Question: I’m a high school student who would like to pursue a career in the equine field, particularly riding instruction. What would things could you suggest that would help me be better prepared for that field?
Answer: I admire your goals and your efforts to attain them. Here are a few things I would suggest. The first would be to get a college education. A degree will always open doors for you in whatever career you choose, including the horse industry. You could get a degree in Equine Science, which would specifically be in your area of interest, but I think a more well rounded degree like English, business, communications, education or animal science would be more useful to you and give you greater opportunity in the future. You can easily continue your riding development throughout college by working at stables or farms and maybe teaching lessons on the side.
As for preparing yourself to be a riding instructor, first you need to take lessons from different instructors in different disciplines. Try to get as well rounded an education in horses as you can. Even if you think you may not be interested in one area, you will benefit tremendously by gaining some knowledge and experience in many different areas. You never know what great opportunities will open in the future and some experience in that area could make the difference in opening a door for you. Volunteer to be an assistant instructor with an instructor you respect. Improve your own riding and study horsemanship theory and practice teaching others what you have learned.
It would be a great idea to attend a CHA clinic as an auditor. You would learn a lot about teaching and with a little practice, be much better prepared to take a certification course once you are 18. You could get certified as an assistant instructor between 16 and 18, but that would cost quite a bit more than just being an auditor.
Good luck to you!
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