By Sue Hershey
Starting in 2017, ICP will offer two new certificates, the ICP Young Event Horse Instructor certificate and the ICP Young Event Horse Professional Trainer certificate. Young Event Horses are 4- and 5-year olds. ICP will of course continue to offer its ICP Level I-Novice through Level IV Instructor certificates.
Individuals who wish to obtain either of these two new certificates will be required to participate in the 3-day ICP YEH Workshop, which will include teaching riders on YEHs each day for those seeking the YEH Instructor certificate and riding YEHs each day for those seeking the YEH Professional Trainer certificate. Skills necessary to all three event competition phases will be addressed during this ICP YEH Workshop. After attending an ICP YEH Workshop, YEHinstructors and YEH professional trainers may attend an ICP Assessment to be evaluated for ICP certification. For ICP’s purpose, a “YEH professional trainer” is an individual who develops the under-saddle abilities and performance of young event horses by riding them him- or herself as a paid occupation.
What is the history of the initiation of these 2 ICP certificates?
At the end of 2015, Young Event Horse Committee co-chairs Tim Holekamp and Marilyn Payne asked the Instructors’ Certification Program Committee, chaired by Phyllis Dawson and Robin Walker, to add these two new certificates to the ICP program. At its annual ICP Committee/Faculty co-teaching meeting where the teaching focused upon the riding/training of 4- and 5-year-old horses, the ICP Committee agreed to this request. As a result, ICP has developed the YEH Workshop curriculum as well as the Teaching Skills Sheets and the Training Skills Sheets for the evaluation at any ICP Assessment of YEH instructors and YEH professional trainers, respectively. Those individuals seeking the YEH Professional Trainer certificate will ride YEHs at an ICP Assessment.
What does the YEH Committee hope to achieve via ICP’s addition of these two ICP certificates?
The quick answer is to join Nurture to Nature! Since 2007, the YEH Committee as well as the Future Event Horse Committee, chaired by Susan Graham White and Robin Walker, have sought to focus American event horse breeders on, among other topics, attention to the genotype and the past performance of stallions and mares before selecting whom to breed to produce foals with high potential. That’s “nature.” But, as soon as a foal is produced, that animal is handled, communicated with, shaped by the incentives and disincentives provided by humans, as well as by other animals and each horse’s environment. Once that foal is 2 or 3 or 4, that animal is “broken” to the tack and to a rider’s weight and aids, and his or her lifelong process of education and training, positive and/or negative, has begun. That’s “nurture.” A horse’s phenotype is described by the Macmillan Open Dictionary as “the qualities or features of a living thing that are the result of the way that its genes and the environment have affected each other” – i.e., nature plus nurture.
The YEH Committee realized that even the most careful selection of parents does not assure high performance from their offspring. Equally as important as sound breeding is the utilization of safe, humane, experienced, and insightful on-the-ground and under-saddle training. Who, specifically, can offer positive, productive assistance to owners and amateur riders as they develop their young event horses? FEH’s, YEH’s, and ICP’s answer: instructors and professional trainers whose experience and skills have been confirmed in the eyes of other experienced horsemen and horsewomen who are themselves knowledgeable and experienced in the development of skilled and willing young event horses. Just as FEH and YEH are able to assist American breeders with the equine parent selection process and the early development of young event horses, so ICP-certified YEH instructors and ICP-certified YEH professional trainers will be able to assist American YEH owners, riders, and anyone else interested in high quality under-saddle development of their 4- and 5-year-olds, whether those horses are purebreds, crossbreds, or, more specifically, American Thoroughbreds.
For further information:
About YEH: http://www.useventing.com/competitions/yeh
About American Thoroughbreds: retiredracehorseproject.org
About ICP: http://useventing.com/education/icp Find information about the two new ICP certificates, soon to be up on the ICP section of the USEA website. In 2017, look at the USEA website’s ICP calendar for dates/sites/hosts of all ICP Workshops, including YEH Workshops: to find calendar, go to above ICP link and click in upper right on “Upcoming Events.”