All of our riding staff, at Coppercreek Camp, are required to complete a 5 day CHA clinic which we host here at camp. CHA’s mission statement is, “To promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the entire horse industry. This is accomplished by certifying instructors, accrediting equine facilities and publishing educational resources.”
During CHA, our instructors, along with people from other camps and equestrian facilities, “practice” teaching riding lessons to each other. Under the careful supervision and instruction of two experienced CHA clinicians, each instructor must teach at least 3 mounted lessons and one unmounted lesson. After their lesson, they are given constructive feedback on what went well, what needs improvement, and any safety issues.
Each candidate is evaluated on two different criteria: their riding ability and their teaching ability. CHA is divided up into 4 levels with Level 1 being the most basic and appropriate for beginner riders. Level 4 would be for advanced riders who are capable of riding with an independent seat, leg and hands at all gaits and can jump. Candidates can only be certified to teach up to one level below their riding ability.
It is an intense 5 days filled with valuable information and experience. Each certified instructor leaves with a heightened sense of safety and competence. When you see a camp with certified CHA instructors, you know those instructors have been carefully “vetted” by the clinicians and you can feel more confident your child will be in capable hands, learning age appropriate equestrian instruction at the level of their riding ability.
In the horse world today, any person can hang a sign and call themselves a “riding instructor” and you have no idea if they actually know what they are doing. CHA creates a quality standard for instructors to follow. Instructors have to meet or exceed the criteria required during the clinic and then have to continue their equestrian education to maintain their certification.