Advance Your Skills

The first session of the PATH Intl Virtual Conference was “Advancing Our Skills” by Joelle Devlin. I thought it was really great! I had no huge technical difficulties, though many had trouble with the audio. I like that the conference is starting off with the focus on self-improvement. During this brief break between sessions I’m going to share some of the great ideas compiled from Joelle’s talk and what listeners shared in the comments box…because really when else will I have the time!

Advancing Your Skills

The importance of self improvement:

Our industry tends to put everyone else first – clients, horses, parents – but instructors need to their own self-care AND continued education as a priority because when we advance our knowledge and skills, we improve our program!

How to advance your skills:

  1. Use the PATH Intl Criteria as a checklist to assess your knowledge and skill level in each
  2. Decide which of your weakest areas you will address within the next year, FIND THE TIME to do it, and PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR!
  3. Follow through! Remember how important your continued education is.

This reminds me of our barn’s Annual Goal Setting sheet that I find so helpful.

Here is a great list of ideas for ways to continue growing in your instructor skills:

  • Continue to the next level of certification because the next level of requirements tell me what I need to do to keep growing – upgrading to advanced makes you eligible for training to serve as faculty at workshops and evaluators at certification, where you get paid for learning and networking!
  • Create a Facebook group for “lifelong learners” where info is shared about trainers, teaching methods, local clinics
  • Observe other instructors
  • Exposure – to outside programs and standards
    • Visit other programs
    • Become a PATH Site Visitor – max exposure at no cost, all expenses paid! Training usually available at regional conferences.
  • Mentor to help you – path mentor, riding coach
    • don’t just find someone who is comfortable to you, but someone who really challenges you – the money and time spent on one lesson with a pro is more well spent than more time and money with a non-pro
    • consider finding a long distance mentor
  • Network – “this is an industry of sharing”, “your rider is my rider”, everyone wants riders to get the best
  • Online videos from PATH Intl
  • Audit workshops.
  • Host a workshop – invite others in the local horse community
  • Tap your assets – you don’t have to do everything yourselves, use your families, volunteers, farrier, vet, therapist, local tack feed store etc
  • Attend a CHA certification workshop

I thought that was a nice list with some new ideas I hadn’t heard before. I hope it inspires you to up your game in advancing your skills!

p.s. I’m not including everything from the talks here, because you really should attend yourself! But rather, summarizing the most useful and important parts 🙂


Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgement! If you would like to contribute an activity or article, please contact me here, I would love to hear from you!

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