USDF Instructor Program


Cindy Sydnor

Back in 1992 when Michael Poulin was forming the USDF Instructor Certification Program, he invited Cindy to be an examiner. Flattered by the offer, she accepted, apprenticed and participated in the third exam offered by USDF. She is astounded that the program has been in effect for sixteen years now and is thrilled with its success.

Becoming certified involves an intense five-part exam over a two to three day period, including riding, lungeing horse and rider, teaching, an oral exam on classical training theory, and a written test which covers stable management, nutrition and basic veterinary care.

Modeled after the German and British systems, the program maintains high standards and Cindy says it is an important step in the direction of improving our national teaching quality. When certification is attained, instructors are required to participate in continuing education seminars, which are often led by world-class trainers, such as Kyra Kyrklund and Klaus Balkenhol.

Cindy shares her examiner responsibilities with other commendable dressage riders and trainers Lendon Gray, Michael Poulin, Deb Bowman, Lilo Fore, Maryal Barnett, and Gerhard Politz. She spends quite a lot of time traveling with the program, including several trips to Hawaii for workshops, and a great deal of activity takes place at her own farm.

“It's a wonderful program and we've successfully examined nearly 200 certified instructors,” says Cindy.  “We're working on an FEI certification division, which will be exciting. Several of my students have been certified, including my daughter Eliza, who is certified to teach through Fourth level.”




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