Welcome to our website and the Western Rider Development Programme!

A brief introduction to the Programme

In a nut-shell, the Western Rider Development Programme (WRDP) provides on-line access to a progressive training system for you and your horse. Comprising seven levels in all, from foundation through novice and intermediate to advanced, the Programme is comprehensive and thorough. It offers regular assessments and detailed feedback from a Western Equestrian Society (WES) Approved Instructor and Judge. Designed principally for western riders with access to the internet, members are able to maintain contact with their instructor by e-mail. More detailed information about the philosophy behind the Programme and also the syllabus is available in the 'About the WRDP' pages.

Addressing technical and psychological aspects of rider performance

One of the key benefits of this initiative is that wherever you live you can now have access to affordable, regular and consistent training from highly experienced and professionally qualified coaches. The added bonus is complete flexibility: your online training can be supplemented by face to face tuition from your local instructor if that suits you, and there are no time limits! But an additional, and perhaps unique, feature of the WRDP is that the founders of the WRDP, Judith Hubbard and Judy Jones, are both Certified Practitioners of NLP. This means that the training provided addresses both technical and psychological aspects of rider performance.  We begin to address this important issue in the pages covering the Psychology of riding. In the coming months and years we will include case studies drawn from the experiences of riders who are happy to share their stories with our community.

How does it work?

The concept is very simple. Once you register you're provided with a welcome pack that gives you all the resources you need to get started. The pack includes:

  • the complete syllabus and guidance notes for Levels 1 to 7
  • information about how to contact your 'virtual' trainer for periodic advice
  • a suggested pattern and notes to help you plan your Level 1 assessment video
  • weblinks to our YouTube channel videos, illustrating the Level 1 assessment manoeuvres 
  • information about accessing the WRDP Facebook group (exclusive to members)
  • a recommended reading/viewing list
  • a representational system preference test to identify your preferred learning system
  • a complete set of e-newsletters issued since the launch of the Programme.

Then it's over to you to get on with it! In addition to being able to access all of the publicly available information on this website and practise your skills at home, you can submit interim videos for assessment prior to requesting your final assessment. You'll receive comprehensive written feedback and guidance on how to improve your performance or progress to the next level.  Successful candidates are awarded an official certificate and the achievement is reported in the Society's national magazine, 'WES News' as well as being recorded on this website on our Roll of Honour.

How much does it cost?

The fee to join the Programme is £50. This covers your initial registration and includes your online support and assessment at Level 1 - so we hope you'll agree that it offers great value for money!  As you progress through the Programme there will be an additional fee of £40 payable at the commencement of each Level. You can work at your own pace, without any pressure. You'll also have control over how much you spend and when you spend it!

Is it worth it?

You don't need to take our word for it! Kate Eldridge (WES, AQHA and AQHA-UK member - as well as the British Horse Society) was one of the first to register on the Programme. Kate is pictured below with her 9 year old American Quarter Horse mare Tardy Conclus Honey. These are Kate's own words.... 

'I signed up for the WRDP in 2011 and took my Level 1 assessment within a couple of months. Honey & I are working towards our Level 2 assessment at the moment and we're really enjoying it. Anyone looking at the website can see that there are some very helpful and interesting articles that are free to everyone, but when you sign up - which costs no more than the price of a lesson - you also get access to a whole lot more, including the videos on the WRDP YouTube Channel. They really help you with the various exercises - all aimed at building a solid training foundation for a responsive, supple, soft, versatile riding horse... something I'm sure we all dream of having! All in all I've been very impressed with the information contained in the Welcome Pack and supporting materials for Levels 1 and 2.  One of the many things I really like about the Programme is that there's no pressure or time frame but I feel well supported, and motivated, to continue training at my own pace. Highly recommended!!'

Fellow member Andrea Ware has been working hard on the Programme with her 5 year old mare Anni, who she bought as a weanling. They're pictured together below. At the end of March 2012 Andrea gave this feedback... 

Andrea and Anni at Rowden March 2011'Seven weeks ago I started on my WRDP journey. I’ve just passed my Level 1 and have received my certificate and detailed feedback ready for me to start on Level 2. I’m really pleased...the thing I love most about the Programme is that it's so structured and logical. It guides you through, step by step and really helps to give confidence to me and to Anni.  I can take my time and go back over all of the basics - it's brilliant. If you ride western and haven’t joined the Western Rider Development Program then maybe its time you did - it's great fun!'       

Join us on Facebook

In addition to visiting this website for our regular updates, you can also take a look at our Facebook page. It provides the opportunity to interact with fellow western enthusiasts, check out the discussion board and enjoy various photos and videos. It's a great way of keeping in touch with everyone and making new friends! Just click on the picture to the right.

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