don't care whether any given instructor is certified. I have faith in my knowledge and a lot of knowledge about teaching methodologies so that I can watch an instructor, see how they're achieving what they're achieving, and either I will choose to put myself in a learning situation with them or shy away from them. I know some instructors are good at some parts, and other instructors are good at other parts of riding.

But I'm not a soccer mommy who knows zilch about horses, stuck with a horse-crazy daughter who wants riding lessons please please please please please, with no means to judge WHAT teacher or WHAT barn would be a suitable place to placate the child. THAT's a strong point for ARIA certification... not dressage queens wanting to clinic with BNTs (who probably don't hold ARIA certification, and generally don't need it).

ESG
Jan. 14, 2007, 12:05 PM
I'm not afraid of anything. I just don't like it when someone gives away certification that,..........well, means zilch. And that will very likely mislead that soccer mom with the horse crazy daughter, by making her think that the certification actually means something. A piece of paper, however valuable/worthless, tends to add credibility to those who may not deserve it. She isn't going to get a better instructor just because s/he is ARIA certified; just means that that instructor went and got a piece of paper - period. You said yourself that the organization disappointed you; why are you defending them so vehemently? I would think that anyone with the certification that doesn't think much of the organization who gave it them, would be steering others away from it, rather than defending its validity. :winkgrin:

SapeloApp
Jan. 14, 2007, 04:32 PM
ESG -- ARIA did not fit my needs as my situation unfolded. No apologies about that. And it certainly doesn't make ARIA a "bad" thing at all. I AM supportive of the ideals presented by any valid certification program and shall defend those I have a belief in against those who trash-talk them out of sheer lack of knowledge and fear of researching for knowledge -- what I consider to be a staunch fear of having to admit something to either themselves or the public. Others, perhaps, call it "prejudice."

I do note a number of "instructors" list all the famous-name clinicians they've studied with, and then post pictures of themselves riding. I sometimes find this to be ... confusing. Is that person displaying poor position/form despite those they've ridden with or because of the instruction they've received? Well, I do have to say I have yet to run into this type of situation with someone who is touting their certification with a valid certifying agency...only those who are NOT certified.

ESG
Jan. 14, 2007, 09:47 PM
You're obviously more fortunate in Indiana than we are in Texas (and in Florida, from ME ;) ); there is a plethora of certified instructors (and I won't say from which entity) that I wouldn't trust to teach an up-down lesson, much less a more advanced dressage lesson.

FuelsterFarm
Jan. 15, 2007, 02:54 PM
ARIA has evolved somewhat from what ESG describes. To be "certified" at the various levels requires a variety of tests both general information and specific information as regards the "specialty" disciplines you seek certification in.

Is it great - no. Is it what we have available - yes. Does my bank (no horsepeople there) or the IRS care what the more educated riders/trainers in the country think about the program - no.

My feeling is that in general, as compared to the other "trainers" in my part of the world, my training and experience are far superior. My students tend to feel the same way, however, my bank does not care how I feel, they want a piece of paper.

I was a working student for 2 years with Michelle Gibson, I ride FEI and have trained 2 of my own horses to PSG. Do students just entering the equine world (my bank, the IRS) have any idea what this means - sadly, no. Michelle could be smoe lady down the block who trail rides for all they know of our sport.

USDF certification is on my agenda, and I have started the process. Can my finances and schedule allow me to complete, in the next 3 months, the process - no.

So, what are my alternatives (or others in my situation)?

We all feel the same, that when looking for advanced instruction (meaning above the national average of Training level) ARIA certification is fairly meaningless. But in terms of the general population of riders, it does have its place.

Really, if you saw what passed for "training" where I live, you would understand my position on this issue. If you have ever touched a horse, it seems you can call yourself a trainer and get away with it (at least for the short term) here!

Here's an example of a "competitor" of mine, locally - wealthy woman (Dr. husband) who has 2 kids and a couple of backyard horses. Buys an existing facility, hangs out her shingle. Teaches students to grip with knees, hang on reins, almost constantly has horses in draw reins - even in hands of young, inexperienced riders, does not ride herself, sends horses out every spring for a couple of months to another "trainer" (same philosophy) for tune up, students show on local "open" circuit. Success on local circuit, tries some Dressage schooling shows, kids not even getting in the 50's... but well known and regarded where we live with about 15 regular students on the circuit.

Her theory and knowledge would fill a teaspoon, if that. Could she become certified - not too likely, even at the lowest level. It does take some thought (for which you need some experience and knowledge) and the testing would likely be far above her level of general knowledge, much less the specialized knowledge for discipline certification.

This is where I see a value - other than for financing.

ESG
Jan. 15, 2007, 08:29 PM
ARIA has evolved somewhat from what ESG describes. To be "certified" at the various levels requires a variety of tests both general information and specific information as regards the "specialty" disciplines you seek certification in.

Oh, do the specialties require face-to-face examination? That's the point with which I have the biggest issue. "Correspondence course certification" may work with some job descriptions, but it cuts no ice with training horses or riders. ;)


But in terms of the general population of riders, it does have its place.

Where, pray? :confused:


Really, if you saw what passed for "training" where I live, you would understand my position on this issue. If you have ever touched a horse, it seems you can call yourself a trainer and get away with it (at least for the short term) here!

So your area is the same as every other place in the country that I've lived. ARIA isn't addressing this problem, nor can it. Nor can any other certification entity. Because it's that sort that won't bother to try to get certified, because they know they won't pass. The problem with ARIA, as it has been described here, is that you don't need to know much more than this type of "trainer" to get certified. Just talk a good game, write a decent essay, and voilia` - you have a piece of paper that says you're a certified instructor. Means bupkes.


Here's an example of a "competitor" of mine, locally - wealthy woman (Dr. husband) who has 2 kids and a couple of backyard horses. Buys an existing facility, hangs out her shingle. Teaches students to grip with knees, hang on reins, almost constantly has horses in draw reins - even in hands of young, inexperienced riders, does not ride herself, sends horses out every spring for a couple of months to another "trainer" (same philosophy) for tune up, students show on local "open" circuit. Success on local circuit, tries some Dressage schooling shows, kids not even getting in the 50's... but well known and regarded where we live with about 15 regular students on the circuit.

Her theory and knowledge would fill a teaspoon, if that. Could she become certified - not too likely, even at the lowest level. It does take some thought (for which you need some experience and knowledge) and the testing would likely be far above her level of general knowledge, much less the specialized knowledge for discipline certification.

This is where I see a value - other than for financing.

So, you want to differentiate yourself from this person by getting a virtually meaningless certification? Why bother? Other than the financing, of course? Why not let your expertise in instruction and training be exhibited by your students and horses? At the end of the day, that's all that's necessary. Again, except for financing.

SapeloApp
Jan. 16, 2007, 12:08 AM
Again, ESG, you have illustrated quite clearly that you are unfamiliar with ARIA's program, espousing vociferously without background information. Why do you feel so threatened by a program of certification that you have no intention of going through? Or that you even avoid researching, chosing instead to sling false statements like they are somehow golden drops of truth?

Yes, there is face-time during the written testing where the core theory and knowlege is tested, as well as extemporatious teaching during that part of the process. This "face-time" does not occur in an arena with a horse, but that doesn't make it any less valid than, say, a physician taking a written test at a desk rather than in a surgical suite with a patient cut open in front of him/her.

rileyt
Jan. 16, 2007, 09:19 AM
I have seen some really horrendous "teaching" in my lifetime. When I think of the truly scary people I have seen, I do not doubt that none of them would pass ARIA's standards.

So, in terms of whether ARIA certification has value... yes, I think it does.
Perhaps it only certifies people at a minimal level of competency, but that is something. That is a start.

I think the certification is more basic than BHS or USDF, but... BHS is very hard to come by in this country,... and USDF is specialized (and, not to mention, extremely expensive).

As others have said, it may not be a helpful certification for a competent "basic" rider who is already about Training Level, and looking for help moving up.

But it can be very helpful for the soccer mom who is trying to keep her kid from learning from some of the absolute charletons I've seen.

When we think about dressage, we think of Training level as the "bottom" of the scale. And, while some riders get on a horse, and really start with dressage lessons, I'd venture to say that's very few.

Most riders in this country start in their backyard, or at a local lesson barn (presumably hunter jumper). It is a sub-level of general riding experience that most people get before they choose to specialize in dressage or some other discipline. Let's face it, how many non-riders even know what dressage is??? Precious few.

So, for the suburbanite soccer mom who's looking for a riding school on the fly. I think ARIA is helpful. Having known some ARIA teachers, none (that I knew) were spectacular teacher who could train me to GP, but all were varying shades of "competent."

FuelsterFarm
Jan. 16, 2007, 09:12 PM
ESG,

I must say that I really resent the snide tone in the remarks that you are making.

We have all agreed with you on a basic level that the certification is not much, but again, what alternatives are there?

In my state, the plan is to make some sort of certification mandatory in the not too distant future (the recent talk is 2010) - the alternatives being discussed in the state legislature are ARIA and CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association - which in my mind is FAR worse than ARIA), as they are both "established" programs and address a wide variety of disciplines, rather than being sport-specific.

I do think having some sort of certification now is a benefit to me, not in that it will really help me or my students out, but will help Ms. Soccer Mom to make some kind of decision about who Susie should take lessons from.

What we are discussing is a GRASS ROOTS kind of program. If you are any more advanced than that, it will not have meaning to you unless some dramatic improvements are made. As we have ALL said previously.

Yes, I do feel that (especially for local prospective clients) having a piece of paper shows that I have at least made an effort, unlike the charlatans in my area.

My show record, training and the results of my students do garner me the most clients, and I am not banking (except for the financing for the new barn and arena) on certification to do the work for me.

Velvet
Jan. 16, 2007, 09:26 PM
I think it's very funny that there was a recent article in the USEF mag about the hunter/jumpers getting certified. They are seeing a need for certification in their sport. They recognize that the USDF and USEA currently have programs. GM also pointed out that in Sweden you have to be licensed to teach, period, end of story. He thinks that it should become that way in the U.S. If we have people of that caliber pushing for certification of instructors in this country, and we also have states already setting in motion laws where you have to be licensed to teach, it will be interesting to see what happens with all those instructors who have not been testing and getting certified when they have to. I'm guessing the ARICP program (if acceptable to the governing bodies) will become an avenue that some people will run to for certification.

ESG, which one will you run to for your certification if there is a law passed in TX requiring certification to teach? Would you run to europe for certification and hope that it's accepted over here?

Seriously, I'm curious. It seems there is a movement afoot, and you will have to take some avenue. If you don't agree with any of them you might want to help with the rules that will be instituted that identify who really is qualified to teach. I know all programs have flaws at this time, but what can be done to fix them? Where's the helpful advice? And it would seem you are of a mind that there should be some way to identify the good apples from the bad, so why not some sort of certification program?

Adamantane
Feb. 3, 2007, 12:28 PM
A couple of points as a 'consumer' of riding training, as someone 'certified' in a non-riding related field, and as an observer of flaky trends in the world.

We live in a credential-obsessed world.

Everywhere you look people have pieces of paper to 'prove' this, that or the next thing, so that individuals encountering them and interested in their services won't actually have to think about whether the credentialed individual is any damn good at what they do.

Perhaps the most ridiculous examples are places where manicurists and hair-braiders must be occupationally licensed: it should be instantly obvious to anyone whether a hair braider can braid or a manicurist can trim nails and cuticles and file as needed. And if they can't, there is no real harm done, customers just don't go back and they tell their friends. (Of course the real reason for the licensure is to keep out competition by legal force, but that's another story.)

I obtained professional certification in an area where I had worked for many years. To even sit for the exam, I needed to have years of experience doing what I had done. To prepare for it I needed to at least become aware of things that didn't apply to my corner of the world but did apply to other folks in other industries. That last aspect was at least valuable in filling in a few blanks in my knowledge to make me a little more well-rounded. But it became clear to me that my experience, not my credential, was what counted to my employer or any future employer or client, and having the certification per se was pretty much useless. Nobody respected it and it never earned me a dime more. What's more, keeping it up was an expensive proposition since it required a lot of seminars and courses and entailed an enormous amount of bureaucratic BS.

The last straw was when they told me that some qualifying courses I had taken could not count toward the continuing education requirement not because they weren't satisfactorily completed or I had not learned whatever I was supposed to, but simply because I hadn't recorded them fast enough with the certifying body. Even though if everything had been counted and duly recorded I would have fulfilled the renewal criteria, I decided to just let it go.

The fact that the two people from whom I've taken lessons as an adult student starting from scratch ("this is a horse") happen to have held certification credentials had nothing whatever to do with my choice to take lessons with them. They each had taught before, people who took lessons with them were satisfied with the progress they made, from the outset each seemed focussed on safety, I knew them fairly well at the time I started with each, they were very interactive, and apart from the obvious fact each could ride well, people I knew who were far more expert than I felt they were competent to teach me whatever I needed to know. I didn't learn until long afterward that each had some third-party credential, and it made no difference to me once I did.

So the quality and criteria for some credential and certifying body are pretty much incidental. No doubt some are more rigorous than others, but who really cares?

Why put trust in some credential when as a consumer you have eyes and mind, when you can ask questions and get opinions from people who have observed the individual, certified or not, in action?

Will the credential bail you out if you get into trouble by relying on it? Nope.

Will the certifying body jump in and pay the bills (or whatever) to correct some bad event? Nope.

Best I can tell is that the credentialing organizations provide an educational service to those they certify by ensuring to some extent, more or less, that they have been exposed to (and presumably learned something from) a body of relevant knowledge.

It sounds as if ARIA provides a business context for its instructors, so people who know nothing about riding as a business can get themselves organized to have a better chance of successfully making a living at teaching. (Would that the veterinary schools provide something similar so that all vets going into private practice have some idea how to run a business.:yes:)

Seems to me that the educational and professional contact aspects are at least of some value to the people certified. Those are likely worth a hell of a lot more in the world than the certificate itself, which is just a piece of paper allowing would-be customers to get away with not thinking and asking questions.

If I were a parent who wanted to arrange riding lessons for my little kid, I wouldn't rely on some paper from an organization of which I never had heard (much less some idiotic government bureaucracy). I'd ask around until I was satisfied.

And incidentally, what if George Morris' folks had quibbled that Gordon Wright lacked official certification as a riding instructor?

AllWeatherGal
Feb. 3, 2007, 01:30 PM
I was a guinea rider for a USDF instructor certification workshop several years ago.

What I saw was an attempt to develop some minimum standards, policies, and procedures around basic concepts.

That's what my experience with the BHS program was all about, too. The programs were not about guaranteeing great teachers, but that guaranteeing an understanding of a set of methodologies and some baselined skills.

Frankly, neither of the two people I most often take lessons from/with are certified and I'm not worried about it. One of them talks about getting the paperwork, primarily to help the younger instructors with whom she works gain legitimacy. But that's a business issue. And I think Adamantane has it right about the whole credential-obsession.

ESG
Feb. 3, 2007, 05:22 PM
ESG, which one will you run to for your certification if there is a law passed in TX requiring certification to teach? Would you run to europe for certification and hope that it's accepted over here?

I'd go with BHS. It's the only one worth spit, and you can get certified right here in the good ole USA. No need to run to Europe.


Seriously, I'm curious. It seems there is a movement afoot, and you will have to take some avenue. If you don't agree with any of them you might want to help with the rules that will be instituted that identify who really is qualified to teach. I know all programs have flaws at this time, but what can be done to fix them? Where's the helpful advice? And it would seem you are of a mind that there should be some way to identify the good apples from the bad, so why not some sort of certification program?

I've already stated what I think to be the best way to find a competent instructor. Go to a horse show. Watch. Listen. Pick out two or three of the trainers whose horses/students you think go best. Take "audition" lessons with all of them, then choose. In short, as my mom says, use the sense God gave you to find the best trainer for you. :)

ESG
Feb. 3, 2007, 05:24 PM
ESG,

I must say that I really resent the snide tone in the remarks that you are making.

We have all agreed with you on a basic level that the certification is not much, but again, what alternatives are there?

In my state, the plan is to make some sort of certification mandatory in the not too distant future (the recent talk is 2010) - the alternatives being discussed in the state legislature are ARIA and CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association - which in my mind is FAR worse than ARIA), as they are both "established" programs and address a wide variety of disciplines, rather than being sport-specific.

I do think having some sort of certification now is a benefit to me, not in that it will really help me or my students out, but will help Ms. Soccer Mom to make some kind of decision about who Susie should take lessons from.

What we are discussing is a GRASS ROOTS kind of program. If you are any more advanced than that, it will not have meaning to you unless some dramatic improvements are made. As we have ALL said previously.

Yes, I do feel that (especially for local prospective clients) having a piece of paper shows that I have at least made an effort, unlike the charlatans in my area.

My show record, training and the results of my students do garner me the most clients, and I am not banking (except for the financing for the new barn and arena) on certification to do the work for me.

But that's just it - with the current standards, ARIA doesn't help Ms. Soccer Mom find the best trainer. In fact, it might mislead Ms. Soccer Mom to believe that because someone is certified, they're more qualified than someone who isn't. Which, I think we all agree, is the case with current certification programs. They don't prove $h!t, and they don't represent anything. An MBA from Harvard is a great deal different than an MBA from Moo U, and most sensible people understand that. But an inept, yet certified instructor can and will cause far more harm than a competent, uncertified instructor. And again, I've seen far more inept certified instructors than competent ones. :eek: ARIA bestows certification on people they never see. Sorry, but that's just wrong. :no:

And if truth sounds "snide" to you, sorry about that. This is a discussion. You're not required to read/respond to/like all the comments made. I think ARIA is a waste of time. You don't. Bully for you. Get your piece of paper and make your bankers happy. Carry on. :cool:

ESG
Feb. 3, 2007, 05:33 PM
Why put trust in some credential when as a consumer you have eyes and mind, when you can ask questions and get opinions from people who have observed the individual, certified or not, in action?

Ding, ding, ding, ding - we have a winner! :D


If I were a parent who wanted to arrange riding lessons for my little kid, I wouldn't rely on some paper from an organization of which I never had heard (much less some idiotic government bureaucracy). I'd ask around until I was satisfied.

Exactly. Use the sense God gave you. If you're so foolish that you discount what your eyes, ears, and good common sense tell you, you don't deserve to be on the back of a horse to begin with.


And incidentally, what if George Morris' folks had quibbled that Gordon Wright lacked official certification as a riding instructor?

There is that........................:winkgrin:

ESG
Feb. 3, 2007, 06:36 PM
Yes, there is face-time during the written testing where the core theory and knowlege is tested, as well as extemporatious teaching during that part of the process.

WTF is "extemporatious teaching"? :confused: Are you trying to say "extemporaneous"? If so, how can you judge teaching if, as you say, "This "face-time" does not occur in an arena with a horse'? What, exactly, do you have to judge? Elaborate, please.


..... but that doesn't make it any less valid than, say, a physician taking a written test at a desk rather than in a surgical suite with a patient cut open in front of him/her.

Um, no. :rolleyes:

A physician with a patient cut open in front of him is not engaged in a give-and-take, extemporaneous situation. He knows pretty well what he's going to find long before he ever makes the first incision, because he's done radiographs, bloodwork, and other tests to determine what the problem is. The patient, other than being, has nothing to contribute here. When one is teaching, there is an exchange of information, a give and take, an imparting of knowledge via instruction to make an immediate change/improvement in the horse and rider. You're comparing apples to oranges. You're also making an even worse case for the validity of ARIA certification, in the process. Just thought I'd mention that. :winkgrin:

SapeloApp
Feb. 4, 2007, 02:00 PM
ESG -- there are some days that I am so thrilled to realize I am who I am, and not who you are. Truly blessed, yessirree!

vanheimrhorses
Feb. 4, 2007, 03:39 PM
what would peoples view be on Aria as oppossed to college degree or certificate and or certificate from say one of those at home study courses like PCDI?

siegi b.
Feb. 4, 2007, 04:58 PM
I happen to agree with Velvet that mandatory certification is only a matter of time. And I also think that it's a good thing because it will help separate the wheat from the chaff. Any riding instructor worth his/her salt will welcome the certification process precisely because it will give potential students a way to look for qualified teachers.

You wouldn't expect parent to send their kids to a school where the teachers had no credentials, would you? And just checking out different schools to see which teaching methods you happen to like isn't going to solve the problem either. Certification is necessary to ensure adherence to a certain standard of instruction. We can all argue over whether or not a certain certificate means anything, in the end it means that the person that has it thought enough of her profession to try to legitimize it to some extent.

We've all learned the hard way which instructor is good and which one isn't. Wouldn't it be nice to know beforehand whether or not (s)he's qualified to do her job?

Adamantane
Feb. 4, 2007, 11:05 PM
I happen to agree with Velvet that mandatory certification is only a matter of time.

Of Velvet's observation I have no doubt. Unless we manage to put a stop to it before its too late.

I'm sure your intentions are of the best for all involved, Siegi, but if it's such a good idea, why does it need the government to back it up with the threat of the sheriff and the courts and fines and jail?

Of course licensure does have two big advantages for those grandfathered in:

First, it keeps down annoying competition. Worked great for several other professions. (See below.) If I were insecure about my abilities or worried about competition, I might well be tempted to lobby for it.

Second, that it can allow the majority view to throttle those who disagree with their approach, and get rid of them by force. (Won't it be fun to watch the public screaming matches between the NH people and the majority of traditional people in the State Licensing Board Hearing Rooms, once the majority discovers the possibility of putting an end to those NH heresies once and for all? It worked great for the AMA in getting rid of those pesky 'quack' homeopaths, chiropractors, midwives and the like. They almost pulled it off with the osteopaths, too, and actually managed to get away with it in some states. [Yes, of course I am being sarcastic but don't want to train wreck the thread. No, I do not want the pro and anti NH factions to form up here. This is not the place, but it IS a good illustration of what can be expected, and we all know it.:yes:])

After reflecting on its nature, you don't seriously want these outcomes, do you?


And I also think that it's a good thing because it will help separate the wheat from the chaff. Any riding instructor worth his/her salt will welcome the certification process precisely because it will give potential students a way to look for qualified teachers.

No it really won't. See comment on the final quotation, below.


You wouldn't expect parent to send their kids to a school where the teachers had no credentials, would you? And just checking out different schools to see which teaching methods you happen to like isn't going to solve the problem either. Certification is necessary to ensure adherence to a certain standard of instruction.

What choice do parents have unless they home school or send the kids away? Look at all those fine quality :no: public schools around the country we have with certification. But people with masters and doctoral degrees who (also:yes:) know what they are talking about in spades, cannot teach in primary or secondary schools unless they take all those fine courses on child development that qualify the present lot who are performing so very well whether they know their subject or not. (There are many excellent school teachers who, of course, also have obtained the credentials, by definition. They know who they are, and they also know the others of whom I speak. Everybody in every profession pretty well knows where they stand in the herd order and why, alphas, betas, epsilons and omegas.)




We can all argue over whether or not a certain certificate means anything, in the end it means that the person that has it thought enough of her profession to try to legitimize it to some extent.

There is nothing whatever illegitimate about teaching riding or the profession, certificate or no certificate. It is no puffball endeavor and it does not need to be 'legitimized.' The only people who feel the need to prove something are those who are new and may remain a bit insecure while they have established themselves, and those who sense they may need a shield behind which to stand. Hooray for those who want to better their education. But it is naive to overstate the significance of any credential.


We've all learned the hard way which instructor is good and which one isn't. Wouldn't it be nice to know beforehand whether or not (s)he's qualified to do her job?

I personally know people with dual doctorates and walls of riding ribbons and trophies, people whose riding ability I could never equal in two full lifetimes, who can't in my personal experience teach riding worth squat. And fine riders of notably lesser ability without a high school diploma who could. Been there, seen that, even if I didn't 'study' with them.

Which of the incapable instructors you or I refer to would not have successfully obtained some kind of certificate from somebody?

So, if no parent walking in off the street without a magic decoder ring can tell which certificate means something and which does not, and if licensure is basically a political power play to exclude competition so as to lower supply and get rid of heretics (and the stray incompetent who quickly would be culled by the consumers anyway, credentials, licenses or not), then what is to be gained by this credentialing and licensure charade?

Make no mistake, I think that if someone wants to obtain a certificate for anything they have studied, that is fine. The process can be good for their professional development because it may make them more well rounded and highlight gaps, if any.

But certification (and certainly licensure) is no panacea for perceived problems. People who are good are good; people who are not, are not. (Recall that what works for some people does not work for everybody.)

From the standpoint of people who know nothing and want to learn or want their little kids to learn, at very best the presence or absence of a credential is equivocal. At worst it is a misleading and false reassurance that somebody is capable when they may not be.

We all arrived on earth with the ability to inquire, to reason and to evaluate. Nothing can substitute for that, or relieve human beings of the responsibility to do so. Any argument to the contrary is at best wishful thinking. At worst ... All I can say is that you pays your money and you takes your choice. We see examples on every COTH forum every day, and if you think the horror story examples could have been avoided by pieces of paper, you're a lot more trusting a soul than I ever will be.:D

And if grandma or grandpa wants to teach the grand- and neighbor kids to ride, would we send them off to jail?:eek:

Whisper
Feb. 4, 2007, 11:16 PM
Anyone else have thoughts on this? I think group lessons are fun, and you can do quadrilles, etc., but not to really get focused on the fundamentals, or the more subtle aspects of dressage.

Hmm, I really felt I got a lot out of the group lessons we did for dressage. Occasionally we did quadrilles/drill team work, but often it was patterns with cones and such. I don't think I'd want to exclusively do group lessons, but the instructor was able to give all of us position help, juggle different levels, and it was a lot of fun.

I think that a lot of instructors try to be all things to all people, instead of focusing on their strengths. Also, the match of student, instructor, and horse is very important - even excellent teachers can struggle to help some students.

I have spent years and a lot of money on lessons, and barely made any progress. Some things would improve a bit, but I was a perpetual beginner, and couldn't get my body to do what I wanted it to do. This past year, things really came together for me, and I've been able to make tangible changes. :D I'm not sure what made the difference for me - the teachers, the horse, or cross-training that helped me get better control of my body. I've had a lot of very qualified instructors whose other students consistantly improved faster than I did, no matter how hard I tried or how often I rode. I just figured I wasn't talented at all, but didn't want to just give up and stick to trailriding.

dressagediosa
Feb. 5, 2007, 07:10 AM
I know nothing about ARIA certification, but one of the reasons I'm planning on getting USDF certified is because of the educational component - there are workshops to be attended before sitting the exam, opportunities to sit with some great American teachers and talk about teaching; then, after one is certified, there are opportunities available that aren't available to uncertified instructors (this year the CIs got to watch Friday's schooling with Ingrid Klimke at the Symposium, whereas Saturday and Sunday were open to the masses).

And of course those without certification are not necessarily bad teachers, but for us young professionals who ARE good but DO have to compete for business with "big names," certification does help add credibility. Ultimately, I'd hope that anyone looking for an instructor would watch that teacher at work, and take a "test drive" lesson, no matter how big a name, how many certificates they hold, how many Grand Prixes they've won, etc etc.

ESG
Feb. 5, 2007, 11:44 AM
ESG -- there are some days that I am so thrilled to realize I am who I am, and not who you are. Truly blessed, yessirree!

As am I, to be who I am. How lucky we are, eh? :cool:

Would you mind returning to the discussion now? I'd really like answers to my questions.

ESG
Feb. 5, 2007, 11:50 AM
Of Velvet's observation I have no doubt. Unless we manage to put a stop to it before its too late.

I'm sure your intentions are of the best for all involved, Siegi, but if it's such a good idea, why does it need the government to back it up with the threat of the sheriff and the courts and fines and jail?

Of course licensure does have two big advantages for those grandfathered in:

First, it keeps down annoying competition. Worked great for several other professions. (See below.) If I were insecure about my abilities or worried about competition, I might well be tempted to lobby for it.

Second, that it can allow the majority view to throttle those who disagree with their approach, and get rid of them by force. (Won't it be fun to watch the public screaming matches between the NH people and the majority of traditional people in the State Licensing Board Hearing Rooms, once the majority discovers the possibility of putting an end to those NH heresies once and for all? It worked great for the AMA in getting rid of those pesky 'quack' homeopaths, chiropractors, midwives and the like. They almost pulled it off with the osteopaths, too, and actually managed to get away with it in some states. [Yes, of course I am being sarcastic but don't want to train wreck the thread. No, I do not want the pro and anti NH factions to form up here. This is not the place, but it IS a good illustration of what can be expected, and we all know it.:yes:])

After reflecting on its nature, you don't seriously want these outcomes, do you?



No it really won't. See comment on the final quotation, below.



What choice do parents have unless they home school or send the kids away? Look at all those fine quality :no: public schools around the country we have with certification. But people with masters and doctoral degrees who (also:yes:) know what they are talking about in spades, cannot teach in primary or secondary schools unless they take all those fine courses on child development that qualify the present lot who are performing so very well whether they know their subject or not. (There are many excellent school teachers who, of course, also have obtained the credentials, by definition. They know who they are, and they also know the others of whom I speak. Everybody in every profession pretty well knows where they stand in the herd order and why, alphas, betas, epsilons and omegas.)





There is nothing whatever illegitimate about teaching riding or the profession, certificate or no certificate. It is no puffball endeavor and it does not need to be 'legitimized.' The only people who feel the need to prove something are those who are new and may remain a bit insecure while they have established themselves, and those who sense they may need a shield behind which to stand. Hooray for those who want to better their education. But it is naive to overstate the significance of any credential.



I personally know people with dual doctorates and walls of riding ribbons and trophies, people whose riding ability I could never equal in two full lifetimes, who can't in my personal experience teach riding worth squat. And fine riders of notably lesser ability without a high school diploma who could. Been there, seen that, even if I didn't 'study' with them.

Which of the incapable instructors you or I refer to would not have successfully obtained some kind of certificate from somebody?

So, if no parent walking in off the street without a magic decoder ring can tell which certificate means something and which does not, and if licensure is basically a political power play to exclude competition so as to lower supply and get rid of heretics (and the stray incompetent who quickly would be culled by the consumers anyway, credentials, licenses or not), then what is to be gained by this credentialing and licensure charade?

Make no mistake, I think that if someone wants to obtain a certificate for anything they have studied, that is fine. The process can be good for their professional development because it may make them more well rounded and highlight gaps, if any.

But certification (and certainly licensure) is no panacea for perceived problems. People who are good are good; people who are not, are not. (Recall that what works for some people does not work for everybody.)

From the standpoint of people who know nothing and want to learn or want their little kids to learn, at very best the presence or absence of a credential is equivocal. At worst it is a misleading and false reassurance that somebody is capable when they may not be.

We all arrived on earth with the ability to inquire, to reason and to evaluate. Nothing can substitute for that, or relieve human beings of the responsibility to do so. Any argument to the contrary is at best wishful thinking. At worst ... All I can say is that you pays your money and you takes your choice. We see examples on every COTH forum every day, and if you think the horror story examples could have been avoided by pieces of paper, you're a lot more trusting a soul than I ever will be.:D

And if grandma or grandpa wants to teach the grand- and neighbor kids to ride, would we send them off to jail?:eek:

Adamantane, I want to be you when I grow up. Thank you for posting this. Would that I had the capacity to do so. :cool:

siegi b.
Feb. 5, 2007, 01:05 PM
How can you subscribe so faithfully to the teachings of the ODGs and yet argue so fervently against certification of riding instructors?

Go to Germany and watch kids come up through the ranks, going through all kinds of certification processes before they can put up their shingle as a Bereiter or more. Those are the very same people we always refer to as the "gold standard" for horse training, right? Our Olympic hopefuls all go to Europe for that reason....

So then certification is something that's ok in Europe but "not in my backyard?"

I understand that there are many more aspects to certification, but one has to start somewhere. And while I though Adamante's post amusing in its depiction of extremes, I didn't find any logical conclusions in it. Riding instructor certification does NOT equal persecution by the law in case of non-compliance. People will always have a choice of where and how to obtain their riding knowledge, and keeping it in the family (as in Grandma or Grandpa) has always been acceptable.

Riding instructor certification is a step in the right direction. Is it going to answer all the questions right away or be perfect coming out of the chute? No, most likely not. But eventually it will become a better process and will result in better "products." I'm looking forward to the day where I can look at a list of trainers in my area and, based on their certifications listed can pick out a qualified young horse trainer. Why? Because the certification process at that point required that trainer to have started so many young horses and brought them to a certain level. Wouldn't that be nice?

Adamantane
Feb. 5, 2007, 02:59 PM
Originally Posted by siegi b. I happen to agree with Velvet that mandatory certification is only a matter of time. And I also think that it's a good thing



Riding instructor certification does NOT equal persecution by the law in case of non-compliance. People will always have a choice of where and how to obtain their riding knowledge, and keeping it in the family (as in Grandma or Grandpa) has always been acceptable.




Per dictionary.com:
man·da·to·ry
1.authoritatively ordered; obligatory; compulsory: It is mandatory that all students take two years of math. 2.pertaining to, of the nature of, or containing a command. 3.Law. permitting no option; not to be disregarded or modified: a mandatory clause. OK, Siegi, which is it? Maybe I misunderstand your posts or you mis-stated your position in one post or the other, or you misunderstood Velvet, but what part of mandatory here provides 'non-persecution by the law in case of non-compliance?'

Make no mistake, if certification is mandatory, there will be some kind of enforcement mechanism, and it won't consist of a group of folks standing around looking sad and shaking their heads with disappointment in their eyes. :no: :no: :no:

You can bet that even if some folks would just as soon look the other way, others won't. We all know people who have no patience with folks in the barn bending the rules, and people like that are everywhere. :yes:

The point is, involving the law (which means sooner or later calling in law enforcement, which comes down to people with guns on their hips) regarding a private voluntary transaction like this is not only unnecessary, bureaucratic and cumbersome, it's just plain not very nice.

Simply because Massachusetts or Germany or Upper Volta may have some kind of licensure requirement doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

Non-mandatory certification, whatever its meaningfulness, limitations, pros or cons, at the very least is voluntary.

You do have a point which I'll concede in that a law could be written such that parents and grandparents (or maybe uncles and aunts or great uncles and great aunts, or maybe not, or unmarried partners, or maybe not, etc., etc.) can teach their kids without a license as they please.

But, of course, if little Cindy's best friend Susie wants to take lessons from Cindy's grandma together with Cindy, grandma is going to have a serious problem on her hands whatever she does.:yes:

rileyt
Feb. 5, 2007, 03:15 PM
Do you REALLY not understand what Siegi is saying? or are you just picking at nits?

By all means, if you disagree with the point of her posts... have at it. But quoting the definition of "mandatory" is just childish and snarky. Let's try to behave like adults...

ESG
Feb. 5, 2007, 03:22 PM
rileyt, I think it's you who has the problem understanding Adamantane. He's only pointing out inconsistencies in siegi's posts. I see them, too, and would like to know her actual position. That's not being snarky. That's asking for clarification. :winkgrin:

A Horse of Course
Feb. 5, 2007, 03:23 PM
Adamantane,
I could not agree more, thank you thank you!

And please people I hope you think about what Adamantane has written very carefully, and don't ever forget it!!!

The attitude of legislating everything and truly believing that putting everything in the hands of government force will help to solve any and every problem that people think needs to be solved, is very very scary and leading us down a very dangerous path. A path that we have unfortunately already been on for much too long, and one that is now seen as normal by too many people.

I grew up in a Libertarian house hold...if anyone doesn't understand the implications of that I strongly encourage you to read some books on the matter.

CATO has a good website and bookstore
http://www.cato.org/

rileyt
Feb. 5, 2007, 03:52 PM
I happen to (mostly) agree with adamante, but I also see a way of reading seigi's posts that is not necessarily contradicting.

Perhaps it was quoting the dictionary meaning of the word "mandatory" that made me surly... as I feel quite certain Seigi (and the rest of us) already know what this means.

Dawnd
Feb. 5, 2007, 04:09 PM
As a potential student, I like to see that someone is certified. It at least says that the person has stuck to something long enough to become certified and has enough interest to attend seminars, take tests, pay dues, etc. It illustrates a level of commitment.

That's not to say the certified teacher is any better then a great rider who happens to teach but it does say that the person considers teaching important enough to become certified.

siegi b.
Feb. 5, 2007, 04:26 PM
Ok, Adamantane (I even got your name right this time :-)) - you can get all worked up over the legal aspects of something that doesn't even exist, but you can't envision or won't condone a "system" (for lack of a better word that could get misconstrued again) that educates and certifies its teachers to ensure quality instruction?

I almost get the feeling that some folks are already paralyzed by testing fear that they will so go out of their way to knock down something that is merely in its infancy. I read so many posts here about how the Europeans try to dominate the horse industry in the US - people are up in arms about it. Yet here is a chance to start leveling the playing field a bit and the reaction is anything but positive. Go figure!

There will always be folks that will feel threatened when asked to prove their qualifications, but that doesn't mean we should eliminate the need for said proof. Is it better to protect the few instructors that are good but don't test well, or should we be looking out for all the young talent that is emerging and doesn't have the financial wherewithall nor technical know-how to go from instructor to instructor in order to find the "right" one?

Your turn....

A Horse of Course
Feb. 5, 2007, 04:52 PM
"and we also have states already setting in motion laws where you have to be licensed to teach" by Velvet.

"I happen to agree with Velvet that mandatory certification is only a matter of time." by seigi b.

I'm not sure why anyone thought there were responses being misconstrued.

The problem here is with a voluntary system versus a forced system.

In the scenario of forced licensing I will always fall wholeheartedly with the former, a voluntary system.

Those who think otherwise, I again strongly urge you to study up on the affects of what you are proposing.

siegi b.
Feb. 5, 2007, 06:36 PM
The effects of what is proposed will include better overall instructions because it will force people to study what they plan to teach.

Making it sound like Big Brother will be watching over us is overly dramatic in my opinion. The effects of NOT having licensure have been obvious to me in all my time with horses in this country - lots and lots of incompetent people that can call themselves "trainer" and take money from unsuspecting citizens. And that is the system you prefer?

ESG
Feb. 5, 2007, 07:51 PM
The effects of what is proposed will include better overall instructions because it will force people to study what they plan to teach.

Nope. Not if they're getting their certification through ARIA. Just make the video, write the essay, get the paper. No study required. :p


Making it sound like Big Brother will be watching over us is overly dramatic in my opinion. The effects of NOT having licensure have been obvious to me in all my time with horses in this country - lots and lots of incompetent people that can call themselves "trainer" and take money from unsuspecting citizens. And that is the system you prefer?

And lots and lots of incompetent European instructors who had to be certified in their country just to horse show, are coming here and making money from the unsuspecting American public, and they do have a species of certification. Doesn't stop them from being $h!tty instructors, any more than mandatory certification here will eliminate $h!tty American instructors. And that is the system that you apparently prefer. :winkgrin:

SapeloApp
Feb. 5, 2007, 08:10 PM
As am I, to be who I am. How lucky we are, eh? :cool:

Would you mind returning to the discussion now? I'd really like answers to my questions.

No you wouldn't, ESG. What you want is fodder.

Tell me, on the web site you have listed on your posts, is that you riding in the photographs?

siegi b.
Feb. 5, 2007, 08:28 PM
ESG - I will take one of those sh&%&$y European Bereiters anytime before I take the American "trainer" that has no basic understanding and certainly no schooling in what they attempt to teach.

You obviously have no idea what it takes to become a Bereiter. It consists of an apprenticeship for three years where you ride, ride, ride, clean, muck, clean and go to school. There is a requirement for a silver "Reitabzeichen" (medal) that you can obtain by winning so many recognized shows at 2nd level, before they will accept you for this education. You obtain your Bereiter title by finishing with a 6-week long testing that includes riding (dressage and jumping) as well as theory, and not everybody passes.

So, with the Bereiter title I know that the person has a certain amount of knowledge and had to be able to ride credibly at 2nd level to begin with, and probably at 4th level by the time they finished their training. How many sh&%*#y American trainers do you know that can ride at that level? Or know half of the anatomy of a horse??

Have you been tested at 4th level? Pray tell.....

siegi b.
Feb. 5, 2007, 08:31 PM
And SapeloApp - yes, that would be our ESG standing in the irons!! :-)

ESG
Feb. 5, 2007, 09:17 PM
No, SapeloApp - I want answers to the questions I asked. You seem hesitant to supply them. So be it.

And yes, that's me. Where are your photos?

siegi, I am not your ESG. :p

SapeloApp
Feb. 5, 2007, 09:19 PM
Ah! Thanks, Siegi.

I keep thinking on this idea that mandatory certification (if it ever comes to that) somehow equates to Big Brother. That's right along the lines of thinking that certification of paramedics (required in all 50 states of the US) means that no momma can put a Bandaid on their child, or that because cosmetologists are licensed/certified no one can help anyone else do up their hair or their nails. And of course, there should be no such thing as "licensed drivers" because that's merely government infringing on our rights to zip along the highways and byways of this land without the hassle of showing some level of proficiency.

Then again, I remember being back in my 20's (I know, that was a VERY long time ago! LOL) and having similar sweeping ideals as we've seen in this thread. As I grew older, the world of black-and-white developed a lot of shades of gray as my comprehension became more encompassing, my understanding deeper. It wasn't always a pleasant evolution as some areas required great amounts of kicking and screaming to get me to wrap my brain around some concepts.

And that's one of the things I really like about being "older"... I can more readily see those things that aren't worth my time and move on. It just doesn't tie my ego up in knots. I don't just appreciate Maxine, I identify with her! LOL

ESG
Feb. 5, 2007, 09:22 PM
ESG - I will take one of those sh&%&$y European Bereiters anytime before I take the American "trainer" that has no basic understanding and certainly no schooling in what they attempt to teach.

I see - so every $h!tty European trainer that comes over here has been through your certification and still sucks? Doesn't speak well of the program, does it? :p


You obviously have no idea what it takes to become a Bereiter. It consists of an apprenticeship for three years where you ride, ride, ride, clean, muck, clean and go to school. There is a requirement for a silver "Reitabzeichen" (medal) that you can obtain by winning so many recognized shows at 2nd level, before they will accept you for this education. You obtain your Bereiter title by finishing with a 6-week long testing that includes riding (dressage and jumping) as well as theory, and not everybody passes.

Nice. So how do you explain the crappy Europeans with the Bereiter certification? :confused:


So, with the Bereiter title I know that the person has a certain amount of knowledge and had to be able to ride credibly at 2nd level to begin with, and probably at 4th level by the time they finished their training. How many sh&%*#y American trainers do you know that can ride at that level? Or know half of the anatomy of a horse??

A lot, sorry to say. Some that espouse the "crank and spank" method of training that a lot of European sales barns employ to get foolish Americans to buy their culls. ;)



Have you been tested at 4th level? Pray tell.....

No. Have you?

siegi b.
Feb. 5, 2007, 09:28 PM
Thank you, Sapeloapp! Those were the analogies I was trying to come up with but couldn't for some reason. And yes, Maxine is my hero and I hope to be just like her one of these days.

Best,

Sabine
Feb. 5, 2007, 11:51 PM
Wow- I have come too late to the mud wrestling championships...LOL!

Hate to say it- but I am with Siegi on this one- of course I can't help it- I am from Germany and grew up with this. It is a friggin profession people! not a pastime that anyone can just jump into and charge for lessons while they know little- that is just crazy and it is the predominant practice around here. The trainer has good horse expereince, knows a thing or two- but not a consistent training program, some logic behind the actions- actually physical facts about the horse etc...it's all pieced together like patchwork over the years of working for others as assistant etc.

I wouldn't get my hair cut by someone that doesn't have a license, I wouldn't go to a chiro that is not licensed or certified and comes highly recommended, I wouldn't give my horse to someone that doesn't have some long term proven education on the subject, can speak to it, has trained a number of horses and has some show results to boot.
I think it would help things a lot if there was an official path of education, certification and levels of competence. This would also set a earnings standard- which is the case in Germany. This is good- because it shows that someone has put in the time, learned and studied in practice and theory, stuck with it and completed it.
As a client- I would feel more secure and it would supplement my decision with whom I would train.

This - finally- has absolutely nothing to do with 'big brother' BS- it's just a way to know that you'll get quality for your money...would you send your kids to a school that has teachers that are not accredited??

Not me!

ESG
Feb. 6, 2007, 12:31 PM
Sabine, siegi and SapeloApp have apparently successfuly obfuscated the point of this discussion. Certification in and of itself is a good thing, of course. But the discussion is about ARIA specifically. SapeloApp and others have repeatedly stated that there is no practical exam (i.e., actually having to teach, live, in an arena, with a horse and rider) for this "certification". It is done via videotape and essay. Sorry, but that doesn't sound anything like the criteria for the German Bereiter cert, the BHS AI/I, or any other worthwhile certification. Until ARIA, USDF and USHJA come up with a certification that truly tests the knowledge and expertise of its candidates, they will continue to ignored by those of us that want any certification to actually mean something. :cool:

Adamantane
Feb. 6, 2007, 02:12 PM
To start couple of apologies.

First, that I managed to find myself in the middle of a controversy and then apparently disappeared, although it appears I remained logged on but inactive all afternoon, evening and night. My PC is acting crazy today.

Second, that my use of a dictionary definition seemed overbearing. It wasn't intended to be quite the way it must have come across. It is difficult to communicate without using common definitions and it seemed to me (wrongly, it appears) there was some difference of opinion about the amount of teeth in mandatory.

Next, a very brief recap to be sure that my comments on two different but related (and now intertwined) topics in this thread are distinct, because I sense that may have created some confusion. Confusion is never conducive to communication and mutual understanding.

First, certification:

On the topic of certification (for anything, including riding instruction), I think it can be useful from the standpoint of the education of the person who is pursuing some certification: going through the checklist or fulfilling the requirements because it (probably) will highlight gaps or weaknesses or areas that never have come up before but might be relevant. That was, I think, the essense of comments from some early posters.

From the standpoint of the consumers of services provided by people both with and without certification, I think certification is overrated because it tends to encourage consumers to rely on somebody else they do not know (and some organization of which they usually know nothing) to do their thinking for them. Reputation among trusted people you know isn't always a perfect guide for things about which you are unfamiliar, but it generally trumps a piece of paper from somebody you don't know, or some outfit you don't know about.

And nothing beats taking personal responsibility and deciding for yourself.

For example, in my personal opinion and purely as an example, no matter who the would-be teacher is, or whatever certifications or endorsements or even personal reputation they might enjoy, if they think it's okay to have a student rider, beginner or otherwise, up on a horse without insisting the student wear a helmet at all times, I wouldn't entrust either myself or my kid to their instruction. The safety stakes are too high to substitute their theoretical arguments for my personal understanding of physics and human anatomy. (Yes, I know there are dissenters and I understand the arguments but I don't want to get sidetracked on the Great Debate. It's merely an example.)

Certification for the learning experience, OK. They give diplomas at the end of many courses of study, including formal ones called degrees. Degrees are 'certificates,' of course. We've all met many people with these things. Some are wise and educated. But we've all scratched our heads at how at least some with so much education can have come away from it with so little understanding about much of anything. That somebody has a string of degrees doesn't give me much confidence that whatever comes out of her mouth is a pearl of wisdom, or that they have a lick of sense. So much for certification: sometimes of value, no substitute for thinking. Certainly no guarantee and no warranty.

Now we get to licensure. I am opposed to occupational licensure for the reasons I stated yesterday. They stand on their own, but there is more:

Licensure gives a legal monopoly to whatever was the orthodoxy of the day when it was established and chases out anybody who doesn't fit or wish to fit that orthodoxy. (The only evasion, and this only sometimes, is when somebody jumps through all the orthodox hoops to get the licenses, and then goes off in their own direction afterward. In the US, when physicians do this, outraged orthodox colleagues often try to get the heterodox violator's medical license revoked.)

On the long run, whenever there are gatekeepers, it stifles change and innovation (especially if they are backed up with the power of the state, i.e., guns.) Gatekeepers who decide who's "in" and who's "out" enshrines 'the way it always has been done' or when there is change, it occurs at a glacial pace.

That is not to say, as Siegi and others have pointed out, that a rigid, uniform, state-enforced orthodox guild does not work in its way, or even that it cannot be made to work well. Of course it works. Look at the medal counts.

But when everybody is required to learn exactly the same things in exactly the same way, differentiated only by their individual motivation and abilities, everybody turns out pretty much the same in their approach. I didn't have to be around for long to discover the uniformity of style within each national system. Closed systems generate no new information.

There is a real cultural and mindset difference here that I believe complicates our mutual understanding on approaching matters of professionalism and individual responsibility.

In general, in America, everything that is not specifically forbidden is permitted. In the Old World, everything that is not specifically permitted, is forbidden. (I am not being jingoistic; a European woman first pointed this out to me.) I have worked most of my career for European firms and all my experience affirms the basic truth of this. (I have many anecdotes. The look of amused admiration in the eyes of my former East German hosts was priceless when I squeezed through a barrier and walked across the grass, rather than to wait 20 minutes to work our way through a crowd that was coincidentally blocking direct access to the box office at the opera in Dresden.)

This thread happens to be on the dressage forum, but it might well be on HJ or Eventing.

Unorthodox innovators in riding who began in Europe such as Caprilli with his forward seat had the devil's own time establishing their innovations which were in retrospect almost self-evidently superior to what went before in the context of their time, within the orthodox European military cavalry environment. Only because it worked so much more effectively did Caprilli and his followers ever establish themselves against the establishment-enforced orthodoxy. By the time horse cavalry became obsolete their practices finally had become adopted throughout Europe. (Perhaps luckily for Caprilli his national culture has a streak of anarchy it it, as those who have tried to drive an auto in Rome routinely affirm.)

It seems ironic to me that George Morris, of all people, appears to be thumping the tub for licensure of riding instruction and such, when it was the free-flowing environment in which he came up that made it possible for him to accomplish what he has, and to 'be all that he could be.' Based on what I've read, I think George would have been culled out from the system in many European countries, and certainly his mentor, Gordon Wright, would never have been able to teach him, or anybody else.

SapeloApp
Feb. 6, 2007, 02:43 PM
Quite a thoughtful post, ADAMANTANE. I would have to say I question the theory that licensure equates to robotics. In it's utmost and furthest reach, this could be a result, no matter what country or field of study. In practical use, however, certification or licensure does not result in robotic performance. One thing overseeing associations do, however, while it may thwart the imaginitive changes, is to keep a rein on those that are quite over-the-top. Those whose ideas are workable and doable can be make positive strides over time (not overnight). Those that endanger, perhaps just for the thrill of doing it differently and damn the safety issues -- the unsuspecting or the trustful are more protected. Certification and licensure provide sound parameters. Continuing education in a given field provides information as to the changes that have occurred and been proven to be workable.

What we found in the field of EMS is those who 1) couldn't pass the minimum standards to start with, and, 2) those who couldn't pass the con ed -- these were almost invariably the ones shouting about how useless the process was.

gray17htb
Feb. 6, 2007, 03:48 PM
What we found in the field of EMS is those who 1) couldn't pass the minimum standards to start with, and, 2) those who couldn't pass the con ed -- these were almost invariably the ones shouting about how useless the process was.

Here, Here! Don't think it's any different in the equine world. If it's so easy, step up to the plate and get certified. It won't make people think any less of you if you pass. It will make people think a whole lot more. Plus, what is one more notch on your belt? I've never met a great horseman that doesn't want more. It's when you think you already know it all that you really weren't a great horsemen to begin with.

Adamantane
Feb. 6, 2007, 03:54 PM
Quite a thoughtful post, ADAMANTANE. I would have to say I question the theory that licensure equates to robotics. In it's utmost and furthest reach, this could be a result, no matter what country or field of study. In practical use, however, certification or licensure does not result in robotic performance. One thing overseeing associations do, however, while it may thwart the imaginitive changes, is to keep a rein on those that are quite over-the-top. Those whose ideas are workable and doable can be make positive strides over time (not overnight). Those that endanger, perhaps just for the thrill of doing it differently and damn the safety issues -- the unsuspecting or the trustful are more protected. Certification and licensure provide sound parameters. Continuing education in a given field provides information as to the changes that have occurred and been proven to be workable.

What we found in the field of EMS is those who 1) couldn't pass the minimum standards to start with, and, 2) those who couldn't pass the con ed -- these were almost invariably the ones shouting about how useless the process was.

Thanks for your kind words. We certainly agree about the usefulness of education in developing professionals.

I don't mean to imply that mandatory uniform and tightly-regulated standards turn out robots. Clearly this is not the case. I sure didn't see any robotic performances at WEG.

But if everybody sees things in the same way because they have been specifically trained to do so, they will tend to have uniform approaches to problems rather than to, in that detestable business cliche, 'think outside the box' about things and find new solutions.

Nor am I brushing aside standards or traditional values, far from it. To go far afield for examples if you will indulge me, although I am not at all a fan of Picasso's mature work, I do respect what he did later in life because from his early work it is clear that Picasso possessed perfect and meticulous technical mastery of the medium and enormous talent. He chose to paint differently because he wanted to explore his unique vision, not because he couldn't manage the traditional approach. Alban Berg's violin concerto is another example of someone who found a way to beautifully synthesize two nominally incompatible approaches, lush late romantic tonal and 12-tone, in music in a way that showed he was an absolute master of both. I expect Caprilli was highly competent in the traditional approaches or he would have washed out of the cavalry school and never been heard from again.

Of course we don't want 'nut cases' in teaching or anywhere else, especially when their errors or incompetence could result in serious injury or death. But let's not engage in destructive overkill to accomplish what common sense already provides us.

No doubt some critics of licensure or individuals who scoff at obtaining certifications of various kinds are doing so simply because they couldn't 'cut it' but that is not an argument. Sour grapes we will always have with us for all human endeavor, but this discussion is not about sour grapes. I would be dismayed and disappointed if you were suggesting that is the motivation behind those who are objecting here. (In my own case, as I mentioned in my first post, I am speaking as a consumer. The prospect of my ever trying to teach somebody to ride, makes me laugh even more than I think it would my instructors :eek::winkgrin:.)

Elatu
Feb. 6, 2007, 04:01 PM
But, as far as I know under the auspacies of the International Trainers Passport, the United States Equestrian Federation does not have any official certification program in place.
Equine Canada does, as it's program has its' equivalancies to other National Federations.
http://www.equinecanada.ca/Sport/COACHES/int_trainer_passport.html

siegi b.
Feb. 6, 2007, 04:44 PM
Adamantane - you said "But if everybody sees things in the same way because they have been specifically trained to do so, they will tend to have uniform approaches to problems rather than to, in that detestable business cliche, 'think outside the box' about things and find new solutions."

I submit to you that in order to "think outside the box" it is necessary to have a certain amount of knowledge in order to take that next step. If you don't have a basic understanding of how things work, then there is no box to step out of.

You gave Picasso as an example.. Picasso according to your own statement had mastered his techniques before he branched out.

Going back to teaching dressage (or any other discipline), I think it is necessary to have that basic knowledge about the horse, about advancing in your riding, about teaching BEFORE you go out and try to relay that information to others. You will always put your own spin on it because that's what creative people do, but you have something to put that spin on - your basic knowledge of your field.

SapeloApp
Feb. 6, 2007, 04:48 PM
In teaching EMT and Paramedic, we commonly refer to that "outside the box" stuff as, "There are times you can bend the rules and times you can even break the rules... but first, you have to know the rules, cold."

Sabine
Feb. 6, 2007, 05:20 PM
Good post Adam...BUT...and really major BUT...we are talking I think a bit about two different things here:

You are concerned that licensing would stop innovation.
I am concerned that no licensing perpetuates at best mediocrity.

Just like in any profession, a proper education is required. I am sure in your chosen profession- whatever that might be- you had to get a certain level of education- bachelor degree, maybe advanced degree, maybe certification etc.
Every CPA, Vet, MD, lawyer had to go thru a lengthy process of what I would call education, culminating in passing a final exam that gives you the permission to practice.( there are many more professions like these). Then there are others that might be more in line with horse training, such as educating our children, teaching at colleges and universities, providing services, such as body-related, beautification, well-being, hairremoval--etc...

Now in my book- no certification stands in the way of innovation- on the contrary- true innovation is understanding what the current process is and improving on it. Unless you understand horse and rider training as a process of pure art- for which no training- but just talent is required---I do caution your approach!

Adamantane
Feb. 6, 2007, 05:28 PM
I submit to you that in order to "think outside the box" it is necessary to have a certain amount of knowledge in order to take that next step. If you don't have a basic understanding of how things work, then there is no box to step out of.

You gave Picasso as an example.. Picasso according to your own statement had mastered his techniques before he branched out.

Going back to teaching dressage (or any other discipline), I think it is necessary to have that basic knowledge about the horse, about advancing in your riding, about teaching BEFORE you go out and try to relay that information to others. You will always put your own spin on it because that's what creative people do, but you have something to put that spin on - your basic knowledge of your field.

Siegi, there is not one single word in what you just posted here with which I would disagree.

Basic knowledge of one's field (or even outside one's primary field) is necessary to convey useful information about it to others. Only fools encourage ignorance.

But that we totally concur about the need for knowledge and education in some fashion, as I see it truly has nothing to do with licensure (which is a legal mechanism "with teeth") nor the reliability of some official-looking signed and sealed piece of paper, a certificate, hanging on the wall, from the standpoint of the consumer who wants to take lessons.

Do we agree that if you (as a prospective student, or the parent of a young student) don't like what you see, you should not rely on it, even if there is a piece of paper or even a license that says somebody else somewhere, thinks it's okay for you to rely on it?

I think the answer is almost certainly yes, but although we agree about so much, I don't want to assume we agree about everything I think we may.

Adamantane
Feb. 6, 2007, 05:30 PM
In teaching EMT and Paramedic, we commonly refer to that "outside the box" stuff as, "There are times you can bend the rules and times you can even break the rules... but first, you have to know the rules, cold."

As I also noted to Siegi for her last, there also isn't a word in your post with which I do not agree. (Same comments, same question.) :yes:

siegi b.
Feb. 6, 2007, 07:51 PM
Adamantane - you must have some bad experience that makes you so cautious when it comes to the word "license". Would it be easier to swallow if we called it a Certificate of Achievement/'Accomplishment, or a degree? If it's simply a matter of semantics then I think you and I are most likely in complete agreement.

In my ideal world, a person looking for riding instructions should be able to access a list of qualified individuals instead of taking lessons with ten different people in order to make a decision. The basic qualifications should all be the same with level of difficulty being a variable, very much like everyday business situations Sabine already mentioned. In the business world you have to have a certain set of qualifications before a potential employer will look at you. Why wouldn't that be the same in the riding instructor scenario? In order to get a job in private industry you are expected to submit your resume which details your job experiences. Shouldn't that be applicable in a training situation as well? How else are you going to judge whether or not you are getting what you're expected to pay for right off the bat? Sure, anybody can figure it out after a while, but why should I have to pay several thousands of dollars only to find out that the trainer is incompetent and lacks fundamental knowledge? Is it ok because horse activities fall into the "luxury" category?

I had to have a degree in order to get most of the jobs that I've held, and I only think it is fair to ask for some qualifications when it comes to horse training as well.

Adamantane
Feb. 6, 2007, 10:58 PM
Good post Adam...BUT...and really major BUT...we are talking I think a bit about two different things here:

You are concerned that licensing would stop innovation. I am concerned that no licensing perpetuates at best mediocrity.


Sabine, also think we may be talking about at least some different things. Before I go further, I particularly appreciate that all of us are still talking rather than going off into our respective corners convinced that the people in the supposedly 'opposite' corner are totally ignorant idiots in the grasp of the Forces of Darkness.:lol:

One of the reasons I am concerned about licensing is that, yes, it interferes with innovation as I noted today. But there are other reasons, too. Since my first post today was long, I didn't repeat all the other reasons that were posted yesterday and before. (Post 50, which is about certification and not licensing, and below, to quote my 'executive summary' from post 59):


First, it keeps down annoying competition. Worked great for several other professions...

Second, that it can allow the majority view to throttle those who disagree with their approach, and get rid of them by force.

In my opinion those reasons are at least as strong as what I added today.

You said that you are concerned not having licensing perpetuates mediocrity. To me this suggests that you believe without licensing, that many unqualified people will teach, they will be able to recruit students, and that they will teach the students badly. Is this correct?

If so, why do you think that they will be able to attract students despite being incompetent? Are would-be students so ignorant or stupid that they would sign up? I really doubt it.


Just like in any profession, a proper education is required. I am sure in your chosen profession- whatever that might be- you had to get a certain level of education- bachelor degree, maybe advanced degree, maybe certification etc.

Yes. I have degrees and other professional credentials and years of experience some might find impressive, so I understand your point. But my credentials or anyone's, are irrelevant to the merit of the arguments they make and this discussion. Truth or falsity is independent of any individual who makes the arguments.

The kindest, most reassuring person I ever met in my adventure first learning to ride was at the time 15 and had not graduated from an American high school. The first person who ever got me onto a horse many years before (and at my request) was the same age and regularly gave lessons even so.


Every CPA, Vet, MD, lawyer had to go thru a lengthy process of what I would call education, culminating in passing a final exam that gives you the permission to practice.( there are many more professions like these). Then there are others that might be more in line with horse training, such as educating our children, teaching at colleges and universities, providing services, such as body-related, beautification, well-being, hair removal--etc...

In my profession degrees and ceritifcations are usually thought desirable to be hired, but they are not legally required.

As a hiring manager, I take credentials into account but do not focus on them to the exclusion of other criteria. I once agreed to hire somebody with a only bachelor's degree in engineering as a director of engineering, solely because a former boss at a former company (competent beyond words) said the person virtually walked on water. When I interviewed the prospective employee, after two minutes I laughed, smiled and told him that he could relax because as far as I was concerned the only question was how quickly we could get the guy on board and how I could help accomplish that. I had implicit confidence in my former boss' opinion. The newly hired director of engineering was wonderful and my only regret 3 years later was that he retired from the company at 65.


Now in my book- no certification stands in the way of innovation- on the contrary- true innovation is understanding what the current process is and improving on it. Unless you understand horse and rider training as a process of pure art- for which no training- but just talent is required---I do caution your approach!

Who can convincingly disagree with a word of this? Of course you are correct. (I suppose some might quibble that there's some science involved, too, but I agree with you. My personal opinion that any dynamic proprioceptive activity is mainly art.)

Having a certification does not stand in the way of innovation. I hope nothing I said implied that I thought it did. Education is always a plus, but certificates don't always translate into knowledge or wisdom.

But being kept out of a profession by the authorities, despite one's knowledge or experience, simply because one does not have the 'correct' degree or certification, is simply wrong. If you know what you're doing, that's enough. If you don't, nothing else is enough. Remember, Bill Gates dropped out of college.

In America, as you know, it is necessary to have a state-issued license to teach in any school junior to college or university. People far superior in every respect to those officially permitted to teach very young people are prevented from doing so simply because of the licensure laws.

If a senior full professor at the finest university in America (Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Duke or the University of Chicago, for example) and winner of the Nobel Prize, wished to teach the eighth grade in the most backward community of rural Mississippi, he would not be eligible.

This is simply insane.

And those who for the flakiest most irrational reasons 'offend' the authorities, no matter how capable they are, can be out of luck when arbitrary gatekeepers who can keep them out are allowed to get their way, even when they don't also have the legal authority to deny or revoke licenses.

The late Trudy Elion, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, and an absolutely wonderful human being (okay, I'm biased; she once volunteered to get me a job) was barred from completing her Ph.D. program at New York University because some idiots on her doctoral committee thought that women had no place in academic research. Fortunately her co-winner ignored the "rules" and hired her as a colleague anyway, and the rest is history.

Sabine
Feb. 7, 2007, 12:33 AM
No Adam - I like you even better after your post- I picture you as highly educated- I venture to say computer design, maybe chips- but something very familiar to my profession...your thinking sounds true- and while risking to sound stupid I venture to say- you have an emotional relationship to riding- you probably if you have kids- have left the raising and the tough parts- to your SO- and you enjoy their presence and achievements just like you enjoy your horse(s) and riding experience, something that puts you in touch with your body and feelings and excitement and emotion.

Although I can completely understand where you are coming from and add to that- you have probably been lucky to have found a couple of talented and caring and safety conscious trainers- that gave you true rewards in your riding experience and made you sure- that teaching how to ride is a mixture or magic knowledge about how the horse behaves- and encouraging/soothing and well competent support and teaching- so your riding felt better and better.

I am aware that the credential/certification process in this country is absolutely assinine...it is beyond what can be tolerated, I have had many RN friends- that had to be re-certified when moving from state to state and had to put a whole year of learning in- as adult -accomplished practitioners of their profession...absolutely crazy!

But- my view comes maybe from a bit different point: I have ridden all my life- first in Germany- and I was grilled by tough Reitlehrers and members of the SRS and all Hungarian army guys- culturally- kids over there are not important- adults are...contrary to the culture in this country.
I was taught by rules- the rules made sense- they preserved the horses safety and body and saved the rider from accident.
I was taught by classical principles- these are founded on hundreds of years of teaching and collecting the expereinces of very accomplished horsemen of their times- I would btw venture to say that even Caprilli was first taught the old-fashioned jumping style- before he ventured to change it to what made clearly more sense...LOL!
I was lucky to get a good foundation. I have ridden with many different trainers and clinicians in this country- and have learned a lot- I would admit gladly that I have learned from every single person that ever took the time and stood there and focused on one or the other detail of my riding.
BUT- I always put it into the context of the skeleton of riding that I learned in my teens- which also included 3 months stints at the Verden Hannoverian Verband..where we learned about skeletons, and horse diseases and how to treat them and all that good stuff...so I consider myself a truly 'layered cake'...the benefit of my hard core early learning and the variety of 'innovative' and 'classical' and 'competitive' training that I have received since.
I have ridden many young horses and experienced the realm of a horses personality and fear and stuff you could never imagine...so I consider myself an amateur road warrior...BUT
when I decide who to train with- I resort to peeps that have a system, a foundation, an intellectual approach- especially because I still have young horses and must make sure that - just like kids- they get off to the right start.

Therefore- I do believe- and I know it is very hard to describe- because in Germany it is a real culture and a pride and a trade with a pride- that a proper educational path and some kind of apprenticeship and final accredidation- nationwide would greatly help the horse training profession out of the middle ages into a well-respected and prosperous future.

A Horse of Course
Feb. 7, 2007, 01:02 AM
Great! Lets just keep it voluntary.


you have an emotional relationship to riding- you probably if you have kids- have left the raising and the tough parts- to your SO-


And maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I took that to be quite rude.

Sabine
Feb. 7, 2007, 02:39 AM
Great! Lets just keep it voluntary.



And maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I took that to be quite rude.

you did indeed- not sure of which part needs to be explained...but raising kids is like training a horse- there are great parts and not so great parts about it...not sure where you are coming from- but I guess- I will ask you to explain...before I go into more detail...LOL!

Whisper
Feb. 7, 2007, 10:48 AM
Seigi, there is a significant difference between certification that is educational and helpful, and something that is legally or practically required for a job. For example, I can give someone a massage as often as I like, but if I charged them for it, it is illegal, since I don't have my CMT. Likewise, I couldn't teach kids in a public school without a credential (or at least an emergency credential while going back to school for my degree), though some private schools don't require them. In my field, there are a lot of different certifications. Some specific jobs require one or more of them, or a degree in a related major, but there is no legal requirement to have one. A lot of people feel the certificates might as well be used as bird cage liner, for all they're worth, while others won't take a second look at a resume that doesn't include one. They can make a big difference in pay scale, or almost none at all. I think that the variety involved in riding makes it more similar to this situation than to practicing law or medicine.

As far as incompetent instructors not having any students, I don't think that's the case either. Some people talk a good line, and beginners and non-horsey parents often don't know what to look for. I don't think certification, whether voluntary or mandatory, will fix that. I think if the certification bodies can come up with programs that are more or less universally respected, that the supply/demand will allow those instructors to charge more, and be more selective about what students they take on. I think that's already the case to some degree with German beireiters and instructors with BHS certification. If the certification companies want their graduates to have something meaningful, they have to convince riders that it actually *does* make a difference.

A Horse of Course
Feb. 7, 2007, 10:56 AM
"You probably if you have kids, have left the raising and the tough parts to your significant other."

If that were directed at me I would be offended. I don't know any other way to see it. But your explanation could be different than how I see it. I don't mean to get this off topic though.

Adamantane
Feb. 7, 2007, 11:56 AM
No Adam - I like you even better after your post- I picture you as highly educated- I venture to say computer design, maybe chips- but something very familiar to my profession...your thinking sounds true- and while risking to sound stupid I venture to say- you have an emotional relationship to riding- you probably if you have kids- have left the raising and the tough parts- to your SO- and you enjoy their presence and achievements just like you enjoy your horse(s) and riding experience, something that puts you in touch with your body and feelings and excitement and emotion. Thank you for your thoughts and feelings, Sabine. It can be helpful in human terms to have some kind of picture for anyone we encounter. Yes, I spent a long time in school, scientist, fairly late middle age. Your picture of a hands-off, give me just the fun, don’t bother me with the gritty parts, kind of guy, though, just isn’t me. If I’d had kids, most likely I would have raised them. (It was me out there in the barn every night at 10PM in the cold unbolting the plate to pack more iodine-soaked gauze in under the bar shoe when the horse I started to learn on had a tough, persistent abscess, and hand walking her daily for weeks. And me meeting driving from work at noon to meet the farrier every four weeks. Not her owner.)

As for enjoying riding, isn’t the only reason anybody ever does anything because there is some emotional motivation? :yes: Learning to ride has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever attempted. I’m certainly not in it for competition. It is an interest, not a life's work or compulsion for me. Other parts of my life provide whatever competition I might like.


Although I can completely understand where you are coming from and add to that- you have probably been lucky to have found a couple of talented and caring and safety conscious trainers- that gave you true rewards in your riding experience and made you sure- that teaching how to ride is a mixture or magic knowledge about how the horse behaves- and encouraging/soothing and well competent support and teaching- so your riding felt better and better. As for my learning, my teachers were kind, competent and safety-conscious when I didn’t or don't know enough to stay out of trouble. I was fortunate to have encountered each at the particular stage I did. Doubt any of us (or the horses!) thought there was much magic in the process, though for me there sure was a lot of discovery.:yes: Any progress I made was a combination of resourcefulness on their part, patience on the part of both trainers and horses, my effort in and out of the saddle to develop body sense where little had existed, a few flashes of insight, and sticking with it through times when progress seemed slow, and revisiting previous skills when it was time to upgrade them to move on to the next stage, all while keeping my ego out of the way as much as possible so as not to obstruct what I was being taught.

My understanding is that this is pretty much the same iterative process that with greater or lesser intensity, and different emphasis depending upon discipline, that most riders undertake at all levels. I learned rules (or guidelines since everything occurs in a context, not all contexts are alike and rules often don’t allow for special situations). I always asked for and received explanations for why they were appropriate. If something doesn’t make sense, I keep asking until it finally does. (I’m told there isn’t a lot of that kind of back and forth discussion in the European system, though perhaps I misunderstood.)

So since you ask, that is my own situation, but how is that really pertinent to the question of instructor licensure or certification? That isn't what shapes my views. And Lord knows, I never could make it as a riding instructor!



I am aware that the credential/certification process in this country is absolutely assinine...it is beyond what can be tolerated, I have had many RN friends- that had to be re-certified when moving from state to state and had to put a whole year of learning in- as adult -accomplished practitioners of their profession...absolutely crazy!

But- my view comes maybe from a bit different point: I have ridden all my life- first in Germany- and I was grilled by tough Reitlehrers and members of the SRS and all Hungarian army guys- culturally- kids over there are not important- adults are...contrary to the culture in this country.
I was taught by rules- the rules made sense- they preserved the horses safety and body and saved the rider from accident.

So it is here, too.


I was taught by classical principles- these are founded on hundreds of years of teaching and collecting the expereinces of very accomplished horsemen of their times- I would btw venture to say that even Caprilli was first taught the old-fashioned jumping style- before he ventured to change it to what made clearly more sense...LOL! I'm sure of it.:yes: Just like Picasso.



I was lucky to get a good foundation. I have ridden with many different trainers and clinicians in this country- and have learned a lot- I would admit gladly that I have learned from every single person that ever took the time and stood there and focused on one or the other detail of my riding.

BUT- I always put it into the context of the skeleton of riding that I learned in my teens- which also included 3 months stints at the Verden Hannoverian Verband..where we learned about skeletons, and horse diseases and how to treat them and all that good stuff...so I consider myself a truly 'layered cake'...the benefit of my hard core early learning and the variety of 'innovative' and 'classical' and 'competitive' training that I have received since.

I have ridden many young horses and experienced the realm of a horses personality and fear and stuff you could never imagine...so I consider myself an amateur road warrior...BUT when I decide who to train with- I resort to peeps that have a system, a foundation, an intellectual approach- especially because I still have young horses and must make sure that - just like kids- they get off to the right start.

Therefore- I do believe- and I know it is very hard to describe- because in Germany it is a real culture and a pride and a trade with a pride- that a proper educational path and some kind of apprenticeship and final accredidation- nationwide would greatly help the horse training profession out of the middle ages into a well-respected and prosperous future.
I respect the rigor of your training and the extent of your knowledge. My current trainer (long ARIA certified, and maybe certified by some other group, too, who knows?) is every bit as committed to continual learning and effective teaching, I think. She is eclectic and pragmatic, thank goodness.

Not everyone’s goals are the same. She teaches to meet whatever goals her students have. I think this is very important. In teaching as in horseshoes, one size does not fit all, so we don't want to allow just one size to be sold.

We all here agree that education and competency is key. All that said, I still do not see how one can make the logical leap from these points of agreement to an imposed mandatory and uniform system. Advanced students are even more likely, it seems to me, to discover quickly whether they are gaining knowledge and making progress all by themselves, although since I am not advanced, that is only a generalized assumption based on a couple of conversations with people who are.

Adamantane
Feb. 7, 2007, 12:39 PM
Adamantane - you must have some bad experience that makes you so cautious when it comes to the word "license". Would it be easier to swallow if we called it a Certificate of Achievement/'Accomplishment, or a degree? If it's simply a matter of semantics then I think you and I are most likely in complete agreement.

Almost anyone who has ever dealt with a government has gone through a bad experience that should make them ever afterward extremely wary of anything that requires government participation.:lol:

Seriously, a license is a very different thing than a certificate.

Certificates are voluntary and may or may not have any significance as we have discussed and I won't repeat.

A license, however, is a legal privilege without which one cannot practice a certain activity. Period. If one who lacks a license attempts to do so anyway the government can and will prevent them by force. Even, in most cases, if they do not charge a fee for performing the activity. If I examine your gelding and direct you how to treat an abscess on his hoof but I am not a licensed veterinarian, I can be arrested or fined or both. People who have floated teeth without being a licensed veterinarian have been stopped by the legal authorities. It doesn't matter how good I am at it or how much experience I have. No license, and if someone complains, I can be sent to jail.

This is a big difference, wouldn't you agree?



In my ideal world, a person looking for riding instructions should be able to access a list of qualified individuals instead of taking lessons with ten different people in order to make a decision. The basic qualifications should all be the same with level of difficulty being a variable, very much like everyday business situations Sabine already mentioned. In the business world you have to have a certain set of qualifications before a potential employer will look at you. Why wouldn't that be the same in the riding instructor scenario? In order to get a job in private industry you are expected to submit your resume which details your job experiences. Shouldn't that be applicable in a training situation as well?


Sounds as if that is one approach that might work very well, given enough time and availability of enough people. It's nice to have many choices and select whatever makes sense for you.

But there is a difference in the business world compared to having choices limited to only those who possess a license. While in general companies search for a certain set of qualifications, they can pick and choose voluntarily from among applicants and in some cases select for hiring those whose qualifications may differ a bit (or even a lot) from those originally or conventionally sought. (I can give examples from my own experience where this was done.) They may be wise or foolish in deviating from the conventional wisdom, but they are free to do it if they wish, and the responsibility for the consequences is theirs.



How else are you going to judge whether or not you are getting what you're expected to pay for right off the bat? Sure, anybody can figure it out after a while, but why should I have to pay several thousands of dollars only to find out that the trainer is incompetent and lacks fundamental knowledge? Is it ok because horse activities fall into the "luxury" category?

I had to have a degree in order to get most of the jobs that I've held, and I only think it is fair to ask for some qualifications when it comes to horse training as well.


There are no guarantees in life and as I posted to Sabine, one size does not fit all. I know people trained as scientists whose degrees are perfectly legitimate -- they met all the requirements -- but who really aren't very good as scientists. There are people trained as scientists at, say a master's degree level whose abilities on the job are far superior to those with the Ph.D. (I can name names.) As long as it is voluntary, I can pick the one who does a better job. If it is the law that I can only pick the person with a certain degree for a certain kind of work, not only might I be stuck with somebody not up to expectations, but a highly talented individual who hasn't jumped through all the official hoops can't be hired at all. Exactly like the situation Sabine mantioned with some nurses.

Hope this helps.

Elatu
Feb. 7, 2007, 02:24 PM
Yeah, but you can take all the USDF courses and ARIA certifications out the ying-yang. These qualifications still don't get you anywhere other than in the US. They are ONLY American instuctors' certs.
I guess you guys are arguing to the point again that you don't hear anyone else's comments.
Keep on bitching at each other; it won't get you anywhere.
What counts? Putting horses/students down the centre line with good results.

siegi b.
Feb. 7, 2007, 05:13 PM
Elatu - thank you for your eloquent comments. Nothing like being able to assess the situation immediately and render a solution so effortlessly. Kudos! :-)

SapeloApp
Feb. 7, 2007, 05:31 PM
Back when this thread was started it pertained specifically to ARIA certification. Yes, putting one down the center line with good results is good proof of the combination of talent and skill and training and teaching, but ARIA also certifies in things like recreational riding (everything from rent-a-horse to children's day camps, etc.) and mounted law enforcement. It's not just about dressage, or english, or western. It's about the business of riding instruction--encompassing a good base knowledge/skill level in the tested-for discipline, business savvy, legal responsibilities, and teaching methodologies.

ESG
Feb. 7, 2007, 08:01 PM
And they give out certification to people they never meet in the flesh, or observe teaching in the flesh. Don't forget that. ;)

SapeloApp
Feb. 7, 2007, 08:39 PM
And they give out certification to people they never meet in the flesh, or observe teaching in the flesh. Don't forget that. ;)

No, ESG, you are still wrong about that.

ESG
Feb. 8, 2007, 01:42 PM
Hi,
Also, there's no riding or teaching demonstration involved - except for a videotape, which can theoretically be "faked". But at least this certification is something.

Then what about this, SapeloApp? Is this ARIA certified person lying?



ARIA does NOT teach anyone how to teach riding. They are set up to certify that you are a professional business person in whatever you teach. That is, if you know enough information to pass the test, their interest is in not shafting the student on fees, and handling irate or nosey or obnoxious parents, and managing the safety aspect of teaching. They don't care whether you can post on the right diagonal, nor teach it... but do you have your student wear a helmet and heeled shoes, and charge a fair fee, and have safe tack and a calm horse. In its own right, this is important stuff.

And out of your own mouth........They don't care if you know what you're teaching, only that you know how to teach. A bit different from actually knowing your @$$ from your elbow in regards to teaching riding. So as a riding instructor's certification (which it is, since the name is American Riding Instructors Association :p ), it's useless, since that's not their criteria......according to your words above.


I'd like to conribute my 10 cents worth to this discussion. My husband is a certified ARIA instructor, a level III (advanced) in reining and western. In order to become certified, he put in a lot of effort, time and money. He studied, wrote answers to 20 essay questions, took the test, was interviewed, and had to video tape a lesson at the advanced level. It was very time consuming. He was recertified 5 years later. He had to retest, submit an new video, answer 20 more questions, etc.

I was impressed at the variety of assessments the ARIA uses to certifies their insturctors. I am a teacher so I can say this with authority.

Remember, the ARIA has a limited budget, so having a person observe a lesson would be time consuming and cost prohibitive. It's the best system they have in place at this time. Is it perfect, maybe not, but it works for them.

And again. Nothing observed by an actual living breathing human being. Just tape,.............and essays. Unless, of course, you're wanting to say that all these people, who have taken the test, aren't telling the truth.


In great measure, the video shows whether the instructor knows HOW to teach, NOT "what" to teach. There are other evaluative tools to test that part.

Are they (the "other evaluative tools") utilized in person? Ever?

First, they don't care what you teach, only that you teach well. Second, they don't do anything in person. But wait - they do. Except only sometimes...........:rolleyes:

You should give tap dancing lessons. :cool:

SapeloApp
Feb. 8, 2007, 01:56 PM
ESG -- no response. None needed. You've done it for me, all by yourself.

SapeloApp
Feb. 8, 2007, 03:00 PM
I wanted to take a moment and offer an apology to ESG for my snippy comment. It was uncalled for, actually. I was violating one of my own teaching methodology rules of trying to understand what the student is doing or saying rather than reacting. It took me awhile to realize that ESG is doing the the standard "reading into the question", which is always a bane of instructors. Makes things very difficult for both teacher and student as they tend to speak at cross-purposes. So I will try this one last time:

Beth, dear, you would do well to visit the ARIA web site and see what their qualifications are at this time. I can speak only to what they were when I went through the process, which took a great deal of time and effort, travel (for that in-person testing stuff) and money. For *MY* purposes, ARIA came to not serve *MY* needs at this time, due to *MY* personal situation. I had (and probably still have) some differences of opinion on item development with their tests, and I had (and probably still have) some sour grapes about their focus being on el-ed while mine is on adult ed. I do not communicate well with kids, but I do have masters hours in adult ed. I have a book published on HOW To Teach EMT's and Paramedics (not WHAT to teach them, but the teaching methodologies part... geared for the non-four-year-educational-degreed EMS professional to be able to turn his/her skills into something teachable). So here's a part where I know we are talking at cross-purposes because, Beth, it is obvious that you don't know what I'm talking about when I speak of HOW to teach vs WHAT to teach.

That's okay, you are young yet. You still have ropes you have to be knocked through -- we all had them, and dang it! we still all have a number of them, too. None of us are "done".

One thing I do know after many years of teaching... the ego is often the main thing that keeps one from progressing, no matter how talented they may be. An open mouth and closed mind is another biggie, and usually they go hand-in-hand.

So I do apologize for responding curtly to the "tap-dancing" comment.

sabryant
Feb. 8, 2007, 04:06 PM
Why not just do it the ole countrified way...anyone who can't teach their students to ride a horse up through the levels in a snaffle bridle (we wouldn't have to worry about the double bridle/third level rule) shouldn't be allowed to teach students. It would put a better edge on how to certify an instructor and would not allow the monied peeps to take over another section of our sport.

ESG
Feb. 8, 2007, 04:14 PM
SapeloApp, I'm not young, nor am I stupid. I read what you say about ARIA, repeat it back to you, only to have you say that I don't understand, and that I still don't have it right. So how about, instead of patronizing and avoiding the questions I ask, educate me and answer them? Every time I ask for answers, you say I want fodder. I don't. I want answers. I am not very well educated, but I'm quite literate, and know what a question is, .........as well as what an evasion is. You attack, then evade. Really, you should brush up on your conversational skills; you'd get your point across more effectively. :cool:

SapeloApp
Feb. 8, 2007, 04:47 PM
ESG -- the only "answer" I can provide that is as difinitive as possible is this: http://www.riding-instructor.com . Go, see for yourself.

ESG
Feb. 8, 2007, 08:26 PM
The answers I want are from the questions I directed at you. I doubt I'd find them on the website you listed, unless you supply the information on that website. :winkgrin:

Since you seem to find it difficult to defend your position and refuse to answer my questions, it appears my curiosity must go unsatisfied. Another of life's little disappointments. I hope I can learn to live with it.

Oh, and thank you for teaching me a way to avoid embarassing myself with my responses to queries. Pity you didn't tumble to it in time. :)

FuelsterFarm
Feb. 15, 2007, 02:17 AM
My burning question to ESG is - do you ever have anything positive to say, or do prefer to spend your time firmly rooted in negativity and bashing.

Just because I am getting a certification (and can't afford to go BHS or to Europe) does not mean I am an uneducated rider or trainer.

My education came from years spent as a working student with some of the top professionals in the Dressage and to a lesser degree, Eventing community in the US.

I have earned National titles with multiple breed associations, have coached students to Regional wins, and compete actively at PSG with my self-trained homebred. I also was eventing at Training level, looking to move up to Prelim, until injury unfortunately sidelined my horse last spring.

I continue to participate in regular clinics, compete and further my education in as many ways as possible.

Are all of my accomplishments, the years I have spent (and plan to continue to spend) in dedicated training negated because I am getting a piece of paper that you do not personally believe in?

What have you done that puts you in the position of being in such strong judgement of a process you are seemingly unwilling to even learn about?

We all AGREE that the systems in place are flawed.

What CONSTRUCTIVE comments do you have that would lead to betterment of the process in this country?

(I have to add that the possibility of my state mandating certification is as appalling to me as it is to the others who have posted, but it appears that our state horse council is backing the proposed legislation).

Ange
Feb. 15, 2007, 08:22 AM
ESG, I think we all understand you do not think highly of ARIA. Give it a rest.

Adamantane
Feb. 15, 2007, 11:09 AM
Having the paradoxical advantage of being utterly incapable of teaching anyone to ride and, fortunately for the unhorsed world at large, having no interest in doing so, I have no dog in the specific fight at hand.

I do have some experience at teaching (which in the business world is euphemistically referred to as 'training') both at the university level and in commerce. What's more, I've watched a lot of people over the years as they go about teaching in general, and, in recent years, a few folks teaching riding in particular.

Let me see if my take on this can be helpful.


Apart from having a student capable of 'getting it' in some fashion, to be a successful teacher of something, at minimum you need to know
1.) the subject matter to be taught
2.) how to teach effectively If you have either one without the other, the student probably won't 'get it'. That is to say that in this case if you don't know riding or don't know it very well, you aren't going to be able to teach it worth diddly. Garbage in, garbage out.

Similarly, if you are pretty much clueless about how to go about teaching, you aren't going to be able to teach it worth squat even if you possess all the riding knowledge and experience of, say, Gordon Wright.

The nature of what you're trying to teach is highly relevant to the best methods for teaching it. For example, at the risk of being simplistic, some variation on the 'look-say' method used once to teach kids to read isn't a very effective technique to convey information about riding because riding is a complex kinetic physical activity. (It may be useful in learning saddle or bridle parts or horse anatomy, however, and that endless array of often mysterious stuff that fills tack shops.:yes:)

Yesterday when I chanced upon seeing my trainer's ARIA certificate in her tack room, I thought more about this thread.

The name of this outfit is the American Riding Instructors Association, and that they picked this is probably a key to the puzzle. There are a lot of equestrian organizations that focus on riding per se, usually some discipline, activity or school of thought about riding in particular. There probably isn't the need for another one of those; they've pretty well got riding covered.

But there aren't very many outfits whose stock in trade is techniques of teaching and issues in common to all who are teachers (at least respecting teachers of riding).

But both pieces, the teaching and the riding, are vital for a riding instructor to be able successfully to instruct and operate the business of teaching riding.

So I think the emphasis in the title of the organization is American Riding Instructors Association, rather than American Riding Instructors Association.

Given the emphasis, I think that while to be sure, ARIA wants its members to be subject matter experts with respect to riding (or they won't be effective), it's primary charter, focus and raison d'etre is the matter of teaching (as it pertains to riding), rather than the quality of the riding on the part of the teacher. For pure riding knowledge and expertise in and of itself, they rely on teachers of riding to look elsewhere. ARIA can't be all things to everyone in all branches of riding, especially when other organizations (who ignore teaching altogether) have staked out the claim to being preeminent in the riding knowledge piece.

So everybody contributing to this part of the thread is correct from her or his vantage point: lousy riders make lousy teachers of riding, and lousy teachers make lousy teachers of riding. It's a multi-faceted thing.

(The operation of a business part is important, too, but not so much to the effectiveness of instruction, as to the ability of the would-be teacher being able to have income exceed expenses. I am told that a stumbling block of many physicians in private practice, for example, is that they mismanage the business piece, however effective they are at meeting their patients' needs.)

Part of the reason that I think ESG [please excuse and correct me if I don't have this right, Beth] is dubious about ARIA certification goes back to an earlier subject of this thread, namely that the deliverable of ARIA is a "certification." While the meaning of the certification may be transparent to its possessors at various levels, to anybody looking at it from the outside, it is opaque.

As Joe (or Jo) Bloggs, who has never been within 100 yards of a horse in forty years of living, turning up to investigate riding lessons for my kids or myself, what am I to make of this certificate? Does it certify that the possessor knows "all there is to know" about riding and teaching it? Or just teaching? Is the riding instructor certified as a rider, too, or as a teacher of riding?

These are very important questions: I think we've agreed by now that both pedagogical skills and subject matter expertise are necessary for a teacher of anything to be effective.

Joe/Jo Bloggs who knows nothing of riding might very reasonably expect, lacking other information, that the answer is both. A parent certainly wants their kid to learn effectively.

But ARIA in its niche isn't, of course, equipped, nor does it claim as I understand it, to certify the depth and breadth of the subject matter expertise of its members, except to the very limited and non-rigorous extent that someone is apparently able to do whatever they propose to teach at a given level. It can, however, reliably certify that they possess the pedagogical skills and techniques to be effective in teaching it.

The problem isn't with what ARIA does or claims to do, it's with the ambiguity to an unknowledgeable outsider of exactly what that means, because all the outsider probably sees or knows is a piece of paper hanging on the wall, and not what it represents.

And this brings us finally to the point made earlier on the thread. Consumers have a responsibility to investigate and evaluate whatever they sign up for. Maybe a certificate can be helpful in the process, or maybe it raises as many questions as it answers, since it pushes back the assessment one step, namely: what does the certifying organization claim to be saying about the certificate holder, and on what basis do they do so? (Answering that, of course, goes back to the consumer's responsibility.)

If I were the holder of an ARIA certification, I would regard it as evidence that I had been systematically exposed to and learned effective tools to convey whatever I hoped to teach at whatever level I had completed, and that I had been provided with useful guidance at how to make a living at it. As for my expertise as a rider and pure knowledge of riding, I would use other, different markers to tell me where I stood.

If I've gotten this wrong, folks, please let me know where I've slipped up.

canyonoak
Feb. 15, 2007, 11:40 AM
Perhaps the mods and the OP would like to move this thread to Off Course--as ARIA is NOT NOT dressage-oriented, but IS IS orietnted towards teaching RIDING in various guises and for various purposes.

just a thought and certainly not trying to usurp anyone's bailiwick.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Feb. 15, 2007, 11:59 AM
And they give out certification to people they never meet in the flesh, or observe teaching in the flesh. Don't forget that. ;)

ESG - what SapeloApp has been valiently trying to convey, is that this is not a mail order certification. One applies, sending in a teaching resume of sorts (it is answering questions about years of experience riding in various disciplines and teaching within them, as I recall, as well as highest level competed or participated within each)
ARIA sends the 20 essay questions, to which you write responses at home. You also prepare a 20 minute video.

I frankly forget what you mail in and what you take with you to the testing. When I tested it was at the national convention, so there were a number of examiner/mentors present. I'm afraid i don't remember most of their names - one was Susan Harris, who wrote Grooming to Win and the modern Pony Club Manuals.
During the testing you meet, with one of the examiners and give an impromptu "educational talk" to the examiner and maybe 8 other participants. The examiner assigns the subject once you are in the room.
Your facts, poise, and delivery style are noted and graded as one aspect of the certification.

While at the testing site, you also take a number of written tests both on general horsemanship and your specific discipline. Depending on what level of certification you seek, you take more tests asking a higher degree of knowledge, and are expected to get a greater percentage correct to pass.

Questions on the level II dressage test might have included knowing the primary benefit derived from shoulder in, the letters down the center line of a large dressage arena, possible underlying issues in horse and rider which might produce un-round circles, reasons one might longe a horse and safety considerations in each of those circumstances, order of footfall at the right lead canter, eetc.

Not rocket science, and not a guarantee that the applicant can convey information much less ride, but definitely enough breadth and depth to the questions that I was tickled to get my scoresheet back and find I had scored perfectly. :) (Actually, as I recall between Dressage and the eventing test, one I got a perfect score and one was very close, lest you get to researching. I don't recall which was which)

The general tests covered symptoms of various diseases, locations of leg blemishes and unsoundnesses, normal resting P&R's, which of these 15 pictured bits would most likely be used in which of these 15 sports, a period in polo is called a what, what would this saddle pictured be best used for.

I would have to rumage to find my results sheet - the part which would tempt me to do that would be the analysis of the video lessons, as I forget what the sections of the critique were called - but I know I was impresssed with the variety of aspects critiqued - from my use of voice and postitioning in the ring relative to the student, to the progress shown by the student in the sesssion, to the presence or absence of barking dogs, open gates in the ring, tools nearby which might be a hazard.

Do I think this certification is the be all and end all of anything? Nope, but it helps with my insurance rates, made me think pretty hard about how and what to teach to best show my strengths in a 20 minute session, and taking it made it much cheaper for me to attend the convention and get to spend 3 days at tables with Susan, George Morris, Mike Page, and Denny, among others, discussing both issues we run into as teachers and as business people. Each of them gave at least one lecture to the group (of maybe 150 of us, estimating roughly) Denny spoke once on lesson plans and once on working students. George spoke on attention to detail - fascinating talk, that one!

I'm not sure I've ever actually directly gotten a student from the certification - some have certainly called, but I primarily freelance and so teach people on their own horses. Those people are I think less likely to use ARIA as a resource than people just looking to discover horses for the first time. Now that my ring is in, I'm looking to spend a little more time at home, so the referral may come in handier. I do think I'm a better teacher for having sat the exam, though.

Now, back out to the next horse! :)

Patch
Feb. 15, 2007, 12:03 PM
Ok, Adamantane (I even got your name right this time :-)) - you can get all worked up over the legal aspects of something that doesn't even exist, but you can't envision or won't condone a "system" (for lack of a better word that could get misconstrued again) that educates and certifies its teachers to ensure quality instruction?

I almost get the feeling that some folks are already paralyzed by testing fear that they will so go out of their way to knock down something that is merely in its infancy. I read so many posts here about how the Europeans try to dominate the horse industry in the US - people are up in arms about it. Yet here is a chance to start leveling the playing field a bit and the reaction is anything but positive. Go figure!

There will always be folks that will feel threatened when asked to prove their qualifications, but that doesn't mean we should eliminate the need for said proof. Is it better to protect the few instructors that are good but don't test well, or should we be looking out for all the young talent that is emerging and doesn't have the financial wherewithall nor technical know-how to go from instructor to instructor in order to find the "right" one?

Your turn....

Coming into this one late and probably missed "the moment" on this argument but in the U.S. there are 9.2 million horses. 4.6 million of those are in showing. There are 380,000 'employees' involved in the show industry and it would be not small feat to certify every instructor at many levels but to police them as well.

Add to that 3.9 million horses in the U.S. recreationally along with another 435 employees.

I tried to google european stats but wasn't successful, I doubt if Germany comes close.

Personally, as a consumer, I appreciate any instructor who is willing to go the extra mile for certification but it is not the first thing that I look.

Adamantane
Feb. 15, 2007, 10:35 PM
Personally, as a consumer, I appreciate any instructor who is willing to go the extra mile for certification but it is not the first thing that I look.

Seems eminently reasonable to me. A certificate can be desirable (though not necessary), and certainly by itself is not sufficient. You gotta know what you're getting.:yes:

It is true as someone I know quite well PM'ed me the other day, in effect, that I probably have little personal appreciation for just what turkeys "out there" hang up a shingle and offer lessons for pay with no real idea of what they're about, or a clue about how to teach.

Upon reflection, I'm sure she's correct.

Jeannette also posted about insurance advantages for the instructor, a factor previously not in the mix and definitely worthy of inclusion. Some insurance companies evidently esteem at least some credentials, and whenever somebody backs their opinion up by taking a financial risk, that does get my attention.:yes:

Perhaps I had an 'unfair advantage' over the average uninformed consumer wannabe rider in that I actually knew the people with whom I came to be working as they tried to get some riding capacity into my thick head and insensate body, years before they actually did so. What's more -- she didn't add this, but it's true -- I had feedback in the meantime about them from others whose opinions I esteemed, as well as the benefit of my own eyes and ears once I actually started paying attention to what people actually were doing atop the horses.:yes:
(I'll even go so far as to acknowledge that it helped they were generally very pleasant toward me before I began taking lessons from them. In this connection, see my far earlier posts: I refuse to be abused for long by anyone, even someone who seemingly credibly might claim the ability to teach me to spin straw into gold. [Those taking crap from certain supercilious, smug BNT's, take note and decide whether you really receive fair value for submitting to degradation, harrassment and gratuitous abuse. BTW, canyonoak, from what I've been told by those far more experienced than I am, this keeps the thread relevant to the forum. :winkgrin:])

So I take that sound point I mention which wasn't explicitly posted here -- or if it had been, I missed it -- but respectfully reiterate that it always remains the obligation of everyone to know just what they are buying and with whom they are dealing before they plop down cash and sign on.

Even the very best of certificates (for example, any Duke University credential for anything:)) doesn't possess inherent credibility. Discovering that underlying basis and validity always remains the obligation of the observer. :yes:

ESG
Feb. 16, 2007, 02:14 PM
ESG, I think we all understand you do not think highly of ARIA. Give it a rest.

Right back atcha. :p

I don't like to be confused. Granted, there are those who opine that I spend my life that way. Nevertheless, I get confused when someone contradicts him/herself. Naturally, to alleviate my confusion, I ask questions. When I'm met with answers, I retreat. I've not gotten answers. Thus, no retreat.

Hope that helps. :cool:

ESG
Feb. 16, 2007, 02:25 PM
ESG - what SapeloApp has been valiently trying to convey, is that this is not a mail order certification. One applies, sending in a teaching resume of sorts (it is answering questions about years of experience riding in various disciplines and teaching within them, as I recall, as well as highest level competed or participated within each)
ARIA sends the 20 essay questions, to which you write responses at home. You also prepare a 20 minute video.

I frankly forget what you mail in and what you take with you to the testing. When I tested it was at the national convention, so there were a number of examiner/mentors present. I'm afraid i don't remember most of their names - one was Susan Harris, who wrote Grooming to Win and the modern Pony Club Manuals.
During the testing you meet, with one of the examiners and give an impromptu "educational talk" to the examiner and maybe 8 other participants. The examiner assigns the subject once you are in the room.
Your facts, poise, and delivery style are noted and graded as one aspect of the certification.

While at the testing site, you also take a number of written tests both on general horsemanship and your specific discipline. Depending on what level of certification you seek, you take more tests asking a higher degree of knowledge, and are expected to get a greater percentage correct to pass.

Questions on the level II dressage test might have included knowing the primary benefit derived from shoulder in, the letters down the center line of a large dressage arena, possible underlying issues in horse and rider which might produce un-round circles, reasons one might longe a horse and safety considerations in each of those circumstances, order of footfall at the right lead canter, eetc.

Not rocket science, and not a guarantee that the applicant can convey information much less ride, but definitely enough breadth and depth to the questions that I was tickled to get my scoresheet back and find I had scored perfectly. :) (Actually, as I recall between Dressage and the eventing test, one I got a perfect score and one was very close, lest you get to researching. I don't recall which was which)

The general tests covered symptoms of various diseases, locations of leg blemishes and unsoundnesses, normal resting P&R's, which of these 15 pictured bits would most likely be used in which of these 15 sports, a period in polo is called a what, what would this saddle pictured be best used for.

I would have to rumage to find my results sheet - the part which would tempt me to do that would be the analysis of the video lessons, as I forget what the sections of the critique were called - but I know I was impresssed with the variety of aspects critiqued - from my use of voice and postitioning in the ring relative to the student, to the progress shown by the student in the sesssion, to the presence or absence of barking dogs, open gates in the ring, tools nearby which might be a hazard.

Do I think this certification is the be all and end all of anything? Nope, but it helps with my insurance rates, made me think pretty hard about how and what to teach to best show my strengths in a 20 minute session, and taking it made it much cheaper for me to attend the convention and get to spend 3 days at tables with Susan, George Morris, Mike Page, and Denny, among others, discussing both issues we run into as teachers and as business people. Each of them gave at least one lecture to the group (of maybe 150 of us, estimating roughly) Denny spoke once on lesson plans and once on working students. George spoke on attention to detail - fascinating talk, that one!

I'm not sure I've ever actually directly gotten a student from the certification - some have certainly called, but I primarily freelance and so teach people on their own horses. Those people are I think less likely to use ARIA as a resource than people just looking to discover horses for the first time. Now that my ring is in, I'm looking to spend a little more time at home, so the referral may come in handier. I do think I'm a better teacher for having sat the exam, though.

Now, back out to the next horse! :)

Jeanette - congratulations on your certification and perfect score. Well done. :)

And, thank you for answering my questions. Pity SapeloApp and Fuelster Farm couldn't have been as forthcoming - this thread would have been a lot shorter. :D

So - it's true - there's no in-person teaching or riding demonstration. That's what I wanted to know. tThanks again. :cool:

```````````````````````````````````````

FuelsterFarm
Feb. 16, 2007, 03:28 PM
ESG - I haven't gone through the process yet, so I do not have the same capacity for providing the same answers that Jeanette has. That said, it was stated, numerous times at the beginning of this discussion, that there is not in person riding or demonstration with ARIA at this time, but that it is limited to video.

Please also realize that as a busy working woman in the process of writing a business plan and doing research regarding the equine industry market, facility layout, design and cost analysis, I am not on the discussion boards every day, so when I find myself with free time, I look and reply.

My frustration now is that you claim others evade your questions, yet I have not seen a response to the query that I posted.

ESG
Feb. 17, 2007, 11:10 AM
Your query must have gotten lost amongst the detritus of your response. But that's not important. What did you want to know?

FuelsterFarm
Feb. 17, 2007, 03:56 PM
Does the fact that I am going for certification negate my accomplishments in your opinion?

ESG
Feb. 17, 2007, 11:33 PM
Of course not. One has nothing to do with the other - that's my whole point. If certification were a true indicator of expertise, we wouldn't be having this discussion. :cool:

siegi b.
Feb. 18, 2007, 11:38 AM
Certification is, in fact, quite often an indicator of expertise. Look at car mechanics, network engineers, any technical profession..... And yes, to me there are lots of technical aspects to riding.

You may think you know it all, or consider yourself a good instructor. Fact of the matter is that most of us tend to have a much higher opinion of our abilities than is warranted.

To be so aggressive in putting down a certification procedure to me only means one thing.... Somebody is deathly afraid of tests and/or having their abilities questioned. So there probably is a reason for it... :-)

Adamantane
Feb. 18, 2007, 01:09 PM
Fact of the matter is that most of us tend to have a much higher opinion of our abilities than is warranted.


True, although there are a few exceptions who can be pretty objective, and some who are harsher self-critics than and third party ever might be.

To your point I would add that people tend to have a much greater sense of the injury we have suffered when something bad happens to us. Hence judges and law instead of revenge and blood feuds.



To be so aggressive in putting down a certification procedure to me only means one thing.... Somebody is deathly afraid of tests and/or having their abilities questioned. So there probably is a reason for it... :-)

You guys sure seem to have fun mixing personal pokes with the discussion. :yes:

But 'psychologizing' somebody instead of dealing with the matter on the table really is not very productive.

In hopes of heading off a distracting tit-for-tat sidebar, I'll take the liberty of refuting your assertion by using myself as an example. I'm not going to list out the particulars, but over the years I have taken more bloody examinations than I can count to generally satisfactory outcome (though I outright flunked a Calc II exam ~36 years ago:o), and I remain skeptical about reading a lot into any particular certification when the underlying basis is a mystery.

(When General Motors certifies a mechanic in working with some aspect of General Motors vehicles, I think the body of knowledge is sufficiently narrow and the certifying authority sufficiently credible for that body of knowledge, that it probably means something, though not necessarily that the mechanic will do a better job on your vehicle than someone not so certified, only that the mechanic is less likely to screw up than before taking the GM training course and getting the certificate.)

throwurheart
Feb. 18, 2007, 01:49 PM
Until ARIA, USDF and USHJA come up with a certification that truly tests the knowledge and expertise of its candidates, they will continue to ignored by those of us that want any certification to actually mean something. :cool:

We have multiple certification programs in the US. None are perfect. They have to have some participation to stay in business. Do they

A) make it so hard (and therefore expensive) to get the certification that very well-established trainers will honor the certification? (Note I said 'honor', not actually 'do' - as established trainers they have no real financial interest in doing so.)

or do they B) focus more on the entry-level professional who would find the certification helpful in getting business?

There will always be the leaders who see the big picture and put themselves through a certification process even though they don't 'need' it. But there are many more who will theoretically agree that certification is a good thing, then fail to find one that meets their standards.

Here's the long view: every single instructor in the US should get certified by some organization. Period. Over time, having that much business - a 'mandate' if you will - will allow certification to 'grow up' in the US to meet most everyone's standards - from the most excellent, safe and caring up-down instructor who's only been riding for four years, to the David O'Connors and George Morrises among us.

Corollary thought - if you don't like what's happening with a particular group, raise your hand to serve on a committee and do something about fixing it. Or at least write a letter.

ESG
Feb. 18, 2007, 06:48 PM
Certification is, in fact, quite often an indicator of expertise. Look at car mechanics, network engineers, any technical profession..... And yes, to me there are lots of technical aspects to riding.

We're not talking about auto mechanics, siegi. But, you already know that.


You may think you know it all, or consider yourself a good instructor. Fact of the matter is that most of us tend to have a much higher opinion of our abilities than is warranted.

Please show me where I wrote that I think I know it all. For that matter, show me where I said I know anything. :p


To be so aggressive in putting down a certification procedure to me only means one thing.... Somebody is deathly afraid of tests and/or having their abilities questioned. So there probably is a reason for it... :-)

And to arbitrarily champion a certification process simply because it is a certification process, is stupid. And there's probably a reason for that, too. :cool:

siegi b.
Feb. 18, 2007, 11:09 PM
Adamantane - A certified mechanic has much better job prospects than his/her non-certified counterpart.

Some posts ago you wrote something to the effect that you couldn't believe that there were so many unqualified riding instructors out there. I am here to tell you that there are in fact way too many of them, and that is why certification would be a nice way of distinguishing between the somewhat knowledgable and the deluded.

And no, I don't enjoy "mixing personal pokes with the discussion" - there is just something about ESG's abbrasiveness and having to have the last word that brings out the worst in me. :-)

Folks that want to make a living educating/training the unwashed masses should have the education to do so.

Adamantane
Feb. 18, 2007, 11:55 PM
Adamantane - A certified mechanic has much better job prospects than his/her non-certified counterpart.


I agree with that. A Buick dealership who needs somebody to do transmission work, for example, knows exactly what was the training of a mechanic who has been GM certified to work on Buick transmissions. The key there is that the customer knows [I]precisely what the certification represents and who provided it. The dealership knows that for their purposes, the individual in question (assuming he comes to work every day, isn't drunk or stoned, and doesn't have an impossible personality), has been trained to do exactly what they need to have done and has demonstrated it to the satisfaction of his GM trainers. Not quite the same situation with the customers of horse trainers, for all the reasons noted.



Some posts ago you wrote something to the effect that you couldn't believe that there were so many unqualified riding instructors out there. I am here to tell you that there are in fact way too many of them, and that is why certification would be a nice way of distinguishing between the somewhat knowledgable and the deluded.

I was indeed surprised that credible people in the business have noticed a lot of others whose teaching practices are less than ideal. I would have thought bad outcomes and word of mouth would have shaken out the duds. In any event, it all comes back to caveat emptor again, both with the teacher and, if the teacher is certified, the certifying organization, what it is certifying, and how that is determined.


And no, I don't enjoy "mixing personal pokes with the discussion" - there is just something about ESG's abbrasiveness and having to have the last word that brings out the worst in me. :-)

I wasn't singling out anybody's needling in particular, but rather everybody's needling -- when they do it -- in general. I'm willing to stipulate that you and ESG, for example, if you really wished to, no holds barred, probably could raise enough dust to nearly get the lurkers banned.;) But I think there's little point to that.

On another thread in a totally different context I repeated some wisdom once provided to me that whenever there are chronic 'communication failures' the process really is a surrogate for a power struggle. In this case, I hope it is a benevolent power struggle, but probably the discussion has at times taken a back seat to the sparring. The good news is that you both likely will never be pastured together, so there's no need to determine the winner. I'm just glad I'd likely not find myself in the way while you both are settling the herd dynamics.:lol:


Folks that want to make a living educating/training the unwashed masses should have the education to do so.

We've never had any quarrel on that point. :no: I have always believed that anybody who wants to sell services (even to well-scrubbed aristocrats:lol:) needs to know the business well and to give fair value. How the person goes about being educated often can take many forms. All that really matters to the customer is the cumulative quality of the resulting 'product,' irrespective of the details of educational process.

Sabine
Feb. 19, 2007, 12:09 AM
All that really matters to the customer is the cumulative quality of the resulting 'product,' irrespective of the details of educational process.

Oh dear- I take huge issue with this. I am of course speaking about training very valuable horses- animals that pretty much don't have a voice or a choice- and I am talking about progressive - positive training for horse and rider. I beg to differ that a solid foundation of a core education and the knowledge in theory and practice of what it is to train a horse and a rider...is hugely important to me. I might forfeit formal theoretic education in lieu of many years (five or more) with an established organization, such as the Holsteiner Verband, the Verband of Hannoverian Riding horses etc...something VERY formal and well established.- so there is no doubt about the core education. Sadly this country does not offer anything that comes half way close to that...and therefore - I rather resort to those that have put in the time/sweat and tears- to really learn from the bottom up- then to those who pretend, buy a schoolmaster and earn their goldmedal and think they can train a horse...OMG- what are you thinking???

luvs2ride79
Feb. 19, 2007, 01:23 AM
I'm one of those who doesn't think much of either program, and have been witness to both the certification process (from attending USDF instructor pre-certification clinics), and watching instructors certified from both entities perform. Agree with szipi and merrygoround that, for the most part, both are,.......................lacking. Severely lacking. Especially the ARIA - how can you certify someone as an instructor if you never see them ride or teach? :eek: What, exactly, are you certifying them for? What a farce! That's like handing someone a 70% score on a ride you've only seen and judged on video! What utter, utter nonsense. No wonder the standard of instruction in this country is what it is. :no:

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but this is my biggest pet peeve. Not only do we have incompetent instructors out there; now, it appears that we are (at least, through one entity) certifying them, without ever having witnessed them actually riding or teaching! WTF?!?!? Yeah, let's just give the newbies to the sport, that many more marginal instructors to wade through before finding someone who actually knows what they're doing. No offense to those certified by either entity, either. I know there are some good USDF and ARIA certified instructors out there, but with a certification that's based on an essay and a video? And I'm supposed to take them seriously and accord them the same respect as someone like me, who's been riding for 30 years and teaching for 20? And turned out numerous competent riders and well trained horses? Sorry - can't. :no:

Well said! Any LEGIT trainer/instructor certification should have sections on riding and teaching ability, judged in person.

~Barbara

siegi b.
Feb. 19, 2007, 11:11 AM
"On another thread in a totally different context I repeated some wisdom once provided to me that whenever there are chronic 'communication failures' the process really is a surrogate for a power struggle."

Ok, now who is doing the "psychologizing"?

"In any event, it all comes back to caveat emptor again, both with the teacher and, if the teacher is certified, the certifying organization, what it is certifying, and how that is determined."

Why should the onus for caveat emptor be on the kids and folks that know nothing about riding or experience? When you have your appendix taken out, do you expect your surgeon to have the qualifications to do a good job? Bad teaching can and does result in accidents, some of them with bad outcomes. So, do we just hope that the instructor has enough insurance to cover it instead of asking for qualifications beforehand in order to PRECLUDE the bad things?

And I know this is not specifically about the certification mentioned by the OP, but about certification of riding instructors/trainers in general, but I still think it's a subject that needs to be addressed.

Adamantane
Feb. 19, 2007, 11:22 AM
Oh dear- I take huge issue with this. I am of course speaking about training very valuable horses- animals that pretty much don't have a voice or a choice- and I am talking about progressive - positive training for horse and rider. I beg to differ that a solid foundation of a core education and the knowledge in theory and practice of what it is to train a horse and a rider...is hugely important to me. I might forfeit formal theoretic education in lieu of many years (five or more) with an established organization, such as the Holsteiner Verband, the Verband of Hannoverian Riding horses etc...something VERY formal and well established.- so there is no doubt about the core education. Sadly this country does not offer anything that comes half way close to that...and therefore - I rather resort to those that have put in the time/sweat and tears- to really learn from the bottom up- then to those who pretend, buy a schoolmaster and earn their goldmedal and think they can train a horse...OMG- what are you thinking???

What Siegi asked about was selling services to the unwashed masses.

What I said was:


I have always believed that anybody who wants to sell services (even to well-scrubbed aristocrats:lol:) needs to know the business well and to give fair value. How the person goes about being educated often can take many forms. All that really matters to the customer is the cumulative quality of the resulting 'product,' irrespective of the details of educational process.

Here, I was speaking in general terms, about the world at large, but also in the narrower sense, on the thread topic of riding instruction primarily for beginners or youngsters (as opposed to the training of horses, although I believe it also applies there).

Perhaps my use of 'the business' here was ambiguous. I didn't mean the commercial aspects, I meant the whole universe of horse and riding-related knowledge, i.e., education. If my using an imprecise term created confusion, I apologize. I thought "details of the educational process" made my intent clear.

It that particular word was not a source of misunderstanding, then it sounds as if we may be back to the question of more than one right way to do things, and I'm happy to revisit that.

Your example of someone who shortcuts his or her education by purchasing a high level horse 'made' by others, does well in competition in spite of marginal preparation and then thinks they can sell their services as a trainer of horses and riders may have some example in the real world, but for the discussion at hand, seems like a bit of a straw man. Where did I or anyone else posting to this thread ever state agreement with that sad notion?:confused:

siegi b.
Feb. 19, 2007, 11:23 AM
Sabine,

I'm getting to the conclusion that this is a cultural thing....
In Germany people that want to become riding instructors/horse trainers go to school and learn their trade (which results in certification). You never hear of riders taking legal action agains their teachers.

In the US there is very little certification, and what little there is is derided as being stupid and non-sensical. In the US there are also plenty of law-suits because a horse kicked somebody or a student fell off.

Who benefits?
In Germany - the students do because they learn how to ride well.

In the US - the insurance companies and the legal profession.

Stupid me, why would I even suggest a certification program in the US?

Adamantane
Feb. 19, 2007, 12:36 PM
"On another thread in a totally different context I repeated some wisdom once provided to me that whenever there are chronic 'communication failures' the process really is a surrogate for a power struggle."

Ok, now who is doing the "psychologizing"?


Guilty as charged, your Honor. :lol: With explanation: We were at that point talking about you and ESG getting under one another's skins at times, so looking for a reason wasn't unreasonable. But explanation or not, it is a seductive trap into which we all easily can and do fall.:yes:



"In any event, it all comes back to caveat emptor again, both with the teacher and, if the teacher is certified, the certifying organization, what it is certifying, and how that is determined."


Why should the onus for caveat emptor be on the kids and folks that know nothing about riding or experience? When you have your appendix taken out, do you expect your surgeon to have the qualifications to do a good job?

The onus of being responsible for the consequences of decisions falls on whoever makes decisions. It's part of life. I take shortcuts substituting others' judgment for my own at my own peril, or at very least with my eyes wide open. You do, too.

What other rational process is there?

Of course I expect my surgeon to have the qualifications to do the job. But qualifications and pieces of paper are not equivalent. Unless I have confidence in my own personal assessment, and, if I care to go beyond that, confidence in whatever entity makes representations about the person, I should hold back until I am satisfied.

Long long ago and far far away I once represented a pharmaceutical company and called on physicians, hospitals and pharmacies. Every last one of these had pieces of paper plastered all over their walls. Some people and places I would unhesitatingly have entrusted with my life. Others, with nothing beyond (perhaps) a hangnail.


Bad teaching can and does result in accidents, some of them with bad outcomes. So, do we just hope that the instructor has enough insurance to cover it instead of asking for qualifications beforehand in order to PRECLUDE the bad things?

And I know this is not specifically about the certification mentioned by the OP, but about certification of riding instructors/trainers in general, but I still think it's a subject that needs to be addressed.

It is a subject that needs to be addressed.

No, the choice is not limited between either flying blindly or relying on pieces of paper whose meaning you do not know. Yes, those are two possibilities, but they are both dangerous, and both can be equally dangerous. Being lulled into a false sense of security can be very dangerous.

I am not opposed to certification, I just take pieces of paper on the wall with a shaker of salt. (Certain "Certified Financial Planners" come to mind, a minefield through which no one should walk.)

When I first came to this thread, I had no idea what the ARIA piece of paper hanging on my riding instructor's tack room wall meant. Now I do, so its been an educational thread. But I've learned it means something slightly different than what I 'sort of felt' that it meant. I didn't need to know that she could ride well. I'd seen that for some years and had heard others know were knowledgeable comment favorably on it as well. After taking a few lessons from her, I certainly had no doubts about both her capacity and style as a teacher.

But these two examples illustrate my point. Unless you as a consumer know what the certificate [I]actually represents (which may be far different from what it purports to represent, certainly in the case of many 'CFP's' a few years ago), what do you make of it? Those who relied on 'CFP's' some years back weren't always very happy campers, so such things can even provide a dangerous false sense of security.

And this leads to a positive proposal to help address the very legitimate question of 'what's a would be consumer to do?'

In addition to asking questions, talking to others and being engaged in the process, a consumer could benefit from knowing exactly what a third party certification might mean.

It would be a service to the organizations, a service to those who hold their certificates, and a great service to the public at large if ARIA and other organizations who offer certificates, could distribute informative brochures that describe what their certifications mean and what the requirements for obtaining them are and who did the evaluation, to be provided by those who have been certified to would-be clients.

At least then somebody walking in from the street would have some sense of what the piece of paper on the wall represents. To be sure, this is no substitute for all the other responsibilities of being a consumer, but it would be a definite step forward.

How can this valuable enhancement be brought about? Any ideas?

(And some thought that this thread was all but played out...)

SapeloApp
Feb. 19, 2007, 12:50 PM
ARIA has done that, Adamatane. It's called a web site. http://www.riding-instructor.com . Complete with a listing of those certified, as well as discussion on what it takes to achieve certification.

Adamantane
Feb. 19, 2007, 01:27 PM
ARIA has done that, Adamatane. It's called a web site. http://www.riding-instructor.com . Complete with a listing of those certified, as well as discussion on what it takes to achieve certification.

Thanks for the reminder. It's a useful website, SapeloApp. Of course even with the website and ten people yakking away at the topic, how long did it take before everyone developed some common sense of that part of the discussion?

A good old hardcopy stick-it-in-your-pocket and talk it over with your family brochure (2 colors, not some expensive 4-color marketing glossy) would be both practical, professional and informative for a client and an instructor.

You and I might live and die by the internet, and most people in the market for riding lessons are wired, but even for internet devotees there is an energy barrier to getting information from a website. (Like remembering the URL, or even the name of the outfit.) Even once that's surmounted, when there's something I want to examine in detail, I invariably dump a copy to the printer rather than to read it at the monitor, and many others seem to have the same preference.

A printed brochure is right there, in your face, and it gives the instructor something tangible and relevant to hand over, possibly personalized with a name and address sticker and contact information. (There is an element of sales in this.) And the brochure can point to the URL for details that might be important to some but not to most.

Maybe the website could add a couple of pages tailored specifically to be usable as a freestanding brochure, suitable for laser printer-dumping that its members could print out to use as handouts. Not as elegant as a preprinted brochure, but a lot handier logistically and available in infinite supply to overcome the hazard of flyspray spills, etc., in truck or barn. (Didn't see anything like that there, but maybe I missed it.)

Sabine
Feb. 19, 2007, 01:28 PM
Sabine,

I'm getting to the conclusion that this is a cultural thing....
In Germany people that want to become riding instructors/horse trainers go to school and learn their trade (which results in certification). You never hear of riders taking legal action agains their teachers.

In the US there is very little certification, and what little there is is derided as being stupid and non-sensical. In the US there are also plenty of law-suits because a horse kicked somebody or a student fell off.

Who benefits?
In Germany - the students do because they learn how to ride well.

In the US - the insurance companies and the legal profession.

Stupid me, why would I even suggest a certification program in the US?


100% agreed- and since very few trainers here offer that level of knowledge and constructive teaching- I believe we can not really discuss it.

Adam- I used the schoolmaster as another example of how many shortcuts there are in this business....stuff that will make you believe on the surface that your are dealing with a pro- where in reality- true professional level knowledge and accomplishment is not present. This does of course not apply to everyone- but sadly to a large majority of trainers.

BarbB
Feb. 20, 2007, 02:48 PM
We have multiple certification programs in the US. None are perfect. They have to have some participation to stay in business. Do they

A) make it so hard (and therefore expensive) to get the certification that very well-established trainers will honor the certification? (Note I said 'honor', not actually 'do' - as established trainers they have no real financial interest in doing so.)

or do they B) focus more on the entry-level professional who would find the certification helpful in getting business?

There will always be the leaders who see the big picture and put themselves through a certification process even though they don't 'need' it. But there are many more who will theoretically agree that certification is a good thing, then fail to find one that meets their standards.

Here's the long view: every single instructor in the US should get certified by some organization. Period. Over time, having that much business - a 'mandate' if you will - will allow certification to 'grow up' in the US to meet most everyone's standards - from the most excellent, safe and caring up-down instructor who's only been riding for four years, to the David O'Connors and George Morrises among us.

Corollary thought - if you don't like what's happening with a particular group, raise your hand to serve on a committee and do something about fixing it. Or at least write a letter.


Have to agree with this. Everybody who is serious about horse sports in this country needs to get their head out of the sand and get serious about protecting what we value. Horse sports in America have always gone their separate ways, often with unconcealed disdain for those 'other' horse people.
If we want horse sports to be around in the future we had better start doing something now. The H/J people alone, the dressage people alone, the reining people alone, the trail riders alone CANNOT protect the industry. Developers know how to get county commissions and city councils and even the US Congress to let them do what they want with public and private lands. Do we have an effective way to fight back?
The average person seems to think that going shopping at the mall is a healthy outdoor sport. Do we have an alternative to offer them to entice them out of the mall?

We need to start viewing ourselves as an industry and fight back to survive. One step in that process is uniform criteria for instructors that can be presented to the public. What we really need is a system like the British have that everyone understands and that has credibility. Unfortunately we are going to have to build something similar from scratch.

No organization has a total handle on it yet, but we all need to support SOMEONE to get a handle on it. The way to start is to get everyone on board with the CONCEPT and raise the standards and re evaluate the criteria as we go along.....not the other way around.

Successful trainers/instructors who say they don't need to get certified are proably right......but the sport that they profess to love needs THEM.

*stumbling off my soapbox*
:winkgrin:

FuelsterFarm
Feb. 20, 2007, 08:41 PM
Right on Barb!

I think at the core of this "discussion" is the fact that we all agree and share concerns about our particular sport, and the equine industry at large.

Adamantane
Mar. 5, 2007, 09:03 PM
Couldn't resist linking this other peripherally relevant thread.

http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?p=2264324&posted=1#post2264324

Siegi and Sabine, I may be doing you both a serious disservice by deciding a priori that this eBay approach probably will horrify more than intrigue each of you. (Yes, there may be cultural differences, if not necessarily quite as stated a few days ago. And I have too much respect for everyone on both sides to spar in the culture wars, even though I have definite opinions. Baron von Steuben is not exactly the definitive arbiter.)

Although as the saying goes, 'man tut, was man kann,' [what ones knows, ones does] arguably to know more and to do more, one needs to take fresh approaches in the context of tradition as expanded by recent developments. At least I believe so. (Heck, I'm really one of you! By ancestry I'm more Prussian than anything else, admittedly with a century and a quarter of acculturation in the US.:) But you surely appreciate how rigid, smug, know-it-all, and arrogant we Prussians are...:D)

Sabine
Mar. 6, 2007, 01:05 AM
Adam- very cute in deed- not quite up to your prussian heritage though...;)

Although e-bay has many uses- serious dressage training doesn't seem to fit into the realm of its purpose....and although I do appreciate your attempt at diffusing the very politically correct tension- I frankly see very little value in this...I think Barb did a very nice job of describing where we are at..and I agree- I think there are in deed many that feel the need for a more formalized education and certification process that gives credence to the profession and would help to establish itself firmly on the list of desirable professional activities. Sadly- so far- in this country- the ones that rule are the ones that compete a lot in the major centers and get to ride a lot of really good horses and travel abroad to further their training...those are the ones where you can say- there is probably little risk to invest in training.

But this trainer is not reachable for most and certainly does not operate at the grass root level- where the future participants of this great sport are borne.

siegi b.
Mar. 6, 2007, 01:33 PM
Adamantane - for your edification (and yes, you do sound Prussian on occasion) ... :-)

Man tut was man kann.... = you do what you can possibly do.

for example - the displaced citizens of New Orleans need temporary housing accommodations, so you do what is within your possibilities.

signed/
non-rigid Bavarian

Adamantane
Mar. 6, 2007, 02:54 PM
Of course your translation is more accurate than mine, prone as I am sometimes to confound meanings of similar sounding verbs. :o

In East Prussia they would haul me out and make me cut trees down barehanded with an axe while repeating definitions until I was hoarse and my hands were blistered. (Or post without stirrups until my thighs were blistered or I toppled off the horse in agony with leg cramps, or both.):yes: :yes:

Lucky soul, you, from that far happier part of Germany -- under the same circumstance, maybe a slight scowl from someone, and then off to the Hofbraeuhaus with your friends for an evening and a couple of liters to assuage your momentary shame.:winkgrin:

KayBee
Mar. 7, 2007, 12:32 PM
Perhaps the most ridiculous examples are places where manicurists and hair-braiders must be occupationally licensed: it should be instantly obvious to anyone whether a hair braider can braid or a manicurist can trim nails and cuticles and file as needed. And if they can't, there is no real harm done, customers just don't go back and they tell their friends. (Of course the real reason for the licensure is to keep out competition by legal force, but that's another story.)


OT, but I ABSOLUTELY want a licensed manicurist. There are health issues -- people can have fungal infections in their finger/toenails and if manicurists don't sterilize their equipment? Or if they don't disinfect the pedicure foot baths?

EUGH!

ESG
Mar. 12, 2007, 03:58 PM
And every person on the "backside" of any racetrack, from trainers down to hot walkers, must be licensed. One wouldn't think that someone who walks out horses need be licensed, but apparently so.

CosmosMariner
Feb. 2, 2008, 10:52 PM
Here's my .02:

I was an ARIA certified instructor. I stayed certified for over 5 years. The certification really didn't help me much at all.

Before I took the tests I was very pro-ARIA/ARICP. I enthusiastically answered all 20 questions and put a lot of thought into them. I did my videos. I put all of my ducks in a row. I was so excited to become certified and participate in this program.

During the tests my doubts began to surface. There were many people who didn't really know their stuff but had done enough of the homework to get the certification at the lowest level. I found the test much to easy and simple to really rule anyone out. It was disappointing.

After the test and once the renewal notice was sent I was even more disappointed. I saw that their are levels of renewal fees. If you pay by X date you get this fee, if you pay by XX date you get this higher fee, if you pay by XXX date you get this even higher fee. I began to think it was a racket. Membership dues are a part of every organization. But the escalating scale is just offputting.

I kept the certification and payed the dues but really did not believe in the program any longer. Lately there are so many people in my area who are certified including some who really should not be. It seems to be just a way to get the insurance premiums down.

If I pursue a certification program again it will be one in which I directly prove my skills and are judged by a skilled professional. It will not be one in which all of the answers can be prewritten, memorized, pre-recorded and edited. Life is not that way nor should certification.

JMO