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I'm going to be attending the CHA instructor certification clinic at the Home Ranch later this month, and have a couple of questions about the demo lessons we are to teach as part of certification. Will the subject matter be decided upon by you, or are we to decide on subject matter and prepare beforehand to teach these lessons? I'm assuming it's the former, but want to be sure to be prepared! Which brings up another question: if we find out what we are teaching after arriving, do we have time to prepare a lesson plan before doing the lesson? Thanks, and I'm looking forward to the clinic very much!

Tracy McCurdy

Hi Tracy,

Thanks for the great questions. Once you enroll in a CHA certification clinic, you will receive manuals and other documents that will help you prepare for the clinic. Included in this material will be a list of suggested lesson topics for the 4-5 demonstration lessons that you will teach. In the beginning of the clinic, the clinic instructors will generally allow everyone to choose from the list what topic you want to teach. CHA clinic policy allows the clinic instructor to either assign lesson topics or let the participant choose a lesson topic.

The suggested lesson topics are derived from the student horsemanship manual and broken into the same levels used for instructor certification. CHA does not mandate any particular style or technique for riding and training; we only mandate that the techniques used are safe and effective. If you have an idea for a lesson topic that is not on the list, we would happily consider that as a lesson topic too.

As the certification clinic progresses, the clinic instructors may become more active in assigning lesson topics, particularly in the upper levels of certification. If you receive a given level of certification, you are being certified to teach everything in that level, within the discipline that you are certified (you are not required to teach jumping to receive English certification). Therefore, when a clinic instructor is uncertain about the participant's competency at that level, she may assign a certain lesson within the level. If a participant asks to choose a topic in the upper levels, it may indicate that the instructor candidate is not comfortable teaching all the material in that level.

The five day clinic schedule is a very tight one, but we do try to organize the schedule in such a way that participants have time to plan for their lessons, usually overnight, but not always. Instructor candidates for the highest levels of certification are expected to be able to teach any lesson topic in the level with little or no preparation time. Although we generally try to avoid assigning lesson topics without preparation time, it is acceptable with CHA policies to do so.

I hope this answers your questions. It pays to prepare ahead of time but what actually happens at the clinic may not be exactly what you prepared for. Let me know if you have other questions.