Sunday, October 11, 2009

American Riding Instructor Association's 25th Convention!

I will be going to the ARIA 25th Convention on November 18-22, 2009. It is held in Naples, Florida (which makes it even better for our friends from the cold climes!) and it is a BLAST! I have been to two of the other conventions since 2004, when I became certified, and it has never disappointed!

I have met some wonderful fellow trainer/instructors, been able to network with many, many people that I have admired for my entire riding life, and have picked up (or been reminded of) a ton of equine- and teaching-related information.

The whole convention is geared towards the sharing of information and contacts for our businesses. I touched on discussing how we operate and market our businesses in the last post, dated 10/08/09 on this blog, and this is a major one for me. It is not necessarily a direct advertising outlet to my consumers (students or potential students), but gaining the recognition, education, contacts and networking prospects is crucial to any business venture. Having people who "do what you do" creates a camaraderie because they "are where you are" in terms of problem-solving, idea-creation, marketing-solutions, etc. This is a valuable resource which only makes your own business more reputable, and recognized.

Charlotte Kneeland, the founder and director of ARIA, has built this organization into an internationally recognized and respected certifying agency for riding instructors, and was recently awarded the Equine Industry's Equestrian Vision Award for her service to the equestrian world. Drop her an email, and be sure to check out the website--it is full of information about certification, has a directory of certified instructors by state with all their contact information, and has a great bookstore/reading list, as well. It also has an explanation of the different levels of certification and disciplines that they certify instructors for that would be a great help to the consumer (potential student) when seeking an instructor.

The ARIA website is linked to the title of this post. I hope you will check it out, and I hope it moves you to attend the Convention. Even though it is almost here, it is not too late to sign up for it. You do not have to be a certified instructor to attend. We have some awesome keynote speakers lined up for this Silver Anniversary Convention, including Jane Savoie, Denny Emerson, Susan Harris, George Morris, and Julie Fershtman, among others and the exchange of information and ideas is always well worth the convention price. I hope to see you there!

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