The New Instructor Credential

The USHJA Trainer Certification Program was developed to preserve the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System by offering a comprehensive educational program for professional horse trainers. Being a Certified Trainer confirms a commitment to continuing professional development, which leads 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 in early 2021. 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 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

Instructor candidates will also need to show proof of experience teaching at least 40 hours of mounted and unmounted lessons.

Online Coursework

Credentialing candidates who meet the above listed prerequisites must complete an online registration form and submit a $50 fee to be recognized as a candidate seeking the Instructor Credential and to be granted access to the Instructor Credential Library of required 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 before registering for the Instructor Credential Workshop and Live Examination.  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.  However, if previously completed courses are refreshed with new content, they will be marked "incomplete" and candidates will be required to repeat the course.

Upon 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.

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. Trainers who hold a current TCP Certification are exempt from this requirement
  • Background check within six months of participation in the Workshop and Live Examination
  • Register for a Workshop and Live Examination by completing a registration form and submitting the $450 fee to hold a spot at the chosen session
    • TCP Certified Trainers in good standing will be eligible for a 50% discount for participation in the new credential. TCP Trainers will have until November 30 of their certification renewal year to complete the Instructor Credential to receive this discount. Trainers due for renewal in 2020 and 2021 will be offered a two-year extension to complete the credential.

Workshop and Live Examination

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

Live Examination
On day two, the Examination, each Instructor Credential candidate will be assigned one or two riders and will be asked to identify a lesson topic, develop an appropriate lesson plan and execute a private or semi-private lesson from start to finish. Examiners will score the lesson using a rubric and will provide thoughtful and beneficial feedback as to the lessons' strengths and weaknesses, and to provide recommendation for improvement and growth as an instructor.

Post Examination

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