Rookie Riders is a fun and comprehensive program that teaches activities and skills that are fundamental to success in horseback riding. The program was developed by nationally-certified coaches and is delivered across Canada. Rookie Riders includes games, basic gymnastics on mats and movements on a barrel; it can even include riding a horse.
These skills align with FUNdamental movements and mental skills that are age and stage appropriate for children aged 6 to 12, in accordance with the National Sport for Life Long-Term Equestrian DevelopmentLong Term Athlete Development model. Children will be prepared with the basics, and then be ready to move into a riding school lesson program. From there, they can move into the First Level of the National English or Western Learn to Ride/Drive Assessors in AlbertaLearn to Ride program where they will continue to learn and grow as a rider. Program objectives include the following:
- Safe and fun introduction to riding skills, horses and horsemanship – Gymnastic and Barrel activities focus on developing the skills used in equestrian sport;
- Group and individual activities;
- Provides physical, mental, and emotional engagement;
- Participants finish with a:
- Strong foundation in the National Learn to Ride Program – Level 1 (English and Western);
- Rookie Riders Progress Report and Certificate of Completion.
Options for Program Delivery
Rookie Riders is designed to be delivered to large groups of children and is intended to be flexible in its delivery. It can be delivered in a variety of settings and can be customized to meet the needs of specific groups. There are four primary forms of delivery:
- KidsZone: Quick lesson plans and station-based activities designed to quickly introduce children to the program during high traffic events;
- Physical Education and Recreation: Programs to be delivered in physical education, recreation and other settings without access to horses; also applicable for children who are not ready to ride;
- Riding Facilities: Programs which incorporate riding as part of the core curriculum; children who have participated in physical education and recreation programs can join at a higher level;
- Camps: Designed with the camp experience in mind with more games, workshops and skill development; includes formats with and without the horse.
Who Can Deliver This Program
Rookie Riders is best delivered by a team of instructors, allowing multiple activity stations to run concurrently. All instructors interacting with students must have completed the Rookie Riders Instructor/Coach training (no horse) at a minimum and Rookie Riders instructor training (with horse) to deliver the full program inclusive of the horse activities. A minimum of two (2) trained instructors/coaches must always be present. The instructor/coach responsible for the session must always be present and hold an active NCCP Certification (any sport) or be a qualified physical education teacher, in addition to having completed the Rookie Riders Instructor/Coach training. An instructor to participant ratio of 1:6 is recommended, and should not exceed 1:8. All instructors should be screened in accordance with Equestrian Canada’s coach screening policy. Additional requirements for when horses are being incorporated includes:
- At least 1 NCCP Certified Equestrian Coach or Instructor and one (1) Rookie Riders 1 trained instructor must always be present;
- A 3rd person who is experienced handling horses must be able to manage the horse on the lunge line. It is preferable, but not required that they also be a trained instructor and/or certified coach.
Rookie Riders Instructor/Coach Training
The Rookie Rider Instructor/Coach training for the full program including the equine portion is offered directly through the Alberta Equestrian Federation to NCCP Certified Instructors/Coaches only. This training will enable NCCP Certified Instructors/Coaches to deliver the Rookie Riders program at their facility in full. As a certified coach or instructor, individuals will be provided with the resources required to run the program, including:
- Stable Management Guide and tests;
- Gymnastic Guide and Instructional Posters;
- Mounted Lesson Guide;
- Lesson Summary Chart for easy reference;
- Progress Certificates with stickers to track their path to completion, and a Certificate of Completion;
- To improve the level of performance and competence of Canadian equestrian instructors/coaches and their students.