Trainer Certification Program

COMING SOON! USHJA Instructor Credential

The former USHJA Trainer Certification Program was originally developed to preserve the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System by offering a comprehensive educational program for professional horse trainers. Being a Certified Trainer confirmed a commitment to continuing professional development, which led to an ever-increasing group of well-rounded and knowledgeable equine professionals. 

After months of development, the new USHJA Instructor Credential is nearing its launch. The new Credential will offer both a comprehensive online education as well as an in-person workshop for Instructor Credential candidates to observe, learn, practice and collaborate on teaching and coaching techniques and methods. Candidates will be tested in-person on their teaching skills and will be provided individualized feedback. Upon successful completion of all prerequisite online courses, the workshop, and live examination, candidates will be awarded the status of USHJA Credentialed Instructor!


Registration for the USHJA Instructor Credential will be available to individuals who are: 

  • USHJA members in good standing above the Outreach level
  • Age 18 years or above

Candidates need to show proof of experience teaching at least 40 hours of mounted and unmounted lessons.

Online Coursework

Individuals who meet the prerequisites must complete an online registration form and submit a $50 fee to be recognized as an Instructor Credential candidate and are then granted access to the Instructor Credential Library of online courses. A complimentary TCP Manual will be shipped to the address provided on the registration form.

Completion of the online courses is at the candidate’s discretion, but must be completed and up-to-date before registering for the Instructor Credential Workshop and Live Examination. Required courses include:

  • Athlete Wellness
  • USEF Rules
  • Marketing and Branding
  • Equine Law and Ethics
  • Teaching and Coaching Theory and Methodology
  • Rider Safety and Lesson Program Best Practices
  • Riding Theory
  • Stable Management
  • Concussion Awareness
  • Safe Sport

Course delivery is comprised of reading material, videos, webinars and PowerPoint presentations. Each course will end with a short quiz that will require a passing score of 80%. Quizzes may be taken as many times as needed to achieve a passing score. There is no set timeframe for completion of the online courses. Upon successful completion of all ten online courses in the Instructor Credential Library, candidates will receive an online course completion certificate and will be eligible to register for the in-person Instructor Credential Workshop and Live Examination. If previously completed online courses are refreshed with new content prior to attending the Workshop and Examination, they will be marked "incomplete" and candidates will be required to repeat the course before attendinng the exam.

Instructor Credential Workshop and Live Examination Registration Requirements

  • Certificate of Completion of required online coursework from the Instructor Credential Library.
  • Proof of Experience form. Candidates must show they have had experience teaching at least 40 hours of mounted and unmounted lessons. Current TCP Certified Trainers are exempt from this requirement.
  • Background check within six months of participation in the Workshop and Live Examination.
  • Complete a registration form and submit a $450 fee to hold a spot at the desired Workshop and Examination.
    • TCP Certified Trainers in good standing will be eligible for a 50% discount for participation in the new credential. 

Workshop and Live Examination

The Workshop is a one-day clinic where candidates practice their teaching skills in a group setting encouraging peer review and collaboration. Candidates are not required to ride, but will teach both unmounted and mounted lessons to volunteer riders. Examiners will oversee the lessons, and provide guidance throughout the day. Workshop activities are not scored, but areas such as safety, horsemanship and professionalism are considered when scoring the exam.

Live Examination
On day two, the Examination, each candidate is assigned one or two riders and required to identify a lesson topic, develop an appropriate lesson plan, and execute a lesson. Examiners score the candidate using a standardized rubric, providing thoughtful and beneficial feedback to the lessons' strengths and weaknesses, and sharing recommendations for improvement and growth as an instructor.

Post Examination
Instructor Credential candidates are notified of the outcome within 30 days of exmination completion. Upon successful completion of the Examination, the candidate will be award the USHJA Instructor Credential.