(I’m super impressed it came packaged in sparkle tissue paper. How fancy!)
Review of “Ground School Curriculum” by EAAT Curriculums
Today I’m excited to share with you another review, this time for a new resource in the EAAT industry: a curriculum for ground-based horsemanship called “Ground School Curriculum developed by Ashlyn Batten (CTRI) and Sherri Moore (CTRI, PATH Intl. Certified Interactive Vaulting Instructor, ESMHL, Mentor, and Masterson Method Equine Specialist) of EAAT Curriculums. They partnered together to write “Ground School Curriculum” because they saw how valuable unmounted activities were in their students’ lives, and did not want to turn away participants because of contraindications to mounted activities. (For more information about the authors, see their bios on their webpage).
If you are looking for a groundwork and horse care resource for your lessons, for camps, and for clients that cannot ride, this is a great option! I’ll explain the curriculum, why I think it’s useful, and other thoughts. But first, full disclosure, I received a discount in exchange for a review. Second disclosure, I actually have not used this curriculum in the arena as I am not instructing right now, but rather am reviewing it having read through it with an eye toward how I would use it and my thoughts given my experience as an adaptive/therapeutic riding instructor. That said, let me share the curriculum with you!
About the Curriculum
To understand this product, you need to understand what a curriculum is. A curriculum is a set of courses, the course work, and the knowledge or skills that a student is expected to learn through it. So, a curriculum is NOT a book of lesson plans and activities, rather, it’s informational content and materials you can use to instruct your participants in an organized format of progression.
In a nutshell, “Ground School Curriculum” is a collection of 18 ground-based horsemanship courses or sections that cover horse knowledge, horse care, and groundwork topics and skills. Each section contains an informative chapter with pictures, a worksheet, a written test, a practical test, a badge, and guidance for the instructor. The authors don’t tell you how to use it, they just give you the resources you need to create your own program and lesson plans tailored to your particular participants.
What is physically included in this curriculum:
- One 140+ page “Instructor Guide” spiral bound book
- One 100+ page “Participant Workbook” spiral bound book
- Access to the curriculum’s YouTube Channel with educational videos
- Access to the curriculum’s Facebook page
- Badges and certificates for completing each section
- Distance guidance with how to start this program at your center
(The two hard copy books included with the curriculum).
The Participant Workbook is a spiral bound book with 18 sections, and each section contains:
- Information about the section topic
- Color pictures illustrating much of the content
- A worksheet to help learn and practice the content
The Instructor Guide is also a spiral bound book with the same 18 sections, but each section contains:
- Information about the section topic – sometimes it is the exact same info as the Participant Workbook, sometimes it is additional info the instructor should know
- Activity ideas – some of the chapters have these, some do not
- 3 levels of written tests – it is the same test for each level, but Level 1 for the first half of the book has pictures to illustrate the questions and for the second half of the book is multiple choice with less choices, Level 2 is multiple choice, and Level 3 is writing in the answers
- Practical test – a test you can give the student in person where they demonstrate acquisition of the knowledge of the section, usually answering questions or showing how on a real horse
(Instructor Guide on the top, Participant Workbook on the bottom).
The following topics are included in the curriculum:
- Horse Sense
- Horse Body Parts
- Horse First Aid
- Barn Management
- Tack and Equipment
- Horse Gait and Lameness
- Round Penning
- Horse Conformation
- Bathing and Horse Show Preparation
- Hoof Care
- Horse Facility Management
- Horse Desensitization
- Equine Massage
- Long Lining
- Natural Horsemanship
Overall, I think “Ground School Curriculum” is a great resource to buy if you are going to incorporate a lot of ground work and horse care skills into your program because it has many good components you can use in your lesson and program planning. Let me tell you what I like about it.
First, I like this curriculum because it is well printed – I love spiral bound manuals, it has good page thickness, a plastic cover sheet and black plastic backing, is a good size you could carry around with you, and it has ALL COLOR PHOTOS! They do not skimp on printing and you get a very nice product.
Second, and perhaps my favorite aspect of the curriculum, is that I like the way its content is grouped and ordered. The sections include both groundwork skills AND horse knowledge together, and they build upon each other as you progress through the sections. For example, the curriculum starts with horse body language, herd dynamics, and horse breeds, before going on to grooming, leading, and body parts. You can easily start with their order of what-to-teach and customize it as needed. I also love that the second half of the curriculum includes topics not normally seen in general horse care books but that are used in adaptive/therapeutic riding: round penning, bathing & horse show prep, horse desensitization training, equine massage, long lining, and natural horsemanship. These are topics that I want to see included and would use with my students, and put in an order and organization that I would use.
Third, I like that the curriculum includes many different materials to help the student learn. There is the section reading from the Workbook, which you can photocopy for them to take home or give as homework. There is the hearing aspect, since you teach it. There is the writing aspect, with the worksheets and tests, which reinforce what was learned. There is the visual aspect, with all the color pictures, and many of the Level 1 worksheets include pictures. There is the hands-on aspect, as the Instructor Guide often includes activity suggestions, and the practical test is hands-on. And there is motiation: the badges and certificates, which give the students a goal and make it fun!
Fourth, I like how simple the curriculum is. The Participant Guide contains the same information you would find in most horse care books, but it is simplified in format and writing style for the range of students that an adaptive/therapeutic riding instructor would be working with. You could easily adapt this resource by making it even simpler or adding extra info into your lessons, depending on the level of the student. Even the worksheets, quizzes, and practical exams are each only a page long.
Lastly, I like how this curriculum can be my first stop when planning unmounted lessons. It’s so nice that all the work of compiling and condensing and organizing the information has already been done for me! Between the Workbook and the Guide book, I have all the info I need: the topics, content, hows and whys, and some activity ideas. This would definitely be the first resources I go to when lesson planning these topics and creating an unmounted program.
Now, a few things to note about this curriculum – these are not negatives, unless you were expecting something different, which is why I mentioned them!
These are not lesson planning books, it is a curriculum (see the explanation of curriculum earlier). So this product does not include lesson plans or long lists of games and activities, but is focused on the information itself and the practicing and testing of the information. So if you are looking for another activity book, this may not be as useful as you’d hoped. But if you are looking for a resource for planning unmounted lessons and programs, this is great!
Next, this curriculum is not an actual program that has been written for you. In fact, it does not tell you at all how to use the material – it does not give example lesson plans, or explain how to use the worksheets and tests, or how to determine the testing level of your students. It is just the materials, and that’s how a curriculum works, because the authors want you to be able to easily tailor it to your individual students and your own uses. So if you are looking for a program that is already written out for you, that’s not what this is – BUT it is a great starting point, as the topics are already chosen, the information collected, the tests written, and the badge and certificate designs created for you!
And lastly, yes, this curriculum has a high price point. But you get wonderfully printed full color books, you are able to photo copy it as much as you want, the authors offer guidance for using it, and it’s a great starting place for lesson and program planning. It’s a worthwhile purchase if you are really going to use it. If you are just want some ideas for unmounted lessons, yes, the price is a little high. But if you are going to use all the materials – the books, worksheets, tests, badges, etc. – for lessons and programs, then the price is worth it.
If you’re having trouble deciding, I think these are the circumstances in which this curriculum would be the most useful:
- You want to incorporate teaching ground horsemanship skills into all your lessons
- You want to provide lessons for participants who may be contraindicated for mounted lessons (or over the weight limit)
- You have students who have anxiety about horses and want them to gain confidence on the ground first
- You want content for summer camps
- You want to develop a whole “ground school” program
- You want to create a pony club and need content
- You want to create a lease program for your more advanced riders that includes learning horsemanship skills
- You have students that can read, circle or write a test, and be motivated to earn badges, and you want to give them additional horse knowledge and homework
- You do not have time to compile and organize the information for unmounted lessons yourself
So overall, I recommend this curriculum if you are looking to incorporate a lot more unmounted lessons into your program for any of the reasons above. I think the curriculum’s strengths and most useful qualities are the way the content is grouped and ordered, how simple and condensed the information is given, and how it contains materials like worksheets, tests, and badges. If that sounds like something you want, then go for it!
How To Purchase
As of 2019 the authors do several orders and fulfillments a year, so be aware of that when ordering. They’ve had enough interest lately that they are taking orders through Dec. 20th, to ship on or before Jan. 10th. So if you want one, now is the time to get it!
If you have any questions about the curriculum, please don’t hesitate to ask the authors, over at their website.
I hope you enjoyed that review! I enjoyed reading through the curriculum 🙂
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!