Positive change in the Equestrian Education Community
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To Equestrian Canada (Formerly, Equine Canada, CEF)
It has come to my attention that, despite many equestrians currently working in the industry and providing valid information against your alleged 'license' to coach at EC sanctioned shows, you are moving forwards with this proposal.
I am a coach and rider who has loved this community for 40+ yrs. It pains me that you continue to ignore the people who create this community and push forwards with an agenda that is effectively killing the sport we all love.
Imposing a license to coach at sanctioned shows will do nothing to improve the quality of coaching. In fact, it will do the opposite. It will reduce already struggling class entries in EC sanctioned shows, reduce interest in the sport all together, force current coaches/barns to increase already high rates to make ends meet due to the drop in riders who simply cannot afford all the fees you demand, force riders to attend shows without a coach, and/or force riders to compete at non sanctioned shows. That’s just the start of the domino effect this will have.
Over the years, EC has continued to make their sanctioned shows unattainable by enforcing more memberships that, to this day, provide no benefit to the rider. Riders must pay up to $500 in memberships to compete at sanctioned shows. Gold/Silver or Bronze Sport License, OHJA (A circuit) or THJA, Provincial Memberships, and Amateur cards if you are an Amateur. Why? What do all of these multiple memberships provide for the rider? It is known that volunteers collect points for all riders/divisions. It is also known that the show venue/whoever is hosting the show, pays for the many judges, staff and officials at said competition. The rest is filled with wonderful volunteers who offer up their time in the blazing heat or the freezing cold for just the joy of helping out. I would know, as I volunteered and continue to volunteer my time at sanctioned shows..
It was estimated that most riders this year had to pay $3000 to compete at an A rated shows. That is one show. How? How is this fair to now add on more fees to effectively obliterate any hope of riders who are struggling to finance what they do now? Not all riders are wealthy and not all riders have families that can pay for their competitions and fees associated. By adding a license fee, this will now force coaches and barns to increase rates. This is two fold: They will have to cover the cost of the license as well as likely lost revenue when riders have to cut out showing to cover increased rates.
Does that sound productive to you?
Let me add that carrying a licence, in no way, assures ethical practices, good quality coaching or knowledge. Look at the roads today. Our drivers all carry licenses and break laws on a regular basis. Does that sound like something that is effective? No. So making this change is pointless.
You need to start to listen to the people who are actually in this industry, who want to provide safe, structured, ethical lessons and an enjoyable riding atmosphere, rather than emptying the pockets of those who wish to part take in your shows. You need to sit down and work with us, and listen to what we have to say to create a positive change that reflects the sign of the times, as well as focusing on education in a productive manner.
In reality, the only thing that adding extra fees and pieces of paper to the horse show regime is that EC's pockets get fuller regardless of who actually attends your shows. Does that make any sense? Is that focusing on what is in the best interest of our Equestrian Community? I think not.
My proposal would be to have all coaches, regardless of competitive riders, enrol in the National Coaching of Canada Program and obtain a number. From there, it will be easy to see the coach’s name and barn. As time permits, back ground checks would be available/accessible through this system. Updates to the coach’s training, which may include lessons, clinics and competitions can be input via the coach themselves, making them wish to maintain their own records of accomplishments and progressive training. Let’s utilize the coaching databases rather than impose some ridiculous license that is targets only competitive coaches. That makes zero sense if EC is claiming this is in regards to ‘Safe Sport’ recognition. I would think Safe Sport would involve the entire sport, and not just the ones that compete.
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