What is Coaching?

It takes passion and dedication to be a coach. Being a great coach, however, often requires additional guidance and support. The National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) gives coaches that extra advantage and is the recognized standard for coaching training and certification in Canada.

Horseback riding is a skill. The best way to develop that skill is to work with an Instructor of Coach who is trained to help you develop as a rider and to understand horsemanship and horse care as well. Receiving a good foundation of riding ability will make your experience with horses safer and more enjoyable.


Coaches play a critical role in shaping the sport experience and lives of sport participants. Inherently, Coaches are in a position of trust and authority, play an important role in the development of sport participants and ultimately shape lives in the process.

Coaches have a duty of care for the individuals they coach. The Coach-athlete relationship is a privileged one and plays a critical role in the personal, sport and athletic development of the athlete. Coaches must understand and respect the inherent power imbalance that exists in this relationship and must be extremely careful not to abuse it, consciously or unconsciously.

As the governing body for equestrian sport and the equine industry in Canada, Equestrian Canada’s (EC) mission, core values and Code of Conduct and Ethics clearly identify the importance of upholding the highest standards of ethical practices and sportsmanship in all areas of activity, including the activity of Coaches.

As such, it is critical that EC and its affiliate organizations take steps to ensure that Coaches receive training and support to be able to uphold these values and model them to new participants, while also having mechanisms to hold those who do not uphold these values accountable.

EC’s vision is for every equestrian Coach in Canada to be licensed and certified by 2025. This guide provides a framework for the programs and services that will aid in achieving this vision.


  • Professionalism and accountability adhering to established standards of ethics and the Equestrian Canada Code of Conduct
  • Screened by EC and have a Criminal Record Search on file with Vulnerable Sectors, this is renewed every 3 years. They have undergone SafeSport training and concussion training
  • Skilled in first aid and safety procedures and must renew their First Aid every 3 years
  • Equestrian knowledge and technical competency
  • Commitment, having completed the rigorous testing process, and to continue to maintain skills through ongoing training and education
  • Inspiring confidence in your coaching skills, expertise and professionalism from parents, students, officials and the community at large
  • Gaining equestrian specific technical skills, as well as leadership and decisions making abilities, to open doors to new opportunities in coaching
  • Accessing coaching training that is directly applicable to you, whether you are new to coaching or already coaching athletes at the top of the sport
  • Demonstrating your dedication to lifelong learning through regular Professional Development
  • Allowing you access to improved insurance coverage rates to protect yourself and your students
  • They have met a National Standard as set by industry leaders and coaching professionals
  • The National Standards are in line with the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) who oversee the program for Equestrian and 67 other sports.

I ride for fun, recreation and mostly on trails, why do I need a Certified Coach?

Horseback riding is a skill. The best way to develop this skills to work with a certified Instructor or Coach. They are trained to help you develop as a rider and understand horsemanship and horse care. Receiving this a good foundation of riding ability will make your experience with horses safer and more enjoyable. Coaches are not just for people who compete, everyone can benefit from spending time with coach or instructor. You don’t need to take lots of lessons and only ride circles in an arena, many certified Coaches and Instructors have experience trail riding, driving horses on the road or trail, or just having fun with your horse.



This program is focused on those who wish to take on the instruction of children and adults learning to ride, establishing foundational riding skills with an eye on safety.


This program is focused on those who are interested in coaching riders in the competitive environment. More advanced skills in the development of a competitive training program, performance analysis and mental preparation for competition are required to become certified at this level.


This program is a further progression of the Competition Coach program, focused on riders competing at the Provincial and National levels. Beyond the Competition Coach Level, this level requires a working knowledge of the Equestrian Canada competition rules for the level and discipline they’re teaching.


This program is administered by Equestrian Canada.

What is a Registered Coach and what is a Licensed Coach?

Click here for information on the new Equestrian Canada Coach licensing program.


All coaches that are listed on the Horse Council BC site adhere to these Minimum Standards available here Minimum Coach Standards document


Coaches have many responsibilities and one of them is to ensure they provide a safe environment for their athletes and themselves. When athletes and athletes’ parents entrust a coach as a leader they assume they have taken steps to become a responsible coach.

The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is a call to action for sport organizations to implement policies and processes to ensure athletes are safe. Coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, it highlights three key areas:

  • Rule of Two
  • Background Screening
  • Respect and Ethics Training

These concepts are preventative tools to protect the organization, the coach and to reduce the instances of negative sport experiences related to bullying, abuse, unethical coaching, etc.

Parents have the right to speak with the coach or the coach’s supervisor if they have questions or concerns about interactions with their child. For more information about the Responsible Coaching Movement click here: 

National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP)

As the National Coaching Certification Partner for Equestrian sport and activity, Equestrian Canada is responsible for leading program development, establishing minimum standards, and ensuring consistent and effective delivery across Canada in Partnership with its Provincial Sport Organizations (PSO). Horse Council BC is the PSO partner.

The NCCP is a competency-based coaching training and certification program for 65 different sports and is offered in both official languages across Canada. The NCCP curriculum is designed and delivered in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC).


  • Maintain and manage the coaches file at the HCBC office
  • Record and enter all PD submitted to the office into the NCCP database (The Locker)
  • Track coach or instructors First aid expiration dates, Criminal Record Search expiration dates, memberships and other requirements
  • Designated staff member to facilitate certification and maintain files, provide ongoing information and support, as well as sit on the EC National Coaching Operations Committee.
  • Provide coach and instructor training and testing materials for the Learn to Ride/Drive Programs
  • Organize and administer all certification evaluations in BC, process required paperwork and enter information into the Locker, and inform EC
  • Track Rider/Driver exams, and maintain a database of all completed exams
  • Maintains web pages devoted to the promotion of EC/NCCP certified coaches and instructors. Provide the “Find a Coach” and enhanced listing through www.hcbc.ca
  • Develops and distributes promotional materials
  • Work with Equestrian Canada staff and committees to provide input into program revisions as well as new programs.