Are You an Accomplished Equestrian?

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Are you an accomplished equestrian?  How do you know?  What equates “accomplished”?  My dream is to become an accomplished equestrian.  I often ask myself, how will I know when I get there?  I’ve been giving this a lot of thought and have come up with a couple of different ways that I could quantify my accomplishment.

The United States Equestrian Federation is the governing body for my sport.  I think they have an entire points and awards system.  Honestly though, I just looked at their website and could not figure it out.

U.S. Equestrian Federation LogoRated shows:  Horse shows are rated.  There are “B” shows and “A” shows.  “A” shows are bigger than “B” shows and supposedly have stiffer competition.  Nikki and I have only been to schooling shows, which are below “B” shows.

Again, I’ve just done some internet research on the subject and I cannot tell you how shows are rated or by whom.  The whole area of “points” and “rated shows”, etc. has always been and still is a slight mystery to me.

I’m sure my trainer probably knows – I’ll have to ask him to sit down and explain it to me.  I think I’ll feel more “accomplished” when I’m realizing success at “A” shows.

Instructor Certification:  I think I’m safe to say that most riding instructors are not certified in any way.  However, the American Riding Instructor Association (ARIA) does offer a certification program.  The requirements look fairly rigorous.  There are exams given throughout the country.  There are multiple different levels and specialty certifications available.

I could look into this.  I have taught horseback riding in the past and really enjoyed it.

I would definitely still be teaching if I had an appropriate lesson horse.  I do best with beginners and have had some success working with people who are scared of horses but want to learn to ride.

The British Horse Society also offers a training and certification program.  In my mind, the BHS certification is more widely recognized than the ARIA.  Let’s put it this way – I’d never heard of the ARIA until I did a bit of research for this post.  Earning an BHS certification has always lingered in the back of my mind.  The training program is difficult and expensive, and I think must be done under a BHS certified instructor, none of which are near me.

There is a horse owner’s certificate which may be completed through “distance learning”.  That may be a place to start.  Any certificate program may be too much of a financial undertaking and time commitment to ask of my family at the moment.  I can hear my husband now, “Why don’t you just go ride your horse first?”

Judge’s Card:  Become a horse show judge.  I actually took horse judging in college and could have been on the Horse Show Judging Team (yep, its a competitive sport).  Again, a quick internet search did not turn up a clear “how to become a horse show judge”.  It does look like a good way to get started is to do 4H shows.  I’m not sure I know enough at this point, nor do I have have enough show experience myself.  I think judging will have to wait awhile.

Those are a few of the ways I’ve thought about to quantify “accomplished equestrian”.  Of course, there’s always being able to jump a Grand Prix course or the Olympics, Rolex, or something like that.  Ha Ha Ha Ha . . .

What do you think makes an “accomplished equestrian”?  I’d love to know.


(Danelle left 8 Women Dream in March of 2010 and is still working  on her dream is to become an accomplished equestrian)

  • Patti

    This post article is very professionally written. I enjoy reading your posts and 8womendream every day. I wish you would post more pictures of your farm, horse and life. Your stories are so interesting and make me laugh.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I love the photos of your horse – I wish you’d share more of them here

  • Remy

    Danelle – the last time I rode a horse I was thrown off on the side of a cliff and got a hairline fracture in my hip. Taking a tour of the Goleta Valley Hospital is not the cool way to end a vacation. That was 1986.
    If you need any “new” riders who need to get over fear of riding, gimme a call. I love horses and loved riding. I just never got back on. I admire your determination to get to the bottom of the industry’s certification/status system. Sometimes I think the powers that be do that on purpose so that its reallly hard to accomplish the goal. Maybe that is the cynic in me….Keep on it! You will get there!

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I’ll come watch. Anywhere –