WHAT IS THE RIDING BADGE PROGRAM?

The Riding Badge Program is an educational tool developed by the Education Committee of the USIHC. It has relied heavily upon the German Riding Program, with additional information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture 4-H program. The program consists of seven achievement levels. The subject areas have been selected to provide an overall background on the equestrian sport, with a special emphasis on riding Icelandic horses. Students go through several units of riding instruction or theory classes, followed by an exam. The main difference from a regular clinic is the number of instructional units and the intensity of the seminar or lessons.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?

You can order printed copies of the "textbook" for the Rider Badge Program online from MagCloud. The cost is $12 plus shipping.

You can always contact the Education Committee chair at education@icelandics.org for more information as well.

IS THIS PROGRAM FOR KIDS OR ADULTS?

The Riding Badge Program consists of seven different levels with five of them being open to children and all seven of them being open to youth riders. All levels are open to adult riders.

IS IT EXCLUSIVE TO USIHC MEMBERS?

This program is open to everybody, members and non-members.

WHAT KIND OF BADGES ARE THERE?

There are seven badges altogether. Two are general badges at two different levels; these cover general horse knowledge. Three are competition badges in three different levels, covering the basic knowledge but emphasizing competition riding. Two are pleasure riding badges in two different levels, covering the basic knowledge but emphasizing trail riding. The different badges have very different requirements.

WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY?

Within the seven badges, there is a very big difference in difficulty. Some of the easier badges cover basic theory topics and ask for basic riding skills such as walk, trot or tolt, and some simple arena figures in the practical exams. Other badges are extremely challenging (closer to a trainer seminar) with highly demanding in-depth theory and equally highly demanding riding skills. Exams might ask for a T1 and V1 or T2 and F1 performance, a dressage test, jumping, ponying, and riders switching horses.

DO I HAVE TO START WITH LEVEL 1?

No, you can start at the level that seems suitable for your knowledge. There is no order you have to follow.

WHAT ARE THE PREREQUISITES?

The only prerequisite is your age. Five of the badge programs are open to children, minimum eight years old, youth, and adults. Two are open to youth and adults only, due to their level of difficulty.

CAN I TEST OUT WITHOUT TAKING THE SEMINAR?

For the basic riding badges, level 1 and level 2, we offer an option to test out without taking the seminar. For all the other badges, participation in the instructional units is a prerequisite to attend the exams.

CAN MY LESSONS BE SPREAD OUT?

Yes. The required instructional units can be presented in a multi-day seminar or they can be taught hourly over a longer period of time. The program was created to be as flexible as possible.

WHAT IS THE COST FOR PARTICIPATION?

The basic cost is determined by the organizer of the seminar/lessons and depends on factors such as the cost for the instructor, the cost for the examiner, the cost for providing schooling horses, etc. Each participant is also charged $20 by the USIHC. In addition, non-USIHC members will be charged $40. These fees cover the production of the riding badges and mailing fees for the certificates and badges, and contribute to our administrative costs.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO TEACH THE PROGRAM?

Anybody who feels confident that he or she is an experienced riding instructor and has the knowledge being asked for at each individual level is eligible to teach this program. This decision was made with the intention to not limit the program to certain areas of the U.S.

WHO CAN CONDUCT THE EXAMS?

Exams shall be conducted by any FEIF International Sport or Breeding Judge, any certified Icelandic Horse Instructor, or any certified USIHC Intern Judge.

WHO CAN HOST THE SEMINAR OR LESSONS?

Anybody able to offer a suitable facility can host a riding badge seminar or riding badge lessons.

WHAT DO I GET WHEN I PASS?

You will receive a certificate, as well as a badge that shows the USIHC logo and the badge level and that can be sewn onto your clothing to show off your achievements.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T PASS?

You can repeat the exam. There is no limit to the number of tries and no limit timewise.

DOES THE EXAM HAVE TO BE PART OF THE SEMINAR?

No. Exams can be conducted either right after the seminar or lessons, or at a different time if it is more convenient.

WHO DO I INFORM IF I WANT TO HOST A SEMINAR?

We kindly ask organizers, instructors, and examiners to inform us ahead of time of their plans so that we can order the badges and create the certificates. There is an Excel document available for download that organizers send to education@icelandics.org.

WHY WOULD I WANT TO TAKE A RIDING BADGE SEMINAR?

It is an outstanding learning opportunity that is different from most clinics offered in the U.S. The riding badge seminars and lessons include more riding lessons and more theory lessons than most clinics, thus making them a very intense learning environment in which riding instruction is combined with classroom style theory for best results.

WHAT MATERIALS CAN I USE TO PREPARE FOR MY EXAMS?

All the information you need to prepare for your exams can be obtained in the riding lessons and theory sessions taught during the seminar or lessons. In addition, we are happy to refer to literature that is easily available and covers a good part of the knowledge needed. The Education Committee's goal is to create manuals that will be distributed to participants. Volunteers are working on those manuals, but it is a long term project.

WHY WOULD I WANT TO OFFER A SEMINAR AT MY BARN?

It is a great tool to provide more knowledge to your students and boarders beyond simply offering riding lessons or clinics. It is a good way to further friendship among students and to encourage students and boarders to further their knowledge, resulting in more knowledgable riders and happier, healthier horses, safer horse handling, and thus less risk of injury for both horses and riders. Offering clinics and seminars at the barn is also a good way of bonding and getting to know one another better for all participants: horses, hosts, riders, teachers, and examiners.

HOW DOES THE USIHC SUPPORT ORGANIZERS?

There is a great deal of support for organizers available through the USIHC. Organizers can advertise their riding badge seminars free of charge on the USIHC web site, as well as in the Quarterly. We offer to talk to instructors and examiners, explaining the procedures, and we always have an open ear for questions or suggestions.