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Mon, 2016-11-28 10:33

USEA Instructors' Certification Program Introduces Two New Young Event Horse Certificates

Authored By: Sue Hershey
USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce a new training certificate available to young horse trainers through the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) and USEA Young Event Horse Program (YEH). Starting in 2017, ICP will offer two new certificates: the ICP Young Event Horse Instructor certificate for those who teach many students aboard young horses and the ICP Young Event Horse Professional Trainer certificate for those who develop the under saddle abilities of young event horses. ICP will of course continue to offer its ICP Level I-Novice through Level IV Instructor certificates. 

  • ICP Young Event Horse Instructor: an individual who teaches students aboard young horses.
  • ICP Young Event Horse Professional Trainer: an individual who develops the under-saddle abilities and performance of young event horses by riding them him- or herself as a paid occupation.

Linking Nature and Nurture

Since 2007, the YEH Committee, chaired by Dr. Tim Holekamp and Marilyn Payne, as well as the USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Committee, chaired by Susan Graham White and Robin Walker, have sought to focus American event horse breeders on, among other topics, attention to the genotype and the past performance of stallions and mares before selecting whom to breed to produce foals with high potential. That’s “nature.”  But, as soon as a foal is produced, that animal is handled, communicated with, shaped by the incentives and disincentives provided by humans, as well as by other animals and each horse’s environment.  Once that foal is two or three or four, that animal is introduced to the tack and to a rider’s weight and aids, and his or her lifelong process of education and training, positive and/or negative, has begun. That’s “nurture.” A horse’s phenotype is described by the Macmillan Open Dictionary as “the qualities or features of a living thing that are the result of the way that its genes and the environment have affected each other” – i.e., nature plus nurture.

The YEH Committee realized that even the most careful selection of parents does not assure high performance from their offspring. Equally as important as sound breeding is utilization of safe, humane, experienced, and insightful on-the-ground and under-saddle training. Who, specifically, can offer positive, productive assistance to owners and amateur riders as they develop their young event horses?  FEH’s, YEH’s, and ICP’s answer: instructors and professional trainers whose experience and skills have been confirmed in the eyes of other experienced horsemen and horsewomen who are themselves knowledgeable and experienced in the development of skilled and willing young event horses.  Just as FEH and YEH are able to assist American breeders with the equine parent selection process and the early development of young event horses, so ICP-certified YEH instructors and ICP-certified Young Event Horse professional trainers will be able to assist American young horse owners, riders, and anyone else interested with high quality under-saddle development of their 4- and 5-year-olds, whether those horses are purebreds, crossbreds, or, more specifically, American Thoroughbreds.


Individuals who wish to obtain either of these two new certificates will be required to participate in a 3-day ICP YEH Workshop, which will include teaching riders on young event horses each day for those seeking the YEH Instructor certificate and riding young event horses each day for those seeking the YEH Professional Trainer certificate.  Skills necessary to all three event competition phases will be addressed during this ICP YEH Workshop. After attending an ICP YEH Workshop, YEH  instructors and YEH professional trainers may attend an ICP Assessment to be evaluated for ICP certification. Those individuals seeking the YEH Professional Trainer certificate will ride young horses at an ICP Assessment.

ICP has developed the YEH Workshop curriculum as well as the Teaching Skills Sheets and the Training Skills Sheets for the evaluation at any ICP Assessment of YEH instructors and YEH professional trainers, respectively. More information on these certificates will be forthcoming following the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention. The ICP Open Meeting will take place on Saturday, December 10 5:00-6:00 p.m. For any immediate questions regarding these certificates, please email Sue Hershey at [email protected]

Save the Date! ICP, YEH and FEH Teaming Up for the Ultimate Educational Opportunity this Winter

The Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) and the USEA’s Future Event Horse (FEH) and Young Event Horse (YEH) Programs are teaming up to bring USEA members the ultimate educational opportunity in Florida this winter. Historically these educational seminars are hosted separately, but they have joined forces to ease travel requirements for instructor and young horse enthusiasts. Join us in Ocala, Fla. February 20-22, 2017, for three days of learning from a variety of professionals. The lead instructor for the ICP Symposium at Longwood will be the world renowned Australian Olympian, Burghley CCI4* and Le Lion d’Angers winner, Chris Burton.  Click here for more information. 

About the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program

Started in 2002, the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) educates all levels of eventing instructors to confirm their knowledge base, both theoretical and practical, upon which they will continue to build throughout their teaching lifetime. ICP Identifies essential training principles for riders and horses, drawn from time-tested sources and from experience with today’s competition challenges, offers materials, workshops, and mentor opportunities to instructors, and certifies instructors at a specific ICP Level of teaching knowledge and proficiency. To learn more about the ICP Program, click here.

About the USEA Young Event Horse Program

The USEA Young Event Horse Series (YEH) is best described as an eventing talent search. The goal is to identify young horses that possesses the talent and disposition that, with proper training, can excel in the uppermost levels of eventing. The Series gives owners and breeders the opportunity to showcase the potential of their 4- and 5-year-old horses while encouraging the breeding and development of top-level event horses for the future. Classes focus on education and preparation of the event horse in a correct and progressive manner as young horses are judged on conformation, dressage and jumping/galloping. To learn more about the YEH Program, click here.


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