Certification for Riding Instructors Can Pave the Way to Success

Certification of riding instructors helps set a standard for consistency in lesson programs and can set you apart from others.

“Certification has so much to offer from tips to instructing riders to the business side of things,” said Schellie Blochberger. iStock/Casara Guru

In Europe, trainers are expected to complete specific levels of certification and apprenticeship before running their own business. It ensures up-and-coming horse professionals learn best practices on everything from teaching others to running a business. 

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Currently, certification in the United States is optional. However, those who have been certified by the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) believe it’s important to running a successful equine business.

When Schellie Blochberger started B and B Farm, LLC, in Russellville, Missouri, her business was based on her extensive show experience. However, once she got certified by CHA, it was something she wished she had done earlier.

“Don’t let your years of experience hold you back,” said Blochberger, who is certified Western and English and Jumping Level 2. “Certification has so much to offer from tips to instructing riders to the business side of things.”

She remembers that even though she had been teaching for years that she had an “Ah-ha” moment on the teaching side while performing a mock lesson to complete her certification.

“It was related to having a 4:1 ratio of riders to instructors like they recommend, and it reminded me that I really have to be on my toes when I’m teaching,” she said.

Megan Smits the executive director of Horses for Healing in Bentonville, Arkansas. She is a certified instructor with both CHA and the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH, Intl.). She agrees that certification helps set a standard for consistency in lesson programs and believes it is a best practice. She wouldn’t be surprised if the United States moved to a similar model down the road.

“In Europe, you have to work your way up and prove yourself,” she said. “I love that CHA is comprehensive, and it is a good way to set yourself apart from other instructors.”

Instructors can benefit from the resources CHA has to offer by becoming a member. Then they can choose to pursue certification at a later date. Benefits include access to educational resources, videos, webinars, safety posters and countless additional resources. To learn more or to become a member visit

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