Feb 08, 2021

USEA Instructors' Certification Program Introduces Updates to Levels and Mission

ICP certified instructor Leslie Law teaching a student at the 2018 USEA Educational Symposium. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

The idea of certifying instructors for teaching the sport of eventing was conceptualized in 1999 with the formation of the USEA Instructors' Certification Program (ICP), with the first ICP Workshop occurring in 2002. The goals of the program were to certify qualified instructors and develop a road map for mandatory certification of eventing instructors. The ICP remains steadfast in its adherence to striving for those goals today.

What these original goals fostered was a much broader and more important mission: the mission of providing and expanding excellence in the teaching of the sport of eventing. The incredible body of information that has been amassed within the existing curriculum, in the ICP Standards booklet, and in the ICP Workbook, provides invaluable resources that should be coveted by all eventing instructors. This monumental compilation of information and resource is directly the result of the founding guiding minds and ICP faculty members’ desire to create a strong foundation for our sport to stand on. A platform to support excellence in eventing instruction was created, and while mandatory certification remains a goal in the process, there are many, many instructors who have benefited from the ability to stand on that platform.

The evolution of the sport over the past 20 years has prompted the ICP committee and faculty to begin the process of evaluation and modification to create currency and credibility. One of those many changes, from format to added divisions, is the evolving role of the instructor and coach with respect to USEA competitions and competitors. The influence of the instructor/coach on eventing competitors, at every level, is significant. In fact, there may be no greater influence on the success, welfare, and safety of most riders in USEA competition than the instructor. The instructor not only instructs but is responsible for preparing riders and horses to meet each level of competition, equipping riders and horses with the skills required to be safe and successful at each level, is instrumental in deciding at which level the rider should compete, and deciding when they are ready to move up the levels. In the modern sport of eventing, particularly in North America, the risk management of multiple athletes is in the hands of the instructor/trainer/coach.

Therefore, to meet the demands of change, one of the initial steps of that process has been to re-tool the ICP mission statement. The original mission statement did justice to the basic premise of accrediting instructors for the sport of eventing. However, what was created under that original premise is so much more than an accreditation process. What was created is a vast resource and network in support of improving education for our sport.

The exercise of writing a new mission statement brought to the forefront a lot of good language that described what the ICP is, what the ICP does, what guides the ICP program, and what the ICP is capable of. It became clear that rather than be limited by the concise language appropriate for a mission statement, it was an opportunity to use more of that descriptive language to develop multiple guiding documents, including a Mission Statement, a Vision Statement, Core Values, and Goals and Objectives. These documents will serve to guide as the ICP builds a stronger and broader platform for excellence in instruction for the sport of eventing in the United States.

Marilyn Payne instructing at the 2019 USEA ICP Symposium. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Levels

The ICP levels of certification have been updated to align with new recognized competition levels, which are continually being added.

  • Level I - Starter through Novice level riding/training/competing and horse care
  • Level II - Training, Training Three-Day, Modified, and CCI* level riding/training/competing and horse care
  • Level III - Preliminary/CCI2* and Intermediate/CCI3* level riding/training/competing and horse care
  • Level IV – Advanced/CCI4* level riding/training/competing and horse care

This change affects Levels I and II, moving Training to Level II and Preliminary to Level III.

This includes previously certified instructors at Level II who were certified through the Preliminary level and CCI*, and will retain their status by being designated as Level II/P instructors. Previously certified instructors at Level I would retain their current designation for Level 1-Novice and Level I-Training.

Mission Statement

The mission of the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program is to produce and improve the craft and art in the teaching of riding and horse management for the sport of eventing through the application of the highest principles of horsemanship, which ensures the ethical and humane treatment of horses and the safety of both horses and riders and extends to all those associated with the health and well-being of the horses.

Vision Statement

The USEA Instructors’ Certification Program promotes excellence in horse training, instructing, and coaching for the sport of eventing at all levels.

Core Values

  • Commitment to Safety: The ICP recognizes that safety is the paramount criterion in all aspects and activities for the benefit of the horse, rider, and the sport of eventing.
  • Continuing Education: The ICP is committed to instructors becoming model teachers and horsemen through their ongoing commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Commitment to Classical Principles: The ICP adheres to a foundation of classical methodology and principles for the development and training of horses and riders.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: The ICP is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion and seeks to ensure a welcoming environment for all participants.

Goals and Objectives

Certification

  1. The Instructors' Certification Program Committee shall be responsible for the development and application of the USEA Instructors' Certification Program.
  2. The ICP sets standards, monitors results, and continually and proactively upgrades standards of educating riders, horse training, instruction, and coaching for the sport of eventing.
  3. The ICP is responsible for certifying instructors who demonstrate excellence in education at all levels of the sport. Certification is awarded to those instructors who promote and produce the highest standard of skill, horsemanship, horse management, safety, and horse welfare.
  4. The ICP provides relevant resources and educational opportunities to instructors and coaches in preparation for certification and provides certified instructors with the most current tools and techniques available.

Education

  1. The ICP seeks to understand the vast variety of processes by which students and riders learn and to develop and adapt educational information such that it may be appropriately communicated according to individual and specific learning styles.
  2. The ICP develops and improves the instructors’ ability to accurately assess both the strengths and weaknesses of horses and riders and to correctly evaluate and prescribe exercises and activities that are appropriate for their current level of skill and development.
  3. The ICP enables participating instructors to work in a collegial and instructive environment that values and respects continual learning.
  4. The ICP identifies and delineates the similarities and differences between teaching and coaching and the appropriate application of each.
  5. The ICP organizes and supports educational programs for USEA members that embody the industry’s best practices and classical training methodology.

About the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program

Instructors are essential to the training of riders and horses for safe and educated participation in the sport of eventing. The USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) was initiated in 2002 to educate all levels of eventing instructor with essential training principles upon which those instructors can continue to build throughout their teaching careers. ICP offers educational workshops and assessments by which both regular instructors, Level I through Level IV, Young Event Horse (YEH) instructors, and Young Event Horse professional horse trainers can become ICP certified. Additional information about ICP’s goals, benefits, workshops, and assessments as well as names and contact information for current ICP certified instructors, YEH instructors, and YEH professional horse trainers are available on the USEA website. Click here to learn more about the Instructors’ Certification Program.

The USEA would like to thank EquiAppraisal and Parker Equine Insurance for sponsoring the Instructors’ Certification Program.

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Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA

Official Horse Boot of the USEA