The form of riding and training that Craig Stevens teaches is very different from modern work. Our certification program is for riders who are ready to learn what it is about the old work that is so different from modern oppositional riding. It is for trainers who want to learn to develop a classically trained horse, and for instructors who want to teach this way. It is also a way to help us answer the question that is so often asked “Who can I study with in my area?”
Certification is an acknowledgement that this rider has a deep and deepening comprehension of the work, and real clarity about the principles that guide the rider forward. It indicates not that the person achieved something previously, but that the person has deep comprehension and continues to study. That this person has the courage and the classical understanding to continue to learn and to develop daily. Certification is an indication that this person has shown the curiosity and discipline to continue the life long practice that is the ancient form of classical French training.
Once certified, your certification is renewed annually through ongoing education and practice. Certification may be earned with a focus on riding, training or on instruction.
Your certification is earned through two pillars.
First is through a set of specific activities such as written essays, study on line, reading, studying in person (at NSAE or at clinics) and through demonstrations with your horses and your students of the efficacy of the work you’re doing. These are the areas that develop you as a rider and your comprehension as a trainer and eventually an instructor.
Certification’s second pillar is about protecting and supporting this art form itself by making the work available to others. This means supporting the clinics offered in your area through attendance, supporting the hosts who are working so hard to make those clinics happen, and if you teach, bringing your own students to those clinics as well.
We have three levels of certification.
The first level is the Classical Rider’s Certification. This is an indication that the rider is committed to working this way and is making progress in his or her work. It is an acknowledgement of scholarship, practice and curiosity that is a purely personal achievement.
The second level is the Classical Trainer’s Certification. At this level the rider is interested in learning how to work with many different types of horses. The concept of training itself is what is being explored. This is for people whose focus is on the horse itself, on learning aspects developing a great riding horse. Trainers learn not only how to bring along a good horse to help make it a great one, but about starting young horses, recovering older horses, and helping rescue injured or traumatized ones.
The third level is Classical Instructor’s Certification. This is the most involved certification. The teacher’s certificate includes the concepts involved in the trainer’s certificate, but you are learning deeply about both species. Instructor’s certification is earned through work directly with Craig and Mary Anne and your skills are evaluated both through your work with horses and through observation of lessons taught. The teacher’s certificate indicates that the rider has a deep and clear comprehension of the work, is successfully training others towards high levels in the work, and is capable of improving each horse and rider that he or she works with.
At this level, the person certified will be as passionate about learning how to teach effectively as they are about riding.