USDF Instructor Program

Monday, July 28, 2008

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. 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 standard is high, 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, and a great deal of activity takes place at her own farm.

“For the second year I am lucky to be traveling to Maui, Hawaii, in February. They have organized a "mega workshop" for USDF certification, which will include two days for each of the three disciplines: lungeing, riding, teaching. They have very good riders and horses and are determined to get some instructors certified. I'm thrilled to be able to help.”

2005 will be the beginning of "Introductory Level" workshops in the USDF certification program. She explains, “These are directed toward people wanting to begin working toward a standard of riding and teaching that will reach our present certification level. We hope young riders and people from other disciplines with an interest in dressage will participate.”