How To Become A Certified Instructor Or Coach


Why Become Certified? Click here!


Obtaining a certificate is an important life-time achievement. As a certified Equestrian Canada Coach or Instructor, your clients and students will know that you have achieved the highest standards in Canada for equestrian coaching, and adhere to best-practices in coaching.

You will also be able to take advantage of substantial savings on insurance policies. Some municipalities may require certification for you to practice at certain facilities, depending on local by-laws.



Getting Certified

Step 1. Determine which program you are interested in.

Step 2. Contact the NBEA.

Step 3. Open a coaching file.

Step 4. Begin assembling requirements.

Step 5. Train and prepare for evaluation.

Step 6. Schedule your evaluation.

"Why and How to Become Certified"

Great article from

Horse Canada Magazine




   Step 1: Identify the program for which you are best suited.

Research the different certification contexts and prerequisites to see which one most describes the type of client you work with, and your own readiness for evaluation in that context. For example, a main factor may be whether your clients are competitive (Coach certifications) or not (Instructor certification). For more information, see the EC About Coaching page, or click the links below for outlines of program prerequisites.



    Step 2: Contact the NBEA.

To start the certification process, contact the NBEA for Instructor or Competition Coach certification, and also Equestrian Canada for Competition Coach Specialist or High Performance certification. You do need to formally apply, but before you do so, you should declare your interest and get your name on waiting lists for courses and evaluations. Sometimes courses and evaluations are scheduled in advance, and sometimes they are scheduled when there are sufficient numbers of participants.

If you are not certain about which certification is right for you, the coaching coordinators at the NBEA are happy to assist you. 


NBEA English Coaching Coordinator: Nicole Beaulieu

NBEA Western Coaching Coordinator: Cyndy Toner



    Step 3: Open a coaching file with the Coaching Association of Canada

As you submit the proofs of your prerequisites, the information will be stored in your NCCP file in "The Locker". Your provincial coaching coordinator can help you.

You do not have to have your prerequisites in place to take training available. Training courses and clinics are available to any interested participant. The person administering your file will also send you additional application forms as there is an application fee and formal application process in some certificates.



    Step 4:  Acquire prerequisites, including supporting documents & courses.


♦ Basic Prerequisites for all coaching programs:



   Instructor  or Instructor with Jump

  • Western Rider 4, or
  • English Rider 6, or
  • Pony Club C2, or
  • Saddle Seat Rider 2, or
  • Complete Learn to Drive Program


   Competition Coach

  • Western Intermediate Rider, or
  • English Rider 8, or
  • Pony Club B, or
  • Complete Saddle Seat Rider Program


Competition Specialist Coach


   High Performance Coach



     ♦ As you get started toward your certification, you need:


            A. NBEA Membership

            B. Equestrian Canada Sport Licence

C. Standard two-day First Aid training certificate issued by an organization licensed for the delivery of First Aid Training in Canada

D. Criminal Record Check, including Vulnerable Sector for anyone born before 1986:

              ♦ Enhanced Police Information Check (E-PIC)

              ♦ E-PIC Matrix               ♦ E-PIC Information Sheet

              ♦ Sterling Backcheck - Global Background Screening Partner for Equestrian Canada

              ♦ Vulnerable Sector Check Form

E. Signed Equestrian Coaching Code of Conduct and the EC Code of Ethics   


     ♦ Compulsory Courses: 


            A. Making Ethical Decisions course - NCCP Locker

B. EC Fostering Healthy Environments training  OR Respect in Sport’s Activity Leaders e-Learning module

C. Complete the NCCP Making Head Way in Sport concussion evaluation through your NCCP Locker account


♦ Acquire an Equestrian Canada "REGISTERED COACH" status



Step 5: Train and prepare.


 ♦ Prep Clinics: Watch the Coaching News page for coaching preparation and evaluation activities. The NBEA Calendar also maintains a listing of these events. Also see the bottom of this page for our incentive program for taking coach prep clinics


 ♦ Mentor: It is strongly recommended that you attend training and book some sessions with a qualified Mentor who can help you prepare for the coaching evaluation requirements. Your administrator will be able to give you names of trained Mentors in your area who would be able to assess your teaching or coaching style and help you prepare for evaluation.

You can continue to be coached by your own coach; however, only coaches that have taken training to familiarize themselves with the evaluations in the new program or who have been evaluated in it are in a position to provide information and feedback that is accurate regarding the expectations you face in the new evaluations.


♦ Study: 

• Check out the Coaching Resources page for materials to help prepare.

• Training modules available on the Equestrian Canada ECampus, found in your "My EC" profile. 


You can also contact your administrator for a name of a Learning Facilitator in the NCCP program who you could hire to mentor or tutor you on writing your lesson and training plans.





Step 6: Apply for evaluation.

Once all your prerequisites are obtained, and your application has been received by your administrator, they will set up your evaluation by trained and certified Evaluators. They will also send you candidate information packages to help you prepare. The basic evaluation process for each certification type is listed here. You will be evaluated on your Portfolio  and through an Observation Evaluation. 



One written lesson plan focused on a topic that is assigned to you by NBEA

Emergency Action Plan for their primary facility.


One written lesson plan focused on a flat topic that is assigned to you by NBEA

One lesson plan focused on a jump topic that is assigned to you by NBEA (if applicable)

Emergency Action Plan for their primary facility.

Topics are assigned a minimum of two weeks before the evaluation.  Candidates have one week to submit completed lesson plans to the evaluator for feedback.





Administered by the NBEA. Single evaluation day with one Evaluator. You are evaluated on your written lesson plans and teaching skills giving lessons. Typically, demo horses and ‘student’ riders are provided by the evaluation organizer.

Instructor Evaluation Rubrics:

  • English
  • Western
  • Saddle Seat
  • Driving 

The candidate will be evaluated by in-person observation instructing a driving or mounted lesson(s) (including an additional jumping lesson for Instructor, English with Jumping candidates), lunging and an unmounted stable management lesson.

Evaluations are typically conducted with up to four coach candidates at a time, and run for approximately eight hours. The host facility will provide the candidates with horses and riders for the lessons.

The evaluation day will include:  

  • Teaching the lesson(s) based on the plan(s) you handed in ahead of time
  • Lunge lesson
  • A written test
  • A stable management and oral interview


Competition Coach

Administered by the NBEA. Single evaluation day with two Evaluators.

The Competition Coach focuses on teaching basic to intermediate riding and horsemanship skills, and
introduces the principles of competitive riding at entry-level competitions. The Competition Coach
has well established teaching skills and stresses safety, both on the ground and while mounted.
The following NCCP Competition Coach certifications are offered by Equestrian Canada (EC):

• English Competition Coach
• Western Competition Coach



Competition Coach Specialist

Competition Coach Specialists are capable of teaching the competitive equestrian in the candidate’s area
of specialization. Competition Coach Specialists will work with intermediate and/or more advanced riders
to further develop basic riding, horsemanship and safety skills. They are working to advance students from
Provincial/Territorial to National level competitions. The Competition Coach Specialist should also be
able to evaluate a horse and its suitability for a student, supervise stable operations and routines, and have
experience training and preparing horses for competition. LTED-Learn to Compete, Train the Competitor
and the Learning and Training to Win stages. Candidates will specialize in one discipline; however, they
are expected to be conversant in all English or Western disciplines. Candidates must have had competitive
experience. The following NCCP Competition Coach Specialist certifications are offered by Equestrian
Canada (EC):

  • Dressage Specialist
  • Eventing Specialist
  • General Performance Specialist
  • Jumping Specialist
  • Reining Specialist
  • Speed Events Specialist


High Performance 1 Coach

The High Performance 1 Coach develops competition skill to advance the competitive athlete’s performance.
The High Performance 1 Coach designs developmentally appropriate programming for LTED stages Learn
to Win and Train to Win.
The following NCCP High Performance 1 certifications are offered by EC:

• High Performance 1 Dressage Coach
• High Performance 1 Eventing Coach
• High Performance 1 Jumping Coach
• High Performance 1 Reining Coach




Only certificate evaluations which are authorized by Equestrian Canada qualify you to obtain Equestrian Canada certification. When you successfully complete evaluations, the results are sent in to Equestrian Canada. If you have also completed all of your prerequisites, EC will authorize certification, update the EC database, and advise the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) so that they can update your professional coaching transcript in their national database.

Your certificate will be mailed to you within a few weeks of your certification confirmation by Equestrian Canada. If you were evaluated in a program administered by the NBEA, the Coaching Coordinator will forward all required paperwork from your evaluation results to Equestrian Canada for certification.




 ► Demystifying the EC NCCP Coaching Certification Pathway - Webinar


 ► Demystifying the EC NCCP Coaching Certification Pathway - Q & A





$500.00 Grant

Obtaining your Coaching Certification is an important life-time achievement. As a certified NCCP/Equestrian Canada Instructor or Coach, your clients and students will know that you have achieved the highest standards in Canada for equestrian coaching, and adhere to best-practices in coaching. The NBEA would like to recognize the time, hard work, and dedication that go into achieving this goal, by offering a $500 grant to up to 10 applicants, upon successful completion of their Instructor of Beginners or Coach certification. Once you have successfully completed your certification assessment and have all your components up-to-date, your Coaching Coordinator will notify the NBEA office to issue your $500 grant.

$30 Prep Courses  - Incentive

In addition, Instructor and Coach Candidates are invited to register to be eligible to attend two coaching prep workshops for the price of $30.  

Download details and registration forms here.




 ♦  Instructor Evaluation Rubric

 ♦ Instructor Jump Evaluation Rubric