Clinic Instructors Fred Bruce and Jane Olsen welcomed Matthew and Christen at Cohutta Springs. Together with 9 other instructor candidates they began their clinic with a riding evaluation. Matthew and Christen both received almost top rank. Then came the written test on horse safety, health, and theory. Again, both passed with flying colors. Now that the clinic instructors were aware of everyone’s riding abilities, it was time to begin the week’s worth of instructing evaluations.
Each day started at 8am with a good breakfast followed by mock instructing periods down at the barn. Each instructor was given topics to teach on the night before correlating to one of the certification levels.
Each mock teaching session needed to include getting riders mounted, explaining the exercise, demonstrating the skill, and then coaching our class as they tried the new skill. Each teaching session lasted 15 min. Instructor candidates were then evaluated by their peers as well as the clinic instructors.
This particular clinic was a CHA combined clinic. Instructors could be certified in English and Western Riding, as well as, Trail Riding.
For trail riding certification participants went on an overnight trail ride. All of the instructor candidates were split into groups. Each group was in charge of a certain aspect of planning for an overnight trial ride. Matthew was given the task of overseeing the entire operation while Christen was put on horse crew, which meant planning and packing the gear to secure, feed, water, care for the horses while at the campsite.
Campsite selection, fire building, securing horses, and (everyone’s favorite) food preparation were just some of the skills demonstrated on the overnight trail ride. Once again, Christen and Matthew passed with the high marks.
After completing the entire week of evaluations and testing, Matthew and Christen both received full certifications as English & Western riding instructors and as Overnight Trail Ride Guides.
Matthew and Christen both have plans of attending other CHA clinics for further certifications. Matthew’s next CHA goal is to certify as a Pack Trip Guide so that he can set out on trial for up to two weeks, while Christen is looking forward to having advanced certifications within both the English and Western disciplines. Christen and Matthew are also looking to have the barn itself certified.