I'm curious, and direct this question partially to Steuart, about Mark Phillips' statement in the recent USCTA News that he didn't necessarily believe in the concept of instructor certification. I quote, "I believe a system of licensing or accrediting coaches will be forced upon us..." And,"We may not like it, but I really believe this is the way the sport is going so that we can demonstrate to the world that we are both governing ourselves and performing in a resonsible way." (Now, this sentence comes after one talking about a certification program for course designers so I'm not sure which he was responding to.) I am concerned that the person who is the primary teacher of these seminars may not really believe in their 
benefit. 

Did anyone else take that article this way? Steuart, did you get the impression that he was there grudgingly? He has so much to offer (I heard him speak last year and was so very impressed at his ability to simply state what he wanted to get across) that, I guess, either way I'm glad he's doing them...

I'll do a more detailed report on yesterday's instructor certification clinic when I have more time, but here's what Phillips said on this issue when asked where he thought this was all going. 

He is very much NOT into prescribing how people teach, and when asked about BHS certification in England he was pretty cynical sounding. He said that this certification stuff was coming from the need for eventing's governing 
body to demonstrate to the public and the press that in a sport where people's lives are being put at risk there is some effort to ensure that competitors are trained by people who have been trained and certified. He suggested that eventually riders themselves may have to be certified to compete at various levels. Certified by certified instructors, of course. 

But don't take this out of context and assume that the whole project is a defensive maneuver to save the sport from the media. Phillips said that the only way to make the sport safer is through education, and in that sense he was very much on board for the project. Fortunately, Sue Hershey is steering the committee through this huge mine field of a project. Her attitude and approach are very reassuring. She is clearly driven by the desire to educate instructors, rather than to legislate to them. She's very eager for input from everywhere, and has clearly considered many of the potential dangers of a certification program. This will be a slow-moving ship, as it should be, but I believe that it's a wonderful thing. I'll get into this more later, but in this country we have a lot of hunter trainers coaching eventers, and it's scary. You just don't ride a cross-country course like a hunter course, and even the most basic fundamentals of position are taught differently. Phillips went so far as to say that the crest release had ruined a whole generation of American riders! 

There were probably 100 people at this clinic, and they are planning a total of ten, done by Phillips and Jimmy Wofford. Even if this is all the committee does, it will have been worth the effort.

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