New Order Mandates Equestrian Professionals Must Pass Credentials to Continue Business

Photo © Heather N. Photography


The past year has been full of conversations with industry leaders regarding amateur status, but today horse show organizations announced a new initiative for professionals. Effective immediately, all professional instructors and trainers must pass a written and riding skillset exam to remain in proper standing with their governing agency. 

Skills task force founder, Allana Inherignance, explains the ideation process behind the order; “Anyone can throw their name out on a sign and call themselves a trainer… and not just ones that can afford custom drapes for their stall setups. There are really no standards of who can or can’t call themselves a horse trainer these days, and there needs to be.”

The new rule, aimed to drastically reduce the widespread usage of draw reins currently seen in today’s warmup rings, will begin rolling out at horse shows immediately. Participants must report to the Department of Equestrian Animals, a new division to officiate the licenses, which will be set up near the show office at accredited events. Pending professionals will take a number to wait for their place in the queue for a written skills exam followed by a practical riding test. Skills questions include but are not limited to navigating ring traffic, practical horse care, grooming, hunter and jumper class rules, and Safe Sport responsibilities. 

For the practical riding test, professionals may bring their own horse to execute the required skills which include demonstrating the walk, trot, and canter, a trot jump, a change of lead, jumping a single oxer with a distance that does not make the evaluator grimace, gasp, or cover their eyes, and backing their horse between two parallel poles on the ground. 

Recently appointed skills evaluator, Josh Arm Chexpert, believes this system will be a game changer for our sport. “Gone are the days of those you can’t, teach! This two-step system will completely eliminate all the nuances of proper horsemanship, care, and training and flatline it into a single event. It will revolutionize how riders learn for generations to come,” he shares.

For this first wave of licensing, the following individuals must report to the DEA for their tests:

  • Those who are teaching students something.
  • Those who think they are teaching students something.
  • All junior riders who believe they have a chance in this sport.
  • Anyone whose horse has influenced in the last 30 days.
  • Amateurs who think they ride as well as professionals (with less effort even).
  • Pony moms who think they do a better job than the actual trainer.
  • Any current professional under 30 who still has some semblance of hopes and dreams.

All evaluations must be completed by April 31, 2022, in order to remain eligible to compete on the show grounds. Looking to study and prepare this April 1? Read training and horsemanship articles on

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