The Driver Proficiency Program (DPP) is a voluntary program that gives carriage drivers recognition for their knowledge and accomplishments in the sport. Created and administrated by The Carriage Association of America (CAA) the program closely resembles that of The British Driving Society. In fact, we relied upon the guidance of the BDS for the development of the DPP. Read more about the development of the DPP here.
A Study Guide for Carriage Driving
You could think of the program as your “study guide” for carriage driving. Each level has it’s own syllabus with the areas of knowledge covered. With that in hand, you can look into the resources suggested, or go find your own sources to learn about the subjects. As you progress through the levels, you earn certificates for each level. Level 1 is relatively easy, but requires study if you’re a complete beginner. Level 2 is far more expansive, and more challenging. Level 3 is for the true carriage driving enthusiast who would be as comfortable in the coach house as in the living room.
The beauty of the program is that it helps you think of the questions that you might not have thought to ask, then go find the answers! I’ve had veteran drivers with decades of driving experience tell me that the program opened their eyes to aspects of carriage driving they hadn’t put much thought into before taking part in the program.
That falls right in line with the goals of the program. First and foremost, is to encourage safe carriage driving both for the horses and the people who love them. But it goes beyond that, into the many traditions and practices that make the sport such a varied and vibrant sport. There really is a place in the Driver Proficiency Program for drivers of all types. It’s a really fun and interesting way to improve upon your carriage driving knowledge, and get credit for your hard work!
One of the great benefits that have come out of the Driver Proficiency Program is the recognition of qualified instructors in carriage driving. The CAA publishes a list of instructors and evaluators for each level of the program.
Instructors and evaluators must earn their certificates for each level just as all other drivers in the program. Instructors at each level are required to have earned their certificate for a level higher than they instruct. In other words, a Level 1 instructor, must have earned their own Level 2 certificate.
Evaluators are instructors that have been recognized by the CAA to evaluate carriage drivers applying for certificates at Levels 1 & 2. Just as instructors, they must complete a higher level of certificate than that which they are evaluating. Master Evaluators have the ability to evaluate at all levels of the program.
The list of instructors and evaluators is a great resource for those looking for instruction in carriage driving of all kinds. Let’s face it, becoming an instructor in any horse sport mainly requires a willingness to teach, and maybe a business card. Beyond that, it’s difficult to know what qualifications an instructor has. Wouldn’t you rather take lessons from someone who’s already been thoroughly evaluated by other professionals? Selecting an instructor from the list of instructors and evaluators comes with the confidence that you’ll be receiving safe, competent instruction.
See the list of evaluators and instructors. (link to CAA website)