Looking for an instructor? Here are some helpful hints to help make the selection.

  1. What should I look for in a dressage instructor or trainer?
  2. What other information should I consider when looking for an instructor?
  3. Does USDF have a list of recommended dressage instructors or trainers in my area?
  4. I don't find a USDF Certified Instructor in my area. Now what?
  5. What do the various categories of Certified Instructor/Trainer Certification mean?
  6. What is a USDF Certified Instructor/Trainer?
  7. What is an Associate Instructor?

What should I look for in a dressage instructor or trainer?

Riders may have different priorities when it comes to choosing an instructor/trainer. Whenever possible arrange to watch a potential instructor/trainer teach and or ride before you decide if it is a good match for you. USDF’s Certification Program is designed to educate dressage instructors to teach the classical concepts of dressage.

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What other information should I consider when looking for an instructor?

  • Talk to other riders whose style of riding you like to see who they like and why.
  • Go to a show and spend time at the warm up arena; see if you like what you see and hear; make note of anyone whose style you don't like.
  • Try to watch the instructor you are interested in ride and teach. If they do not want you to come to the facility where they teach to watch them ride/teach, this is probably not a good sign. An instructor should not have secrets or methods that are so questionable that they can't allow you to watch.
  • It is important to watch the instructor teach and ride in person. Do not make a decision based only on what you hear about them.
  • Trust your feeling as to whether you and the instructor would have good chemistry. It is important and makes the process either a good life experience or a bad one.
  • Before making a final decision, both student and potential instructor would benefit from a short discussion about what the student is looking for, i.e. their goals and what their expectations are from an instructor. Likewise the instructor can tell the student a little about their teaching style and their expectations for their students. That way if both are on the same page it’s more likely that it will be a mutually beneficial, long term relationship.

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Does USDF have a list of recommended dressage instructors or trainers in my area?

The USDF has a list of Certified Instructors/Trainers on their website. You can search that list to see if there is one or more USDF Certified Instructors/Trainers within reasonable distance of where you live. USDF Certified Instructors teach the classical concepts of dressage and meet specified proficiency standards.

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I don't find a USDF Certified Instructor in my area. Now what?

Your local Group Member Organization (GMO) might be able to help you locate someone in your area. If you are not a member of a GMO, you can search for one in your area on the GMO Listings by Region page of the USDF website

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What do the various categories of Certified Instructor/Trainer Certification mean?

What do the various categories of Certified Instructor/Trainer Certification mean?

The USDF Instructor Certification Program offers certification in three categories:

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What is a USDF Certified Instructor/Trainer?

A USDF Certified Instructor/Trainer is someone who has been certified by USDF in the areas of Teaching/Training, Lungeing of the Horse, Lungeing of the Rider and have successfully passed a written and verbal exam. Recognized Teachers have achieved this level of certification by achieving a score of 70% or higher in each area of the certification exam. Each Certified Instructor is a current USDF Participating Member, submits 16 hours of continuing education hours annually, has completed a course in First-aid and Safe Sport, and signs our program's code of conduct annually.

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What is an Associate Instructor?

Associate Instructors are recognized for their participation and completion in USDF Instructor/Trainer Workshops and their commitment to furthering their education. Each Associate Instructor is a current USDF Participating Member, submits 16 hours of continuing education hours annually, has completed a course in First-aid and Safe Sport, and signs our program's code of conduct annually. These program participants have not been tested for final certification.

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