About CHA

The Certified Horsemanship Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit membership association, founded in 1967. CHA certifies equine professionals, accredits equine facilities and provides resources to programs and equine professionals in the form of published industry standards for equestrian programs, student horsemanship manuals and equine professional manuals. Additionally, program materials are offered by CHA including student awards and certificates, posters and other educational resources. The mission statement for CHA is to promote excellence in horsemanship safety and education for the entire horse industry.

CHA Purpose & Mission Statement

To promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the entire horse industry. This is accomplished by certifying instructors, accrediting equine facilities, producing educational conferences and publishing educational resources such as horsemanship manuals, DVDs, safety video shorts, webinars, a monthly radio show, blog, posters and much more. Certified Horsemanship Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit association. Your donations are tax deductible.


CHA was founded in 1967 by Mr. Dan Hemphill. Mr. Hemphill owned and operated Camp Summer Life in Vadito, New Mexico. He founded CHA because of his recurring frustration with the screening and hiring of professional riding instructors. Mr. Hemphill and other camp directors believed that many applicants had difficulty in fairly assessing whether they possessed the riding skills, knowledge and experience necessary to properly and safely teach horsemanship. He determined that a standardized evaluation format that offered certification would help solve the problem. A certification program would allow riding instructors to measure their skill through evaluation by professionals who understood the qualities of a good instructor and the skills needed to care for and maintain the training level of horses. Camp directors who had limited knowledge of horsemanship would be able to screen and hire competent staff whose level of ability had been professionally evaluated and certified. Mr. Hemphill brought together a professional, competent group of horsemen to write the manuals and developed the first certification program.

CHA has grown from a simple idea in the mind of Dan Hemphill to the largest certifying body in the world. It was purchased by a group of founding members and advisers in 1975 and thereafter was chartered as a nonprofit corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Over the years, the unique CHA certification process has been highly praised in the horsemanship industry. The process is continually monitored and refined to remain current and competitive and to meet the needs of a changing horsemanship industry. Since its founding, CHA has certified equine professionals on five continents and in thirteen countries. CHA has certified over 30,000 individuals since 1967. Our membership exceeds 3,000, with as many as 900 new instructors certified annually in approximately 100 certification events held in the United States and Canada. Throughout our history, CHA’s highest priority has been, and it remains, horsemanship safety and education.

Code of Ethics

  • As an individual member or program member of The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) in good standing I acknowledge my obligation to uphold the highest standards of horsemanship both at home and when in the public eye.  In carrying out the role of providing service to the horse industry, I recognize the need to do so in a professional manner and to deal with the public and our colleagues with the highest degree of integrity.
  • I shall conduct myself in a manner consistent with CHA’s mission to promote excellence in safety, fun, and education for the benefit of the entire horse industry.
  • I shall uphold CHA’s Standards for Equestrian Programs to the best of my knowledge and ability.
  • I shall adhere to the professional standards of CHA and to work to further CHA’s goals and objectives.
  • I shall place the most emphasis on the well-being, safety, and enjoyment of my participants and horses.
  • I shall maintain a high level of professional competence by adhering to the continuing education requirements as set forth by CHA. In doing so I realize that increased knowledge enhances basic knowledge and provides new knowledge allowing me to share this expanding knowledge with my students and clients.
  • I shall acknowledge my membership in this professional community and my responsibility to demonstrate respect for my fellow professionals at all times.
  • I shall instill confidence among clients and the public in CHA and in the horse industry avoiding any action conducive to discrediting the horse industry or membership in CHA.

CHA Why Statement

“CHA changes lives through safe experiences with horses.”

Certified Horsemanship Association

1795 Alysheba Way, Suite 7102
Lexington, KY 40509