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About Coaching

Leading Equestrian Coaching in Canada
About the EC Coaching Program

Equine Canada’s coaching program is developed in partnership with the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) and Sport Canada. Equine Canada is one of 67 sports participating in the NCCP, which represents coaching excellence in Canada.

The Equine Canada / NCCP provides coaches and instructors with the tools necessary to make the equestrian experience safe and enjoyable for all equine and human participants, and to develop excellence in horsemanship. Developing equestrian athletes is a secondary result of good coaching and instruction over time.

Whatever your level of participation as an equestrian, the goal of the program is to provide you with the best possible experience and an optimal learning environment. Whether you or your child are starting out, enjoying equestrianism as a leisure activity, or you are competing, there is an EC coach or instructor certified who specializes in working with participants at your level of ability.

As in any sport, athletic accomplishment, and teaching or coaching are separate skillsets. In equestrianism, horsemanship (ability to work with /train the horse) is a third area of competency. Being a good athlete or accomplished trainer does not necessarily give a coach/instructor the skills for being an effective teacher and coach. Equine Canada certification recognizes the coach/instructors’ teaching and coaching skills as meeting professional, and internationally recognized standards for coaching practice.

The EC coaching program is the only Canadian equestrian coaching and instructor certifying program also recognized internationally (FEI, IGEQ), and by Coaches of Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee. The EC coaching program is the nationally recognized certification program for equestrian coaches and instructors.

What Certification Means

Obtaining and maintaining certification as an EC coach or instructor testifies to the coach/instructor’s professionalism and competence as a teacher in equestrianism. To obtain a certificate initially, candidates are evaluated at the highest national standard, and must provide evidence of riding ability, a cleared Police check, adherence to the Equine Canada code of ethics, and a current First Aid/CPR certificate.

A coach or instructor who maintains their certification is a professional who is actively involved in the equestrian community and maintains currency through regular professional development and First Aid updating. To remain actively certified, coaches and instructors must maintain a current First Aid/CPR certificate, current police check, and relevant insurance.

How to Choose a Coach or Instructor

The level of instruction that is right for each equestrian depends on the coach or instructor’s area of specialization, teaching ability and experience relevant to the student’s level of development and context (ie: competitive or leisure, pro or amateur, beginner or more experienced). Equestrians may work with several instructors and coaches throughout their development journey.

See the section below for a description of instructor and coach specializations.

How to Choose the Right Certificate

The level of certification that is right for you as a coach or instructor, depends on the context in which you do most of your teaching and coaching. If you would like to become a coach or instructor, you would choose the certificate appropriate to the context of the students you work with the most (ie: competitive vs. non-competitive).

The EC coaching program offers two certification streams:
1. Instruction Non-competitive or recreational context. Specializes in starting beginners and teaching equestrians who enjoy their horses outside the competitive stream. It applies to individuals who teach beginner riders whether in their own backyard, riding schools or at day camps. Only certified instructors may maintain amateur competitive status while receiving remuneration for coaching.
Certificates in the program:
Instructor of Beginners: Available for English, Western and Saddleseat disciplines.
2. Coaching: Competitive contexts. Specializes in working with equestrians who compete. Each certificate in this stream specializes at different competitive levels. The higher the level, the more discipline-specific the coach would be. At the higher levels, the coach’s own competitive experience, as well as students’ results are factored in as part of the certification process.
Certificates in the program:

a. Competition Coach This program is targeting coaches who are interested in refining equestrian skills of participants of all ages who wish to compete at regional and ⁄ or provincial competitions (EC Bronze/Silver). There is no discipline specialization at this level. Available for English and Western disciplines, coming soon for Saddleseat
b. Competition Coach Specialist Specializes in working with students of all ages to consolidate and refine basic sport skills. Students are typically prepared to compete in regional and/or national level (EC Silver/Gold competitions) Available for English dicipline, coming soon for Western.
c. High Performance HP Coaches specialize in developing athletes: refining basic sport skills, developing more advanced skills and tactics, and preparing for performance in national to international level competitive standards.

For complete information about pre-requisites, application forms and how to become certified, go to the How to Get Certified page.


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