The U.S. Equestrian Federation announced the launch of the Para-Equestrian Dressage Coach Certification Program developed by Michel Assouline, USEF para-equestrian dressage technical advisor and head of coach development. This is a first of its kind coaching program for the industry in the United States. The certificate program comprises of four levels: master coach, silver coach, bronze coach, and apprentice coach. In 2018, USEF launched the pilot program, which played a role in the medal count for members of the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team at the FEI World Equestrian Games (North Carolina).
The curriculum covers the principles of para-dressage coaching, including guided improvement process, coaching philosophy and sport-specific skill acquisition. Moreover, it increases a coach’s ability to prepare athletes from grassroots education to international competitions, through progression of the certificate levels. With its goal of coach development, the program uses classroom lecture time as well as simulated lessons to give coaches information and feedback on their teaching, knowledge, and overall performance. Additionally, the program involves onsite practicums, self-study, online exams, and final assessments. The certificate program takes three to six months to complete, with a fast-track program available to qualifying coaches. Currently, 31 participants from the pilot program aim to be fast-tracked in 2019.
“The new coaching program is there to develop better coaches but also a better system. I have always believed that a coach is not just a coach but also a networker, someone who brings a group together, that works with other professionals,” said Assouline, who introduced the program alongside USEF Director of Sport Will Connell and USEF Director of Para-Equestrian Laureen Johnson during USEF’s Annual Meeting “Coaching, Youth and Para-Dressage” panel. “To be a good coach, you have to understand your team, and you have to work with your team. [We also] arranged the program around that concept of working within a team.”
Assouline brings a decade of curriculum development and Paralympic coaching experience to the program. USEF-approved faculty will join Assouline in accepting applications, delivering on-site practicums, and performing final assessments. The following are the 2019 dates of the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Coach Certification Program:
*Eligible candidates must attend one of the following
• Option 1: Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, Loxahatchee, Florida, March 3-4
• Option 2: Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, North Carolina, Sept. 7-8
*Accepted candidates must attend both of the following
• Onsite Practicum 1: Tryon International Equestrian Center, May 15-16
• Final Practicum & Assessment; Tryon International Equestrian Center, Sept. 9-10