Athlete Development

Horses inspire, motivate, engage and reward us. The Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) & Long Term Equestrian Development (LTED) models strives to cement the lifelong relationship between horse and athlete. As models, LTAD and LTED provides the Canadian equestrian community with a vision to help us improve our infrastructure, programs and initiatives to ensure the best opportunities are available for all athletes and participants – whatever their personal goals or stage of development. It serves as our true north.

Long-Term Athlete Development

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) is a systemic approach being developed and adopted by Equestrian Canada to maximize a participant/athletes potential and involvement in our sport. The LTAD framework aims to define optimal training, competition and recovery program based on biological age rather than chronological age. It is athlete centered, coach driven and administration, sport science and sponsor supported.

By tailoring an athletes/participant’s sports development program to suit basic principles of growth and maturation, especially during the 'critical' early years of their development, enables him / her to:
• Reach full potential (introduction to Olympic podium)
• Increase lifelong participation in Equestrian and other physical activities
• Improving health and well-being

This framework will set out recommended training sequences and skills developments for the participant from the Active Start stage (6 and under) to the Active for Life Stage (adult recreational). It will address the physical, mental, emotional and technical needs of the athlete as they pass through each stage of development.

What is Long-Term Equine Development?

Equestrian Canada, an extensive infrastructure comprised of professional staff and volunteers, in partnership with Sport Canada, has developed a systemic approach to maximize participants’/athletes’ potential and involvement in equestrian sport.

The LTED model is a blueprint for building the best sport system possible. It respects the developmental needs of all equestrians, addressing those who are able-bodied and those who have a disability. It also addresses both early and late developers.
The goal of this brochure is to help you understand the needs of young athletes, and what can be done to promote their best interests by staying active and healthy throughout their lives. You will learn about Long-Term Equestrian Development (LTED), a model that provides parents, coaches and athletes with the fundamental tools to support progression from beginner to champion, if that is the athlete’s goal. LTED will also help the recreational equestrian develop the skills needed to enjoy the thrill of riding or driving horses.

LTED Stages

Active Start (0-6)

    Physical activity as a fun part of a child’s everyday life.
    Active play in a safe environment with unstructured access to a wide variety of colourful toys and equipment


    Participation and fun with horses while learning within a peer group.
    Development of familiarity and respect for equine behaviour, and education on rules and etiquette for handling horses.
    Motor skills are introduced, and durability, emotional control and positive attitudes to new challenges encouraged.

Learn to Train

    Support of multi-sport and diverse life experience while inspiring increased commitment to equestrian activities.
    Focus on increased repertoire of equestrian skills and introduction of some specialization.
    Introduction of independent decision making and mental training, such as visualization and relaxation.

Train the Athlete

    Introduction to competitive experience, including coping with winning and losing, analysis and evaluation of performance, and understanding of rules and ethics.
    Physical fitness and good training habits (warm-up, peak, cool down, and breaks) are emphasized for both athletes and horses.
    Understanding of what it means to be part of a team with peers and professional support.

Learn to Compete

    Consolidation and refinement of basic equestrian skills with consistent performance as the goal.
    Learning to cope with variants, including different competition environments and distractions.
    Building foundation of personal excellence in competition, independent problem solving and customized mental training.
    Developing solid general physical fitness for horse and rider with focus on stamina, speed, strength, suppleness and skills.

Train the Competitor

    Acquiring more advanced equestrian skills.
    Developing analysis and evaluation of performance and adjusting competition plan accordingly.
    Introduction of talent identification.

Learn to Win

    Developing success rate of skills executed and practical tactical knowledge implemented in competition.
    Optimizing performance with goal of consistent top competition results.

Live to Win

    Full commitment to international excellence.
    Refinement and maintenance of skills and tactical strategies tailored to the strengths of the athlete and horse.
    Optimization and integration of all performance factors, taking into consideration international competition venues and calendar, with the goal of reaching the podium.

Active for Life and Competitive for Life

    Ongoing multi-sport and diverse life experience.
    Encouragement to commit to participating in equestrian activities,
    as an athlete or by contributing as a coach, official, sport administrator or volunteer.

Contact Us

Manitoba Horse Council Office
145 Pacific Avenue
Winnipeg, MB, R3B 2Z6

The office is currently closed to personal callers. Please phone or email as the details below.

Executive Director, Diane David
Phone: (204) 925-5719
Email: [email protected]

Business Manager, Linda Hazelwood
Phone: (204) 299-0118
Email: [email protected]