Mar 29, 2016 1:03 PM

first instructor skilz clinic 2016 polo

Six polo instructors gathered on March 12-13 at Culver Academy in Culver, IN to take the first step toward obtaining their USPA Certified Polo Instructor certification. Participants included: Ed Little, Frank Stubblefield, Savannah Kranich, all from Culver Academy, Nadir Khan of Barrington Hills Polo Club, Ken Cresswell of Country Farms Polo Club, and Ruth Dumesic of Madison Polo Club.

first instructor skilz clinic 2016 polo

Leading this two-day free workshop were Jess Downey, Certified Polo Instructor Coordinator, Robin Sanchez, Honorary CPI Heather Perkins, who recently became a CPI. A big thank you to Culver Military Academy for providing the wonderful venue, horses, and company.

Launched by Polo Development, LLC in 2015, Instructor Skilz Clinics are a supplementary precursor for instructors looking to get their Instructor Certification. These 2-day, hands on, clinics are designed to prepare instructors for the expectation and testing protocol of the Certified Polo Instructor program. A combination of lectures, interactive teaching, and intimate group size ensures that each instructor has one-on-one attention from the Lead Instructor and is sure to walk away with new skills. Polo Development, LLC is dedicated to helping polo instructors reach their maximum potential.

first instructor skilz clinic 2016 polo

Instructors will learn the format for teaching CPI lessons. This 3-part format, consisting of an Introduction, Activity and Conclusion has been adapted for instructors to exemplify to certifiers how they would teach an hour-long lesson. This event is designed for polo instructors to familiarize themselves with the criteria and expectations of the CPI program as well as share feedback and best practices in preparation for future certification. Participants will be provided with the guidelines of certification and helpful tips for their future testing.

Before interactive teaching begins, one of the certifiers will present a "sample lesson" so instructors are aware of what a certification lesson should entail. Instructors are required to perform a safety check prior to every mounted lesson, and during the sample lesson the certifier will provide details and protocol.

Lessons will be given to the students, not to the group. For example, an instructor will be expected to explain and demonstrate proper mallet grip to the student(s) and give corrections, not say to the group "this is how I teach someone to hold the mallet". When not teaching, participants will be asked to role-play as students. The certifiers will be scoring instructors on the following: safety, horsemanship, teaching skills, group control, and professionalism. For these lessons instructors may:

  • Use the white board or model horses provided to demonstrate or draw out lesson items.
  • Use props such as cones, lining paint/chalk, tack, equipment, foot mallets, long mallets, mounting blocks, etc.
  • Choose to be mounted or unmounted for mounted lessons (students will be mounted).
  • Participants are allowed to ask questions, as students to further understand the topic. Certifiers are allowed to ask questions to better understand the depth of the instructor's subject knowledge.
first instructor skilz clinic 2016 polo

Each morning of the clinic, groups gather in the classroom to go over different aspects of what the USPA deems to be important information for polo instructors to succeed. These interactive presentations are designed for instructors to further their knowledge of specific sections such as teaching skills, horsemanship, emergency scenarios, the Polo Experience, lesson progression, business models that work, etc. Instructors are encouraged to ask questions. This is also a great time for instructors to learn from each other and different programs. These sections are for learning purposes and won’t be directly tested at certification.

For more information on the Instructor Skilz Clinic program or becoming a USPA Certified Polo Instructor, please contact Jess Downey at