Riding Instructor Certification and Licensing

Marie has been teaching hunt seat for almost 10 years. As a junior rider, she had a successful show career with her two horses. As an adult rider, she has ridden in advanced lessons and clinics with well-known and talented professionals. She is an excellent teacher of both children and adults, and she certainly has the experience and knowledge to teach beginner riders; however, she is not licensed or certified.

Some states, like Massachusetts, require horseback riding instructors to be state licensed. To gain a license in Massachusetts, an instructor hopeful must perform a 6-month apprenticeship with a licensed riding instructor, 60 hours of which must be teaching mounted students under direct supervision of that licensed instructor. Instructor apprentices must also pass a written exam.

“There should be some sort of license or certification program for riding instructors,” said Paula, mother of a riding student. “We put our kids’ lives in their hands. We should have something that says they’re capable of that responsibility.”

Certification programs exist in the United States including the American Riding Instructor’s Association (ARIA) and the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). These associations offer clinics and testing sites.

So if the opportunity is there, why wouldn’t someone like Marie not be licensed or certified? First, her state doesn’t have a licensing program. And second, in a word–cost.

“I would love to be certified,” Marie explains. “But I can’t afford the cost involved.” Marie teaches at a riding school, like most riding instructors in the area. And, like most instructors like her, she doesn’t have change to spare.

Both ARIA and CHA charge close to $600 for certification testing. Additionally, they require yearly membership fees and yearly renewal fees. “That’s like a week a half’s pay for me,” Marie explains.

In contrast, the Massachusetts license application is $20. If a state license program were available to Marie for a minimal cost, such as that of Massachusetts, would she do it? “Of course! I think it would be great for instructors, students and the industry,” she said.

In addition to riding instructors, riding stables in Massachusetts must be licensed as well at a cost of about $100.

Similar to Massachusetts, Maryland requires state license of riding stables. According to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, “Licensing helps ensure that animals in commercial stables are cared for in a safe, sanitary manner and that horses used in the riding stable are fit for that purpose.” The Maryland Department of Agriculture inspects licensed riding stables annually.

7 Safety Tips For Electric Ride-On Toys

Electric ride-on toys are almost as much fun for grown-ups, watching a child imagine they are really driving, as it is for the little one who is really driving. But, it is not fun for the grown-up or the little one if there is a mishap.

Here are 7 Safety Tips to keep your child from harm while driving their electric ride-on toy car or truck:

  1. Adult Supervision: This is the first and most important tip of all. Always be sure there is a responsible adult overseeing the rider at all times. Remember, children really believe they are driving and may take unnecessary risks.
  2. Wear a Helmet: Children should always wear a helmet. A bicycle helmet will do nicely.
  3. Wear a Seat Belt: Not all electric (battery-operated) cars are equipped with seat belts. However, if the car has a seat belt, be sure the child is taught to “buckle up”.
  4. Adjust Seats: If the car has adjustable seats, adjust them so that the child sits comfortably and can reach the pedal easily.
  5. Before Allowing the Child to Drive, introduce him/her to each of the car’s functions and features. Show them how the steering wheel works and controls their direction.
  6. Breaking System: Be sure your child understands that the breaking system is automatic; when pressure is removed from the “gas” pedal, the car will stop.
  7. Keep Off the Road: Ride-on cars are toys, not street-safe vehicles. Keep them out of the streets and off the road.

Ride-on toy safety is really very basic and if the adult on duty is attentive, everyone will have a great time.

Managing ADD is Like Riding a Bike

Remember when you learned to ride a bike?

You probably started out with a tricycle when you were very young. At some point, you got the coveted two-wheeler with training wheels. And most likely, one day, one of your parents told you that you were ready to take those training wheels off.

Excitement and joy arose when a sunny spring day appeared and you knew it was your time to shine…to be a “big kid.” And you probably resented the adult who held on to the back of the bike as you started riding.

But when they did eventually let go, what happened?

You fell.

Splat! Right over on your side. You thought you could do it, but it turned out balance on two wheels is a lot different than balance on four. That adult was right.

Maybe you cried. Maybe you skinned a knee or an elbow. Perhaps you found your little self completely disappointed and frustrated about what you thought you could do without effort.

But no matter how you felt, you got up and got back on that bike.

Maybe right away, and maybe a week later. But you got back on the bike. You practiced. You fell many more times, but you kept getting back on.

And now, as an adult, you know how to ride a bike. You may not do it very often, and you may fall every now and then, but you know how to ride a bike.

So what makes you think that managing your ADD is any different than riding a bike?

What makes you think that the minute you set your mind to something, you can accomplish it instantly?

Organization, time management, better focus and concentration, emotional regulation…they all require practice. They all require the willingness to try again in the face of failure.

Managing ADD is like riding a bike. Expect a learning period. Expect quite a few falls. Expect a hard time finding your balance.

And no matter what, always get back on the bike.