Punk- thank you so much for such a detailed response- so helpful. A few thoughts from me below...
When you volunteer, see if the instructor will let you teach small portions of the lesson (or even the whole lesson under their guidance).
Yep, we are definitely doing this-which is what made me think that if I'm doing this anyway, I might as well be doing it for the process of certification.
...we printed out the test and I practiced it a million times on different horses.
This is helpful- it's been over a year since I've ridden a horse besides my own, and I know I'll be jittery riding a "strange" horse- I've got to find some opportunities to ride some others. I think I'd do well enough if I took the riding test now on my horse, but on another, I don't know.
The lesson plan portion of the test isn't terribly hard, if you can ask your mentor to see if you can write some lesson plans for the students you're working with regularly - or even go through the lesson you just taught and write what would have been the lesson plan for practice. PATH is very particular about how they like them written.
My mentor is going to show me the format, but this is the part I'm least worried about- in my former life, I was a public school teacher and had a lot of students on IEPs, so I'm completely confident I can write a good lesson plan and deliver it in person in any bureaucratic format required
The toughest part for me was that in all the places I've worked and interned at we teach the lessons having the instructor walk along with the student in private lessons - but the PATH certification requires it be a group of 2 or more to count as hours (unless they've changed that by now). And the lesson in your test is with 2 students
I'm so glad you brought this up, because this is going to be the hardest part for me. Our center also does almost exclusively private lessons, which is why I think it's going to take me almost the full year to get enough supervised hours with groups of 2+. I have some ideas- for example, one of the places I formerly volunteered actually allowed the therapeutic riders to bring a peer rider to their lessons for free, as it was good to have another child (these were all young kids) there to model behaviors and physical movements. I think I can talk to the program director to see if she'd be open to this. In my prior experience, these were all able-bodied riders, so while it would require another horse handler, I don't think it would stretch the capacity of side-walker volunteers. But otherwise, I'm worried about meeting this requirement at my current farm.
I'm not sure which state you're in but you'll want to check and find out if you need a state license too.
Hehe- I'm in New Hampshire, and given that we have almost no laws about anything here, I doubt that's required- but a good flag to check into it!
Again, thanks so much for your advice. I really appreciate it.