Going for my PATH Instructor Certification! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 09-03-2013, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Just thought I'd update and share that I passed the 2nd of the written exams today and am well on my way to logging my certified hours. Feels good making progress

Good luck to the others on here who are at various stages of the certification process as well! There sure are a lot of hoops to jump through (*trying to find the motivation to renew my CPR certification...)
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post #12 of 18 Old 10-12-2013, 11:49 AM
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Hey....forgot to check back in here...but FYI I did pass my certification in August!!! YAY! The process wasn't easy but it was lots of fun! I was super stressed during the riding test--I would advise riding a couple lazy lesson horses through the pattern before going. I practiced with my own horse and it freaked me out a little being on a much less willing horse during the test. Anyway, I have been teaching 3-4 lessons each Sunday at a barn near my home and can't believe how smoothly it all came together :) best of luck to you that yours goes smoothly as well!
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post #13 of 18 Old 06-23-2014, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Final Update: I PASSED!

It's funny returning to this thread and getting the "old thread warning"- and sort of inspiring to realize that I first posted this thread over a year ago when I made the decision to pursue certification- this weekend, I passed the instructor certification test and I am officially done!

For anyone else going through the process, I would be more than happy to answer any questions about the on-site workshop and certification. I have a ton of thoughts floating around my head right now about how to prepare to be successful, and I'm going to try to take the time to write them down so I can share with others in the future.

In terms of the actual testing weekend, I was so fortunate to be testing with an AMAZING group of other candidates- the collaborative, supportive vibe all weekend was something I've truly never experienced in the horse world. I was by far the worst rider there (I was in awe of the beautiful, natural seats so many of the other candidates demonstrated in their riding test)- but even the accomplished former show riders were positive and helped me see the small things that went ok in my ride. Everyone was there all day to support each other's teaching lessons, helped get the arena ready for each person's sample teaching lesson, helped calm nerves for those who needed it and celebrated when people nailed their teaching.

It was a ton of work, but so totally worth it!
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post #14 of 18 Old 06-23-2014, 01:37 PM
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I would love to get my certification, but I'm not sure if I can find someone in the area that has done this and could help me along.

Thats so cool you passed! So excited for you!
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post #15 of 18 Old 11-11-2014, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
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Egrogan, congratulations!

I have a question for you! You mentioned you sat theory examinations. Did you guys get a reading list? If so, what was on it?

I'm asking because I originally learnt to ride in Germany over 30 years ago and there, we were expected to read up on the subject as well, like a pilot going for a license. After I initially got competent at riding (basic dressage, drummed into you, I started at age nine), most of my follow-up progress was actually from reading very good books written by highly experienced people, and obviously continued work with horses, who IMO are the best teachers.

On this forum I have noticed a considerable crowd who tend to be very dismissive of the potential role of reading in a person's further development as a horseperson. It has really astounded me! Is this a cultural thing? A product of the information age? Or just a hillbilly attitude? I would appreciate your opinions on the matter.

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post #16 of 18 Old 11-11-2014, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Sue. It's an interesting reflection. I won't pretend to speak for people who dismiss the value of reading about riding, but I am sympathetic to those who are more "kinesthetic" learners and really need to learn by doing. With something as physical as riding, it certainly helps to be on the horse and develop a "feel" for when things go right- and personally, I think getting that feel probably happens fastest when you have an instructor with you (but I know that's a whole separate topic that gets people in an argument quickly!).

Personally, as a kid, I had very little real life horse time, so my only choice was to read everything I could get my hands on. And I very literally did- by the time I was 10 or 11, I had checked out every book on horses that my small-town library had in their collection. And had a bookcase full of my own. On the rare occasion my grandparents paid for a session of lessons, or I got to ride a friend's horse, I would be sitting on the horse, seeing the words from the book, and willing my body to cooperate with what I knew I should be doing- but with mixed success. Even now, I still know a lot more about riding from "book learning" than I could ever do myself on a horse. I can tell you what I should be doing while riding, but whether I can actually do it is a different story.

As far as the specifics of preparing for the PATH exams, there was a reading list. At the "Registered Instructor" level (which is what I have), the expectations for riding are basic whoa, back, walk, trot, canter with horse and rider in correct position. Master Instructors require more advanced skills like demonstrating lead changes, but there are not all that many Master Instructors out there. The preparation manuals covered basic riding, but also horse care basics, instruction and human disabilities. I think you have to be a member or purchase the manuals, so I don't think I can post them here.

We were also encouraged to read the Pony Club or BHS Instructor Manuals- in a lot of ways, the PATH manuals are fairly similar to those, but with more emphasis on disabilities. I also read through (and practiced with my horse) Cherry Hill's 101 Arena Exercises, Themed Lesson Plans for Riding Instructors, and Teaching Children to Ride.

All those are fairly basic though. I've noticed on this site that one of our members, bsms, seems to read a lot of classical writing on riding, which I find fascinating. When I finally get more time in my life, I think that will be high on my list of things to do!
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post #17 of 18 Old 11-11-2014, 09:29 PM
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This is so interesting, egrogan, thank you for your reply!

Funny that - in Europe, basic dressage training for beginners included all the arena figures at all the basic paces, plus rein-back the exact number of steps indicated, plus turn on the forehand, plus simple change of leg at the canter (usually in a figure-8, which is the easiest way to ride it), plus cavaletti work, plus jumping simple obstacles competently.

Flying changes I taught myself and my Arabian mare out of books, and was a big party trick for us, she did them really well. Ditto different tempi, influencing of stride length versus frequency, working properly on the bit with impulsion, transitions without intermediate gaits, etc etc. We were pretty isolated living in the middle of nowhere in Australia and I worked with an occasional stills camera. I appreciate that people have different learning styles, but I think we all learn by doing with horses, and whether the technical information and riding programme comes verbally from a trainer or from a written medium and other form of feedback (such as photography or competition) hasn't mattered to me, having experienced both.

And when we came to Australia, on one occasion we actually went to all the trouble to get me to pony club with my mare for a rally when I was 15, and everyone oohed and aahed, instructor included, because we did turns on the forehand and exact steps requested rein-back and a few other things I'd learnt in my basic course in Germany as a 9-year-old. They were still working, after years of having horses, at such a basic level - sitting properly, basic transitions, cantering, nothing more complicated on offer - it was pointless to attend, and I competed instead with the quota of float trips I was allowed, and almost always very successfully. I couldn't have done that without the excellent resource library I had at my disposal. My basic manuals were Australian Tom Roberts' quartet of horse and rider training manuals and they were so superb, you could imagine the feel you were after in your head before you got on the horse. I read them voraciously and applied them, and cross-read other people's ideas as well to get potentially different approaches. TR was great because he always had multiple ways of dealing with particular problems, not a one-size-fits-all approach.

I am so glad people like that have taken the trouble to write all this stuff down to pass it on to others (which TR did in his 70s when he was wheelchair bound by arthritis and no longer able to instruct in person). Like Newton said, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." It's a pity that some very tall giants appear to be dismissed because they speak from the grave...through the printed word.

I like bsms' posts too. He digs up good giants on a regular basis and writes most entertainingly!

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post #18 of 18 Old 11-11-2014, 09:46 PM
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PS: I also rode bareback a lot from the time I came out of that basic dressage course, on trails at all paces as well, and this has continued to feature regularly in the repertoire - enjoyed by both parties. I do think, looking back on it, that this helped my riding tremendously, in part because you fall off if you incorrectly anticipate or communicate or are in any way unbalanced at the paces upwards from a walk - and this is such a hyperfocusing situation!

When I've occasionally taught visitors on horseback through the years, I found that putting their reins in the halter Ds instead of the bit and lungeing them (on the line or free in a roundyard with a trained horse) was very good for avoiding carnage to a horse's mouth and therefore also tension in the horse (which in turn creates a vicious cycle for a rider then even less able to sit soft and get the rhythm). With very athletic people, starting them totally bareback on a lunge, with a rope off a halter as an emergency line they could grab without hurting the horse, also did wonders for getting them to pick up harmony very quickly - and then no incorrect sitting in the saddle afterwards, because the seat is already independent.

Of course, I do that privately, and I suppose with the litigiousness of modern society, you may not be encouraged to work with students bareback where you are? I mean, they were pulling out swings in Melbourne a few years ago too, because they were worried that children would break their arms and parents would sue. I think they prefer the children to be couch potatoes and die of a cardiac arrest a few decades later, when no single party can be held accountable for that incident.

It's great you work with people with disabilities - I work with one quite regularly and she actually does carriage driving with RDA because in a wheelchair. Loves horses and donkeys and we have her come over and hobnob with our long-ears and the gentle 30-year-old gelding when we get a chance.

Nice chatting with you! Are you going to perhaps journal/blog on your instruction experiences? If so, please let me know where!

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