How To Become A Certified Instructor Or Coach

Why Become Certified?

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Obtaining a certificate is an important life-time achievement. As a certified EC/NCCP Coach or Instructor, clients, students, and parents will know that you have achieved the highest standards in Canada for equestrian coaching, adhere to best-practices, have training in safety, first aid, & safe sport, and are screened and insured. 


 Announcing the NBEA's

Coaching Handbook and Resources


Access to this platform is free to current NBEA members.
Each online handbook leads you, step-by-step, through the process
of becoming a certified NCCP Instructor or Coach. 

 Click here to request a User Account 

  All the links and documents found below are available in the CHAR handbook, in order, and presented in logical steps. It's another resource to help you navigate the pathway to Instructor or Competition Coach certification.



VIDEO - Webinar with Danielle Yaghdjian

Master Coach Developer

Pickering, Ontario


PowerPoint Presentation


   Step 1: Get your memberships

            A. NBEA Membership

            B. Equestrian Canada Sport Licence

 An EC Bronze sport license is sufficient for candidates, unless you plan to compete at the Silver or Gold level.



    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 contact 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 Provincial Manager of English Coaching: Nicole Beaulieu

NBEA Provincial Manager of Western Coaching: Cyndy Toner



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


Open an account in "The Locker" at the CAC website. As you submit the proofs of your prerequisites or attend sanctioned training, the information will be stored in your file in . Your provincial manager of coaching can help you.

You can set up a Locker account before you have your prerequisites or you're certified. Anyone can set up an account and take training available. 



    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 must have:


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

              ♦ First Aid training providers     ♦ 2023 St.John Ambulance calendar 


B. Criminal Record Check, including Vulnerable Sector for anyone born before 1986. This is free to EC Sport Licence holders*

              ♦ 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


C. Safe Sport Training - one of the following:

            ♦  - ECampus required for EC sport licence-holders*

            ♦  - CAC Locker 


 D. Concussion Training - one of the following:

                       ♦ Concussion Awareness - ECampus required for EC sport licence-holders*

                       ♦ NCCP Making Head Way in Sport - CAC Locker


 E. Signed Equestrian Coaching Code of Conduct and the EC Code of Ethics. Submit to your provinicial manager of coaching. 


             F. Making Ethical Decisions - NCCP Locker. The evaluation is compulsory; the training available before the test is optional. 



 ♦♦♦ Optional Courses and Training 

          EC Coaches are encouraged to attend other multi-sport training to improve their coaching toolset


 Step 5:     


*Acquire your Equestrian Canada Sport Licence - Bronze is sufficient unless you will be competing at Gold. 

♦ Acquire your Equestrian Canada "REGISTERED COACH" status and begin uploading required documents

♦ You will need to acquire coaching insurance.      

           ACERA Insurance application form for coach insurance

           EC Form for candidates working under insured coaches


           ♦ EC Coaching Operations Manual


Step 6: Train and prepare.


 ♦ Prep Clinics: Watch the Coaching News page for coaching preparation activities. The NBEA Calendar also maintains a listing of these events. 


 ♦ 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 or who have been evaluated themselves are in a position to provide information and feedback that is accurate regarding the expectations you face.


♦ 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 coaching manager 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.


♦ Plan:

Lists of possible lesson topics for English and western are available. As practice, why not write lessons plans for each topic on the list well ahead of time? You can have your mentor look them over, and you can use them in your practice teaching sessions with your mentor. You will then have prepared written plans available when your topics are assigned for your evaluation portfolio by your evaluator - see below. 


    * The NBEA is dedicating funds and resources in 2023 to help support candidates with mentoring. Online webinars and other learning tools will also be made available. Stay tuned to the Coaching News web page. 




Step 6: Apply for evaluation.

Once all your prerequisites are obtained, and your application has been received by your manager of coaching, 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.




Lesson Planning Webinar


Danielle Yaghdjian

Master Coach Developer


PowerPoint Presentation





         Observable Evaluation




Administered by the NBEA. Single evaluation day with one Evaluator. You are evaluated on your pre-submitted written lesson plans, and teaching skills during a mounted lesson, a lunging lesson, and an unmounted stable management lesson. 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:  


1. Portfolio Submission

  • One lesson plan for a mounted lesson, one lesson plan for a stable management lesson, and one plan for a jumping lesson if doing the Jump component.

               ►  LESSON PLAN TEMPLATE  

                ►  LESSON PLAN HELP SHEET



  • Emergency Action Plan



2. Observable Evaluation

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

  ► Possible Teaching Topics - English

 ► Possible Teaching Topics - western

   ► Instructor Rubrics - English

  ► Instructor Rubrics - western



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


         ►Possible Teaching Topics for Competition Coaches

         ► English Competition Coach rubrics

         ► Western Competition Coach rubrics


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

         ► Possible Teaching Topics for English Competition Coach Specialists

         ► English Competition Coach Specialist rubrics


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 evaluations which are authorized by Equestrian Canada will qualify you to obtain Equestrian Canada/NCCP certification. When you successfully complete evaluations, the results are sent in to Equestrian Canada. If you have your Registered Coach status, 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. Your NBEA Coaching Certification Incentive funding cheque will be included.  If you were evaluated in a program administered by the NBEA, the provincial Manager of Coaching 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.



 ♦  Instructor Evaluation Rubric

 ♦ Instructor Jump Evaluation Rubric

 ♦ English Competition Coach Evaluation Rubric