Editor's note: We are running a series of articles on hiring riding instructors and employees for your horse farm or riding stable. You can find other articles in these series under Articles>Stable Management.
Certification isn’t a legal requirement for instructors in the United States or Canada, but in most European countries it is. Even if it isn't mandatory, having a certified riding instructor can be a boost for your business.
Individuals new to the horse industry, especially parents, have questions about safety. Having certified instructors on staff can help ease their concerns.
“It (certification with CHA) says that the instructor went through a safety process by a third party to make sure that they are conducting safe and effective lessons for your clients,” said Christy Landwehr, Chief Executive Officer for the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA).
Safety is among the top reasons stable managers choose to hire instructors with certification, but there might also be financial benefits to doing so.
Instructors with certifications might command higher fees for teaching. Even though you’ll be paying the individual more, that can translate into higher profits for the stable.
Even if you think the local market won’t tolerate higher fees, the increase can be set off by savings on insurance. “Often, certification can also help you with your insurance fees by providing discounts in this area,” Landwehr added.
In most cases, once an instructor earns a certification, he or she has an opportunity to remain connected with the organization through which the certification was earned. That means the instructor will have access to continuing education opportunities and educational tools he or she can use with clients.
Certified instructors also will have access to a large network of other certified professionals with whom they can network and share ideas.
Certified instructors can also be used in marketing efforts to bring in new clients. From word of mouth to traditional advertising, you can use the certification credential as one reason riders should choose you over a competitor.
There’s also a good chance that a certified instructor will be invited to speak as an expert at local, national or international events. When that person works for you and introduces himself or herself at the beginning of a workshop, your stable is benefitting from the exposure.
There are two organizations for equine professionals seeking certification.
The American Riding Instructors Association (ARIA) is based in Bonita Springs, Florida. Learn more at https://riding-instructor.com.
The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) is headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky. Visit http://cha-ahse.org/ to learn more.