Certified Horsemanship Association Seeking Equine Experts for Speakers for the 2021 CHA International Conference in November in Fort Worth

(April 2021) – The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) is seeking experts within the horse industry as speakers for the 2021 CHA International Conference. Part of CHA’s mission is providing quality continuing education within the horse industry, and the annual international conference is CHA’s ultimate learning opportunity. The 2021 CHA International Conference is scheduled for November 9 – 11, 2021 at the Fort Worth Stockyards in Texas. Speakers at this event include riding instructors, horse trainers, barn managers, veterinarians, equine behaviorists, farriers, saddle fit specialists, equine association representatives, business consultants, and other equine professionals. Those wishing to attend the conference should Save the Dates.

If you would like to speak, CHA is now accepting speaker applications for classroom-style lectures, roundtable discussions, hands-on horse demonstrations, and mounted riding sessions (using the Fort Worth drover horses and Eventing and Dressage horses from a local CHA instructor) with attendees who sign up on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sessions at the CHA International Conference are focused on safe, effective, and fun horsemanship.

CHA is all-breed and all-discipline organization. The audience at the CHA International Conference includes riding instructors, trail guides, barn managers, driving and vaulting coaches, horse owners, riders, and general horse enthusiasts. Attendees can sign up to ride these well-trained school horses in the educational sessions. CHA members and non-members alike can attend as the conference is open to the public with prior registration.

Those wishing to speak should contact CHA at clandwehr@CHA.horse. The deadline is April 15, 2021. Those applying to speak will need to send a professional biography paragraph, a photo, and a session title and paragraph description, along with anything needed to fulfill your session such as ground poles or cones.

More information about the CHA International Conference can be found at https://cha.horse/international-conference/ Additional information will be added online throughout the year, including the full line-up of speakers and sessions.

CHA Equine Professionals Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies equine professionals such as riding instructors and equine facility managers, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces educational streaming videos and webinars, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of equine professionals in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified horseback riding instructor or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse

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2021 CHA International Conference – Hotel

Hotel offering your special group rate:
SpringHill Suites Fort Worth Historic Stockyards 
2315 North Main Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76164 USA • CALL: +1 682-255-5100
Hotel Website

If you have questions or need help with the link, please do not hesitate to ask.
We appreciate your business and look forward to a successful event.

Book your group rate for Certified Horsemanship Association – $109 USD per night

2021 CHA International Conference – Last Day to Book: Saturday, October 9, 2021

 

Certified Horsemanship Association Spring Blog Post – Riding Program Success Lessons from the Pandemic

(March 2021) – Riding Program Success Lessons from the Pandemic by CHA Equine Facility Manager Certifier Jill Montgomery is the latest CHA blog post for readers to enjoy.

Jill interviews Jody Taylor who is a CHA Certified Riding Instructor and co-owner with his partner Kim of Star T Ranch in Aledo, Texas just outside of Fort Worth.

Jody describes their experience, “We started out 2020 with a well-established program and a great crew of six CHA certified riding instructors. When the Pandemic hit, we developed protocols to keep our students and boarders safe following guidance provided to area businesses by the City of Fort Worth. By showing leadership and sharing the plan with our clients – we made a smooth transition from closing the month of April through a graduated re-opening of services and were back to 100% by July – that led to the busiest Autumn in our history to date.” He went on to say, “Clear and regular communication with our clients about the rules and commitment to their health and safety were keys to our operation’s success dealing with COVID19.”

Susan Garside who is a CHA Board Member and Certifier and the Equestrian Program Director at Akron, Ohio’s YMCA Camp Y-Noah was also featured. Camp Y-Noah offers a year-round riding facility for youth and adults. Programs include riding lessons, trail rides, birthday parties with ponies and both day and overnight youth camps. Being part of a larger organization Susan’s program has several levels of management to clear when changing program details. She describes 2020 as a stressful year requiring creativity and adaptability. She also saw big pay offs in getting two parts of their Camp running for the 2020 season. The experience required recalibrating priorities.

To read more about Jody and Susan’s experiences and to read more great blogs from CHA visit here –  https://cha.horse/cha-blog/

CHA Equine Professionals Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

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Certified Horsemanship Association March Webinar – Publishing and Social Media for the Horse Industry

(March 2021) – Join us for our March CHA Monthly Member Chat at the link below on Wednesday, March 17th at Noon Eastern Time. If you can’t join us live, not to worry, you can find the link on our website here the day after and CHA members are free and non-members pay a small fee to watch the recording – https://cha.horse/education/#cha-webinars

Jeff Tiessen, Publisher of the horse crazy kid publication – Blaze Magazine and Emily Blackborow the Communications Coordinator with ParaSport Ontario will be on to discuss the publishing industry and current social media trends and how you can use them to your advantage.

Certified Horsemanship Association produced many webinars, videos, articles and more!  Check out our site at www.CHA.horse to see them all.

CHA Equine Professionals Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

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Riding Program Success Lessons from the Pandemic

By Jill Montgomery

Passing the one-year anniversary of the COVID19 Pandemic has been a global challenge, especially for non-profit organizations and small businesses like riding stables and equestrian programs, which were generally not considered essential services. Even so, some horseback riding programs have been able to rally their unique strengths for operating with COVID19’s restrictions and excel during this time of social distancing and anti-viral safety measures. As 2021 promises a better new normal, there are some strengths that those in the horse industry may use to get back in the saddle sooner than many other recreational activities.

Some built-in aspects of equine activities are a fit with common methods of staying healthy and reducing the transmission of COVID19 virus. Most interactions with horses occur outside, preferable to inside enclosed areas. Small groups for routine equine activities are typical. The size of horses and normal spacing between riders in most equine activities accommodates social distancing. Equine facilities are familiar with bio-security management practices that limit their horses’ exposure to contagious illnesses. These industry norms can be supplemented to include specific requirements of the broader community’s expectations for operating businesses.

CHA riding instructors and barn managers are accustomed to looking out for the safety of their clients and establishing protocols to keep them safe. Adding safety measures at a stable to meet community business standards during the pandemic may be an easier adjustment than for many other recreational activities.

Many states have adopted similar measures for businesses to operate during the pandemic, however each community may have its own version. As knowledge about the virus is gained the general recommendations will continue to evolve. As the population becomes vaccinated recommendations will change. The local and state health departments are good resources to stay current with community expectations for safety requirements.

Several CHA members who are up and running with COVID19 safety measures in place have reported impressive results and agreed to share their stories.

Jody Taylor is a CHA Certified Riding Instructor and co-owner of Star T Ranch in Aledo, Texas just outside of Fort Worth. Jody and his partner Kim run Star T Ranch on a 16-acre property where they make every square inch of it work. The ranch includes three arenas, of which one is covered, a twenty-meter round pen, a modified cross-country course and eight acres of up and down trails. An office and classroom as well as the barn aisle are used for classroom type instruction, but not during the current circumstances. Their services include boarding, training, and riding lessons. The operation accommodates 30 head of horses and they maintain a herd of 12 to 15 lesson horses with the balance of the herd being private mounts. Their program offers both English and Western riding lessons, and specializes in Eventing, Dressage, Show Jumping and Natural Horsemanship. Their proximity to the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex affords big potential for new clients. Full capacity at this facility is 85 lessons/week some of which are provided to boarders on their own horses.

The business closed for the month of April. Regular barn staff did routine care and management for the herd. Boarders could check on their horses with strict limits on the number of people in the barn at one time. All were required to observe social distancing and use the newly provided handwashing stations. The lesson program business was brought back online incrementally, starting with 25% of capacity, increasing every two weeks until reaching 100%. By July demand had exploded and the program had a waiting list. Jody credits this response in part to pent-up demand, people looking for outdoor activities, closure of gyms and bounce houses and kids begging their parents to let them learn to ride. He notes that the parents saw value in the outdoor and physical elements of learning to ride. The program’s students are predominately youth ages 8 to 18 years comprising 75% and 25% are adults. The following simple rules for riding students were established early in their Pandemic experience and posted at the barn. The students complied faithfully.

  1. Anyone feeling sick needs to stay home and cancel the lesson.
  2. Sanitizing protocol is listed in the barn.
  3. Riders only in the barn.
  4. Masks are required in the barn.
  5. Social distancing – at least 6 feet apart.
  6. Team Star T be safe.

Jody describes their experience, “We started out 2020 with a well-established program and a great crew of six CHA certified riding instructors. When the Pandemic hit, we developed protocols to keep our students and boarders safe following guidance provided to area businesses by the City of Fort Worth. By showing leadership and sharing the plan with our clients – we made a smooth transition from closing the month of April through a graduated re-opening of services and were back to 100% by July – that led to the busiest Autumn in our history to date.” He went on to say, “Clear and regular communication with our clients about the rules and commitment to their health and safety were keys to our operation’s success dealing with COVID19.”

Susan Garside is a CHA Certified Riding Instructor and Certifier and the Equestrian Program Director at Akron Ohio’s YMCA Camp Y-Noah. Camp Y-Noah offers a year-round riding facility for youth and adults. Programs include riding lessons, trail rides, birthday parties with ponies and both day and overnight youth camps. Being part of a larger organization Susan’s program has several levels of management to clear when changing program details. She describes 2020 as a stressful year requiring creativity and adaptability. She also saw big pay offs in getting two parts of their Camp running for the 2020 season. The experience required recalibrating priorities.

Susan describes the 2020 season, “Following our Governor’s requirement for businesses considered non-essential to close, we operated with only a skeleton staff to care for our herd of 25 horses and the 250-acre facility from Mid-March to Memorial Day. During this time, our focus stayed on preparing for what was doable and being able to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. We re-opened with the riding lesson program and day camp. New protocols included hand washing stations, sanitizers at the arena and mounting blocks for riders and for the tack and grooming tools, masks for everyone until after they were mounted. Access to the barn was limited and all observers needed to stay outdoors. A staff member would meet participants at their car, take his or her temperature to rule out fever, make sure they had no symptoms of illness and then escort them to their horse or activity. This practice created an unexpected benefit of a touchpoint with parents of our young students and the campers. The changes were readily accepted by the participants who seemed quite happy to be able to join us after their period of social lockdown. Communication and teamwork with management, staff and student/campers and their parents was excellent. People were on board and cooperative in responding to the changing environment as our protocols evolved. By October we looked back at this season as the healthiest for staff and students, cleanest for horses and equipment and the most participation we ever had in these programs. October generated 115% of our pre-COVID19 goal for 2020.”

The increased participation required hiring more staff, a change Susan believes will continue into the next season and beyond. Cleaning and sanitizing all the tack led to taking more time between lessons, and something most instructors can appreciate – spotless tack! The new protocols focused lessons more on riding and less on over-all horsemanship, but the students seemed happy to spend more time riding. Another benefit was there were less staff sick days than previous seasons, presumably because so much attention was given to cleaning and disinfecting.

A good example of Susan’s creativity is an effective tool to introduce their new Equestrian Program safety protocol. She made a video for the YMCA website describing what to expect for new riding lesson procedures. In it Susan lays out the process participants will experience upon their arrival, during the lesson, and upon completion while holding one of the program’s horses, Destiny. A Dalmatian wandering in the background adds levity to the serious subject. The video provided assurance to parents that the students health was a number one priority.

Take away points from Jody and Susan’s success include:

  • There is pent up demand for equine activity and many alternative activities are unavailable.
  • Do what it takes to comply with the COVID19 safety measures your community expects of your business.
  • Be creative and adaptable to meet the demands of this time.
  • Reach out to your past, current, and prospective clients and let them know they can come and enjoy the ride.

As the horse industry’s busy season looms large for 2021, there is much to be hopeful about. Our activity meets the requirements for this historic time. Riding instructors and barn managers are in a unique position to help people dealing with the traumatic experience of 2020. Health experts describe the need to exercise, be outdoors and be in nature. Is there a better vehicle to get there than on the back of a horse? Not for horse crazy kids, and not for us. The saying that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a human gains even more relevance as people find their way to the new normal of post pandemic life.

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 About the Author and Contributors:

Jill Montgomery is a CHA English and Western Riding Instructor, Equine Facility Manager, and Certifier for EFM. She is owner and CEO of JRAM Enterprises, Inc. an equine business consulting firm that focuses on work to keep equine activities accessible and enjoyable for everyone. FMI Jill@JRAMEnterprises.com

Jody Taylor is co-owner of The Star T Ranch, located in Aledo, Texas near Fort Worth. Our mission at Star T Ranch is to provide the best quality, care and service for your horse and you with excellence in safety and education. Kim and Jody are all about being mindful of the horse and incorporating horsemanship in English and Western riding disciplines. FMI TexTaylor@yahoo.com

Susan Garside is Equestrian Director of the Akron YMCA’s Camp Y-Noah and a Certified Horsemanship Association Board Member, Certified English and Western Riding Instructor, Equine Facility Manager and Certifier for EWI and EFM. Camp Y-Noah’s skilled instructors help foster responsibility, compassion, work ethic, self-confidence, patience, and assertiveness for our riders of all ages FMI sgarside@yahoo.com

Certified Horsemanship Association March Podcast – Teaching Riders with Physical or Cognitive Disabilities

(March 2021) – Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) will be on Horses in the Morning for our “Training Tuesday” show on Tuesday, March 16th at 10 a.m. ET. This month’s show is sponsored by Reinbow Stirrups. This is a free podcast on the Horse Radio Network. Hope you can listen in!  https://cha.horse/education/#horse-radio-show

Join Glenn Hebert, host of Horses in the Morning, and Christy Landwehr, the CEO of CHA, as they co-host this show each month. This episode will be about Teaching Riders with Physical or Cognitive Disabilities and will include CHA Certifiers Debbie Holmes from Oregon and Cheryl West from Oklahoma. Debbie is a CHA Instructor for Riders with Disabilities (IRD) and English/Western Instructor (EWI) Certifier, as well as a PATH CTRI, Mentor, and Equine Specialist. Cheryl is a CHA IRD, EWI and Equine Facility Manager Certifier.

This show is being sponsored by Reinbow Stirrups – www.Reinbowtherapy.org

Monica Wu, who owns Reinbow Therapy, is a Masters level registered and licensed occupational therapist with a specialty in pediatrics in Massachusetts. Monica founded her private Occupational Therapy practice called Reinbow Therapy in 2007 which incorporates equine movement which is known as “hippotherapy” as one of the treatment strategies in combination with other treatment techniques.

As a result of using her professional OT background of evaluating and addressing functional needs while utilizing equine movement, she realized that having a better safety stirrup system was needed and so she created the Reinbow Stirrup System.  This safety stirrup system evolved over a period of 10 years and finally received a U.S. patent in February after 3 years of hard work.  She is very excited to share this safety & functional product with the listeners on Horses in the Morning.

If you can’t make the live show, you can find the free recordings here for this show and all the CHA shows we have done for the past years with the Horse Radio Network – https://cha.horse/education/#horse-radio-show.

CHA Equine Professionals Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

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Certified Horsemanship Association Riding Instructor and Equine Facility Manager Certifications Are Hot in 2021

(February 2021) – Anyone who wants to further their career by earning a Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) Certification is encouraged to check out the CHA Certification Schedule online by type at https://cha.horse/find-cha-certification-clinics-by-type/ and by location at https://cha.horse/search-cha-certification-clinics-by-location/  and by date at https://cha.horse/find-cha-certification-clinics-by-date/    CHA Certifications are intensive multi-day events in which attendees learn and demonstrate their skills so they can be certified at one of CHA’s various certification types and levels. They are currently available for the English/Western Instructor (EWI), Equine Facility Manager (EFM), Vaulting (VTL) and Instructors of Riders with Disabilities (IRD) during 2021. Many more will be added in the next few months for this year. Join more than 30,000 experts who have been certified by the largest equine professional certifying organization in North America!

At this time, CHA Certifications are available in the following locations: Alabama, Alberta, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Manitoba, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Normally, CHA conducts over 80 certifications around the US and Canada each year. They are posted on the CHA website for 2021 at this time.

Certification offers many benefits to the equine professional, including showing the industry and potential customers that you have the skills and knowledge to teach riders or to run an equine facility according to strict industry standards set by an independent third party. In addition, certification demonstrates professionalism, dedication, and a commitment to horsemanship instruction and/or equine facility management. Certified individuals have demonstrated their focus on the safety and well-being of all participants in equestrian pursuits, humans and horses alike.

A person’s willingness to dedicate their time and money to the CHA certification process indicates that they are a serious professional. CHA certified equine professionals must demonstrate a high level of professional competence and adhere to continuing education requirements set forth by CHA to maintain their certification. In addition, many insurance companies recognize certification and will give discounts.

Certification includes workshops and hands-on demonstrations in five areas: safety, horsemanship knowledge and ability, teaching techniques, group control, and professionalism and ethics. Two CHA Certifiers evaluate each attendee, who must also pass written tests and competently demonstrate their skills during the event to receive their certification. The cost of the certification also includes the attendee’s membership in CHA, fees for the event, and all educational materials. Each host site will specify which meals are included and if a lodging option is available with the final price.

For more information on attending a CHA Certification and what to expect, please visit http://cha.horse/cha-certifications/

For anyone wishing to host a CHA Certification, the organization is taking applications to host in the fall of 2021 and beyond. Host sites must become a CHA Program Member that is pre-approved by CHA. If your facility would like to become a new host site for CHA, please visit http://cha.horse/how-to-host-a-cha-clinic/

To keep up-to-date on all news from CHA, please sign up for the CHA monthly email newsletter on the home page at www.CHA.horse.

CHA Equine Professionals Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies equine professionals, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, has educational webinars and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of equine professionals in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified horseback riding instructor or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse

 

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Certified Horsemanship Association Offers Educational Webinars for Equine Professionals and Enthusiasts

(January 2021) The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) offers a variety of resources for horse professionals and enthusiasts alike to learn more about horsemanship. One of CHA’s most popular educational resources are the professional webinars, which are offered live and also in recorded format. Anyone interested in a past webinar topic can purchase a downloadable file at https://cha.horse/education/#cha-webinars. In addition to gaining more horsemanship knowledge, these webinars can also serve as continuing education credit hours for those that need them in the equine industry.  Business owners can use CHA webinars as educational training for staff.

These are just some of the many horsemanship webinars available on www.CHA.horse:

  • Caring for the Senior Working Horse with Megan Bryant Purina Mills
  • Equine and Disaster Planning with Jim Boller
  • Equine Educational Opportunities at Colleges/Universities with Dr. Bob Coleman and Amanda Love
  • Equine Assisted Learning and Working with At-Risk Youth in a Riding Program with Bonnie Riley
  • Exercises, Patterns and Drills for Riding at All Levels with Julie Goodnight
  • Insurance for the Private Horse Owner and the Equine Professional with Diane Lesher Equisure
  • Form to Function: A Novel Look at Conformation with Dale Rudin
  • Horse Trauma and PTSD with Nina Ekholm Fry University of Denver
  • Marketing That Works with Jordan Manfredi
  • Nine Things the IRS Looks for in Your Horse Business with Victoria Long, CPA
  • Questions and Answers with Dr. Temple Grandin
  • Risk Management: What You Need to Know About Liability, Contracts, and Releases with attorney Julie Fershtman
  • Social Media and Marketing Tactics with Suzi Carragher
  • Teaching Techniques for Riding Instructors with Christy Landwehr
  • Test Before You Treat – The Right Way to Deworm your Horse with Tim Davis
  • Yoga for Every Equestrian with Gabrielle Diakon

To be on a CHA webinar live and to keep up with new monthly webinars and other resources and information provided by CHA, please subscribe for CHA’s free monthly educational email newsletter at the bottom of the CHA website home page at www.CHA.horse

CHA Equine Professionals Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

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Certified Horsemanship Association January Podcast

(January 2021) Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) will be on Horses in the Morning for our “Training Tuesday” show on Tuesday, January 19th at 10 a.m. ET. This is a free podcast on the Horse Radio Network. Hope you can listen in!  https://cha.horse/education/#horse-radio-show

Join Glenn Hebert, host of Horses in the Morning, and Christy Landwehr, the CEO of CHA, as they co-host this show each month. This episode will talk about New Year’s Resolutions for Yourself, Your Horses, Your Clients and Your Barns and will feature Julie Goodnight Master Instructor with CHA from Colorado and Rashel Pack who is an attorney at Appleby Healy, Attorneys at Law in Ozark, Missouri.

This show is being sponsored by DiO – Draw It Out Veterinary Strength Liniment and owner Jon Conklin will be coming on the show to talk about this product and everything it can provide to your horses.

If you can’t make the live show, you can find the free recordings here for this show and all the CHA shows we have done for the past 5 years with the Horse Radio Network – https://cha.horse/education/#horse-radio-show.

CHA Equine Professionals Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

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Certified Horsemanship Association Monthly Member Chat Webinar with CHA Instructor Dale Rudin – Function to Form: A Novel Look at Conformation

(December 2020) Join us for the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) Monthly Member Chat Webinar on Function to Form: A Novel Look at Conformation on Wednesday, 12/16 at Noon Eastern Time for CHA members and then the recording will be available to everyone after.

Your horse’s conformation is a treasure trove of information that can give you valuable insight into your horse’s performance and well-being. Learn how to evaluate your horse’s conformation and what changes in your horse’s shape and structure can mean.

Dale Rudin is a welfare-centered horse trainer and CHA certified English and western riding instructor. Her passion is to help humans find joy with their horses. Her priority is to develop emotional balance and physical health in horses of all breeds and disciplines. She is a certified equine nutritionist, behavior specialist, and uses her background in biomechanics to help horses be the best they can. Dale’s experience with “problem” horses has made equine rehabilitation a big part of her life. She has recently created Pure Joy Horse Haven, an equine rescue and sanctuary that gives horses a chance at a better life or a forever home. Dale is a founding member of Force Free Tennessee, an animal advocacy organization. Her articles have been published in Horse Illustrated, HorseChannel.com, and WoofOnNashville. Dale offers training, instruction, and clinics at her farm in Santa Fe, Tennessee and surrounding areas as well comprehensive assessments, nutrition consulting, saddle fitting and online education. https://www.purejoyhorsemanship.com/

Here is the link to CHA’s educational horsemanship webinars topics. Explore them today! https://cha.horse/education/#cha-webinars

CHA Equine Professionals Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies equine professionals, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals and webinars, produces educational horsemanship videos, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of equine professionals in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, or to find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, please visit www.CHA.horse. ###

Certified Horsemanship Association Celebrates School Horses

(December 2020) We all started out learning how to ride on a certain horse. If our family did not own horses, it was very likely that a wonderful school horse taught us how to ride. So it is only fitting that an outstanding horse be honored as the Certified Horsemanship Association School Horse of the Year. To commemorate such an outstanding honor, the winning horse receives a hand-painted oil painting from CHA member Julie Fischer from Colorado with bark from her camp as the frame and a wooden and leather trophy plaque from Lone Star Awards.

Earning the title of 2020 CHA School Horse of the Year is 30-year-old quarter horse gelding Dallas from SpringHill Camp in Evart, Michigan. “Without fail, kids that come through the barn will ask who my favorite horse is,” says Katrina Lechlitner. “As the barn manager, I am always diplomatic and will say that I have lots of favorites it just depends on the job that needs to be done. Then I whisper, “It’s actually Dallas, but don’t tell the other horses.” They usually giggle and then ask if I always ride him because I love him so much. It’s then that I have to confess that I have never ridden him in the 15 years I have been in charge. “I only get to ride the ones that need help listening and Dallas never does anything wrong so you get to ride him.” “Why do you like him so much then?” That is my favorite moment. “Dallas makes me proud and I can trust him to take care of you. I’m kind of like his mom now and all the lessons he learned growing up he is teaching you. He’s my favorite because he’s using all of his lessons to help other people and I know that you will do the same thing when you are older. We should all want to be just like Dallas.”

“It doesn’t stop there though. The staff always ask that question too. With them I am a bit more coy. I’ll ask them who their favorites are and why. Without fail they will name a horse that they feel like they are training or one of our flashy colored horses. They are almost disappointed when I tell them it’s Dallas. My response it a bit more age appropriate though. “You like the idea of that other horse, I’d say that makes them ‘dateable’ – Dallas is marriage material.” Of course those conversations lead to talking about their future, but when they do get distracted by a boy at camp it gives me a chance to offer some perspective. “Is he a Dallas or just dateable?” That is the kind of reputation EVERY man should strive for. He’s 30. We’ll never be able to replace him. I am confident I will cry uncontrollably on his last day. Until then I will keep asking the dentist for the ‘live forever float,’ the farrier for the ‘stay sound forever trim,’ the vet for secrets to ‘make him live forever,’ and myself to learn how to care for him the best I can.”

“What an honor to have Dallas be recognized by CHA as the 2020 School Horse of the Year,” says Katrina Lechlitner. “There are so many special lesson horses in CHA programs everywhere and Dallas truly is our backbone. It was so hard to put his 18 years of service into words to nominate him because we felt we could not do his history with us justice. His name puts a twinkle in the eye of so many campers, guests and staff alike. It’s been fun to share this recognition with all those who have crossed paths with him. He might just be another sorrel horse, but he’s the heart and soul of our herd. SpringHill Camps has been blessed to have a horse like him. Thank you CHA!”

The CHA School Horse of the Year Program honors the best of the school horses who are part of CHA member programs. Each equine finalist receives a plaque from CHA and were also honored at the virtual CHA Awards Ceremony. The top five finalists included:
• Cresson – Whispering Willow Farm in Wisconsin
• Dallas – Spring Hill Camp in Michigan
• Indy – JT Ranch in Washington
• Maverick – Birch Bay Ranch in Alberta
• Sonora – Camp Chippewa in Kansas

For a complete list of past CHA award winners, visit https://cha.horse/international-conference/#award-winners
CHA Equine Professionals Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies equine professionals, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces educational horsemanship videos, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of equine professionals in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, or to find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, please visit www.CHA.horse.
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Reach Equine Professionals by Advertising in the Certified Horsemanship Association’s Magazine, The Instructor

(November 2020) – For businesses who want to share their products and services with equine professionals, advertising in the Certified Horsemanship Association’s magazine, The Instructor, is the perfect way to do that. The Instructor magazine is published every spring, and readership includes riding instructors, equine facility owners, managers and staff, camps, trail guides, colleges and universities, and other equine professionals. Now is the time to book ad space in CHA’s official publication.

The Instructor is a full-color publication that includes CHA news and updates, informative and engaging features, and the CHA Annual Report. More than 4,500 issues are distributed to all CHA members and available at the CHA International Conference and other trade shows and events attended by CHA representatives. Full color ad spaces range from 1/6th-page ads to full-page ads, with premium placement ads available on the back cover, the inside front cover, and the inside back cover.

In addition, those who advertise in both The Instructor magazine and the 2021 CHA International Conference Program will receive 20% off on a conference program ad of any size. The program will be published for the 2021 CHA International Conference. The conference program is printed in black and white each year and given to all attendees at the conference.
Book your ad space in the full color The Instructor magazine by mid-February 2021! Ad materials are due by the end of February. In addition to CHA’s amazingly low rates, CHA Individual and Program members receive discounts on advertising in the magazine, the conference program, and the monthly e-newsletter thanks to their membership with the organization.
Opportunities are also currently available for advertising with the CHA Radio Podcast Show, which airs monthly on “Horses in the Morning”; in the monthly CHA e-newsletter; and in horsemanship safety videos produced by CHA for use by the equine industry.

For more information on rates and ad specifications, the CHA Media Kit can be found online at https://cha.horse/advertise/#cha-media-kit and to book your ad space, or for questions, please contact CHA’s ad sales representative Leigh Ann Matthews at sales@CHA.horse

CHA Equine Professionals Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies equine professionals, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces educational horsemanship videos and webinars, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of equine professionals in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, or to find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, please visit www.CHA.horse.
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Deserving Award Winners Honored at the 2020 CHA Virtual Awards Ceremony

(November 2020) Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) members, instructors, and speakers gathered to participate in the 2020 CHA Virtual International Conference, Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony. During the two days attendees engaged in networking, expanded their knowledge over a variety of equine topics, and honored the highly anticipated award winners.

1. The first award recipient to be honored during the virtual awards ceremony was the CHA Volunteer of the Year. The coveted award that recognizes the countless hours and dedication CHA volunteers spend changing lives through safe experiences with horses. The winner is Pam Prudler from Sacramento, California.

CHA member Lisa Lombardi said this about Pam. “Pam has devoted her life to enriching newcomers to the safety and joys of horsemanship since 1972. At that time, she first became a CHA certified riding instructor and was immediately hired to teach at the location where she was certified, Shady Lawn Farm in Oakdale, CA. It was there at Shady Lawn that she met educators who wanted to include safe horseback riding at their camps, and she got involved with further developing what was then called Camp Horsemanship Association. The main idea was to come up with a leveling system that resembled what was already in place for Red Cross water safety. The earned certificate or patch would mean the same in any camp program, so that the campers riding skills would not need to be re-tested if they chose a different camp.

In approximately 1980, she and others from around the country met in Illinois to put together official CHA manuals that would include the written materials and illustrations already being used by Shady Lawn Farm. During her time at Shady Lawn Farm (1972-1989), Lois Orr, Pam and others pushed for having certified instructors, helmet use, coordination with liability insurance companies, and to expand the CHA program to include western states.

She still owns horses and has taught hundreds to ride including her own nieces and grandnieces. Today nothing gives her more joy than watching children with horses. She has dedicated her life to educating others in the safety and joy of horsemanship. Pam is, and always has been, a contributor to the horse world and to CHA.”

2. The CHA Partner in Safety Award is given to a person or entity that embodies horsemanship safety at the core. The CHA Partner in Safety goes to Marmon Valley Farm in Ohio.

Marmon Valley Farm was established in 1964 and began certifying CHA instructors and campers soon after. Programs have included both seats English and Western at all 4 levels, Jumping, Drill teams, Driving, Vaulting, Pack Trips, Gymkhana and simple Trail courses. All campers ride on the 250 wooded acres of trails. They also host small horse shows and have a public riding stables that serves hundreds of guests every year. They can put out 25 riders every half hour on a busy fall Saturday.

Marmon Valley began as a small Farm camp with 5 horses in 1964 on 75 acres. Now over 50 years later, it’s an established horse facility with 500 acres and 150 horses. Marmon Valley Farm and the Wiley family have been a supporting member of CHA holding clinics to provide safe programs for over 50 years! This family has three generations of CHA Certifiers! Marmon Valley Farm in Zanesfield, Ohio has hosted 49 certifications clinics since 1996, certifying 353 CHA Instructors.

“The Marmon Valley Farm Staff was excited to be this year’s proud winner of the “CHA Partner in Safety Award,” says Jane Wiley Olsen. “We appreciate the recognition for all the hard work our staff have put in, over the 50 years, to keep horseback riding and horse related activities safe in our organization and many others. Thank you for recognizing us in this wonderful association.”

3. CHA Certifiers are vital in order to continue growing the association and accomplishing our mission. The CHA Certifier of the Year Award is reserved for someone who has shown outstanding service to CHA by conducting meaningful certifications and influencing the careers of equine professionals over many years. This year’s award was given to Cheryl West from Oklahoma.

Cheryl is a CHA Certifier in the CHA English/Western Instructor Certification, Equine Facility Managers Certification and Instructors of Riders with Disabilities Certification. She has also been a very active Regional Director for her area of the country.

She has had this said about her, “It has been a pleasure to learn the ropes of how to conduct a CHA Certification from her. She runs a smooth, orderly and clearly lined-out clinic. She is quick to make adjustments and adapt when needed. She remains positive, fair and energetic throughout the process even during the long days. She challenges each equine professional attendee in a way to help them see their fullest potential and encourages them to shine in their unique individual style. She brings years of experience with passion, enthusiasm, pride and encouragement for each participant. She takes pride in representing CHA to others. Cheryl challenges herself and continues to grow in order to bring out her very best for those around her. She is an inspiration and models grit, determination, perseverance and passion.”

“It is humbling and gratifying to know that I could have a positive influence for others in our industry,” says Cheryl West. “It’s a huge responsibility to be a CHA Certifier and I enjoy making a difference.”

4. Often described as the life blood of the association, individual certified instructors undoubtedly play a key role in the success of the association and its mission. Earning the title of 2020 CHA Instructor of the Year is Trisha Kiefer-Reed from Montana.

Trisha has had this said about her: “She has the ability to teach each student regardless of what level they are at. She not only tells the students how to adjust themselves and their horses, she breaks down the mechanics and explains the why and how of the maneuvers and the adjustments. She has the ability to adjust how she explains things to the level of each rider. This results in success for each and every student. I think this is the “pot of gold” for the students that are fortunate enough to ride with her. Trisha is a powerhouse of energy. In the past twelve months alone, she has tirelessly spread enthusiasm for safe and sane horsemanship throughout her home state of Montana as well as Alberta, Wyoming, and the far reaches of Alaska.

Trisha is very involved with WE United Association that is about the sport of Working Equitation. One of the things that impressed me the most about Trisha is that she took the time to learn about the sport before she jumped in and began to offer instruction in it. Trisha began to teach clinics and private lessons grounded in the discipline of working equitation after over a year of intensive professional growth. As word of the quality of her instruction began to spread, her clinics began to sell out, and her weekends quickly filled.

Trisha is a CHA Master Instructor and Clinician and is the consummate professional. She is excellent at meeting the horse and rider where they are, on any given day. Her enthusiasm and humor make her instructions fun and memorable. She’s patient, fair, encouraging, and possesses the best sense of humor ever!”

“I am deeply honored and humbled to be recognized amongst this outstanding group of men and women,” says Trisha Kiefer-Reed. “My goal now is to keep learning and sharing information, keeping this chain of knowledge strong for our aspiring instructors.”

5. The CHA Distinguished Service Award is a lifetime achievement award for an individual who has gone above and beyond through the years promoting and upholding the mission of the association. The 2020 recipient is Beth Powers of Bellefontaine, Ohio.

For 30 years since the beginning of her equestrian career, she has been a friendly face to everyone she meets sharing her love for the CHA organization, its members, staff, and mission. Her passion for life is evident from your first conversation. It does not take long for you to know that she is a life time member of the CHA proud team! A fixture each year at the CHA booth at Equine Affaire in Ohio she continues to share her love of the profession & our organization. She has volunteered her time in that booth for over 20 years! Setting it up, spending each of the four days talking to members and prospective members, tearing it down and keeping all the furniture and carpet at her house during the year. Beth is a CHA Life Member and is certified in both English/Western Instructor and Trail. She is a CHA Site visitor and Site Visitor Trainer and she conducts our trainings of new site visitors at our International Conferences every other year. She has been many roles in leadership with CHA including committee chair, and even our President. Beth was nominated and elected to our Board of Directors in 1999 and is just now rotating off after 21 years of service!

“I was completely surprised by this recognition,” says Beth Powers. “I have had many opportunities over the years to tell our CHA story of safe, fun and effective horsemanship to anyone who would listen. I have traveled all over doing conferences and trade shows for CHA and realize CHA is still needed and is just as relevant as it was over 50 years ago. Thank you so much.”

For a complete list of past CHA award winners, visit https://cha.horse/international-conference/#award-winners
CHA Equine Professionals Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies equine professionals, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces educational horsemanship videos and webinars, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of equine professionals in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, or to find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, please visit www.CHA.horse.
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Certified Horsemanship Association Welcomes New Board Members for 2021

(November 2020) The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) has new leadership on its board for 2021. We are excited to introduce them.

Dr. Bob Coleman is the new CHA President. Dr. Coleman graduated from the University of Manitoba with a bachelor’s in Agriculture with a major in Animal Sciences and then a Master of Science. He worked in the Canadian feed industry as a nutritionist for two major feed companies. In then became the extension horse specialist for Alberta Agriculture and completed his PhD at the University of Alberta with a focus in Equine Nutrition. He is now the University of Kentucky’s equine extension specialist in Lexington. He also teaches in the Equine Science and Management program, advises undergraduate students, and served as the program’s director of undergraduate studies until May 2017. He has researched voluntary forage intake of horses and the use of rotational grazing practices to meet maintenance needs of adult horses. He has worked with University of Minnesota faculty to develop the Healthy Horse app, which helps owners to estimate their horse’s current and ideal body weight. He is a CHA Site Visitor Trainer for the CHA Equine Facility Accreditation Program.
“I am honored and excited to be the incoming CHA president as CHA brings together people from all aspects of the industry to help those they meet have a safe experience with horses and those experiences do change lives,” says Dr. Coleman. “It is not just those new to horses this impacts, but all of us.”

Kristin Jaworski is the new CHA President Elect. She is from Fort Worth, TX and is the Director of the Fort Worth Herd where she manages and directs the world’s only twice daily longhorn cattle drive. She grew up raising mules and horses in northern Arizona and later graduated with her Master’s Degree in Management and Leadership from Tarleton State University. Since 2002 she has expanded all aspects of The Herd, including educational programs, facility operations, and horsemanship to support the economy and raise awareness of western heritage. Kristin was introduced to CHA through The Herd program and is a CHA Certified Instructor and a CHA Equine Facility Manager Certifier.

“The Certified Horsemanship Association has remained true to its why statement, by changing my life through safe experiences with horses, members of the organization, education and volunteers,” says Jaworski. “CHA has professionally influenced me as a rider and encouraged me to become a steward of the organization and I am honored to be elected President Elect. I believe in the excellence that this organization represents in the horse industry and am honored to serve.”

Katie Reynolds was elected to a second term on the CHA Board of Directors.
Katie is the Director of Youth Development & AQHYA at the American Quarter Horse Association. In this role since July of 2016, Katie is responsible for engaging a youth membership of more than 22,000, developing a diverse portfolio of programs and educational resources, and providing career and leadership development opportunities to tomorrow’s industry leaders. Katie is a graduate of Colorado State University. Katie spent several years as the Youth Programs Coordinator for Arabian Horse Association in Denver, Colorado, where she created programs, increased fundraising revenues, and advanced youth leadership development. It was during those years that Katie established a deep personal commitment to youth involvement. In 2008, Katie joined the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo as the Horse Show Director. There, Katie launched competitive events resulting in an increase of more than 260% in youth participation, worked with a committee of more than 500 volunteers, and managed a wide assortment of world-class events for thousands of exhibitors. A native of Wisconsin, Katie is a lifelong horseman. She resides in Canyon, Texas with her husband and their three children.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to continue serving as a board member of CHA,” says Katie Reynolds. “CHA’s mission is so important and I look forward to helping advance the association’s objectives in the coming years.”
Returning CHA Board members include: Hayley Eberle, Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association, Oklahoma City, OK; Teddy Franke, Camp Morrow, Pine Hollow, OR; Susan Garside, YMCA Camp Noah, Canal Fulton, OH; Jessica Hersey, Cowboy Mounted Shooting, Gettysburg, PA; Katrina Lechlitner, Spring Hills Camp, Reed City, MI; Amanda Reardon, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY; and James Rickner, Champ Chippewa, KS.

The rest of the CHA Executive Board consist of: Vice President of New Initiatives Anne Brzezicki, Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, Murfreesboro, TN; Vice President of Regional Relations Jennifer Eaton, Interscholastic Equestrian Association, Groveland, MA; Secretary Elizabeth Duffy, Camp America, Eatonton, GA; Treasurer Terry Williams, Blanchester, OH; and Past President Tammi Gainer, Pegasus Farm and PATH International, Alliance, OH

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces educational horsemanship DVDs and YouTube Safety shorts, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America and to find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, please visit www.CHA.horse.

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Certified Horsemanship Association Online Silent Auction and Virtual Annual Conference – Join Us!

(October 2020) – The Certified Horsemanship Association Online Silent Auction is open for bidding now at https://cha.horse/advertise/#donate-silent-auction-items. It is truly an All-Breed, All-Discipline Auction thanks to our wonderful donors!

Please share this event with everyone. Great horse owner supplies, travel, gift baskets, books, household items, gift certificates, clothing, art, jewelry and much more is up for bid.

The auction will be live until November 2, 2020 at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. Any items you win will be shipped to you after the closing of the auction for FREE. Funds will go towards CHA Scholarships for those in financial need due to hardship to support attendance at a CHA Certification to jump start their careers as a riding instructor or equine facility manager.

CHA is also holding its first ever Virtual Conference on Friday, October 30, 2020. This event will be open to all horse enthusiasts with a CHA member and non-member rate for the educational horsemanship day.

This conference will not just be your typical Zoom call with talking heads and Powerpoint presentations. The sessions will be very interactive and some speakers will be doing videos ahead of time with riders up on horses to showcase what they are teaching during their presentations. They will then be online to answer any questions after the video sessions. Here is the schedule for the day and for the recording you can receive after the event if you can’t join us live.

Friday, October 30, 2020 – 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET
CHA Virtual Conference – $95 for CHA Members and $155 for non-members
9:30 a.m. Gabrielle Diakon – Yoga for the Virtual Equestrian Conference Attendee
10 a.m. Dr. Bob Coleman – 4H Resources Ready for You and Your Youth
10:30 a.m. – Jochen Schleese – The 8 Myths of Saddle Fit
11:30 a.m. – Julie Goodnight – Simple and Flying Lead Changes (video with horses)
12:30 – Lunch break
1 p.m. – Shawna Karrasch – Positive Reinforcement Training (video with horses)
2 p.m. – Tara Reimer – Turnbacks and Rollbacks (video with horses)
3 p.m. – Julie Fischer – Grant Writing and Fundraising
3:30 p.m. – Susan Garside – Ways to Help Your Lesson Horses Succeed with Their Students (video with horses)
4:30 p.m. Jo-Anne Young – Understanding and Developing the Half Pass (video with horses)
5:30 p.m. – Courtney Smith – How to Teach the Boring Stuff in a Fun Way
CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399. To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse
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Certified Horsemanship Association Online Silent Auction is OPEN

(October 2020) – Certified Horsemanship Association is hosting an Online Silent Auction this year and it is open for bidding now at https://cha.horse/advertise/#donate-silent-auction-items. It is truly an All-Breed, All-Discipline Auction thanks to our wonderful donors!

Please share this event with everyone. Great horse owner supplies, travel, gift baskets, household items, gift certificates, clothing, art, jewelry and much more is up for bid.

The auction will be live from October 15 – November 2, 2020. Any items you win will be shipped to you after the closing of the auction and shipping is included for free. Funds from this auction will go towards CHA Scholarships for those that are in financial need due to hardship to support attendance at a CHA Certification to jump start their careers as a riding instructor or an equine facility manager.

Thank you for your support by bidding on auction items. And a huge thanks to our supporters who donated items to the CHA Auction!

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399. To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse ###

Certified Horsemanship Association Virtual Conference – Join Us!

(October 2020) – The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) is holding its first ever Virtual Conference on Friday, October 30, 2020. This event will be open to all horse enthusiasts with a CHA member and non-member rate for the educational horsemanship day.

This conference will not just be your typical Zoom call with talking heads and Powerpoint presentations. The sessions will be very interactive and some speakers will be doing videos ahead of time with riders up on horses to showcase what they are teaching during their presentations. They will then be online to answer any questions during the video sessions and afterwards. Here is the schedule for the day and for the recording you can receive after the event.

Friday, October 30, 2020
9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET
CHA Virtual Conference – $95 for CHA Members and $155 for non-members
9:30 a.m. Gabrielle Diakon – Yoga for the Virtual Equestrian Conference Attendee
10 a.m. Dr. Bob Coleman – 4H Resources Ready for You and Your Youth
10:30 a.m. – Jochen Schleese – The 8 Myths of Saddle Fit
11:30 a.m. – Julie Goodnight – Simple and Flying Lead Changes (video with horses)
12:30 – Lunch break
1 p.m. – Shawna Karrasch – Positive Reinforcement Training (video with horses)
2 p.m. – Tara Reimer – Turnbacks and Rollbacks (video with horses)
3 p.m. – Julie Fischer – Grant Writing and Fundraising
3:30 p.m. – Susan Garside – Ways to Help Your Lesson Horses Succeed with Their Students (video with horses)
4:30 p.m. Jo-Anne Young – Understanding and Developing the Half Pass (video with horses)
5:30 p.m. – Courtney Smith – How to Teach the Boring Stuff in a Fun Way

CHA will also have a virtual silent auction that companies can donate products and services to. Please visit here to find out more about the event and to register for the link to join or to for the recording afterwards!

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399. To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse
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Gabrielle Diakon: Yoga for the Virtual Equestrian Conference Attendee

Gabrielle Diakon is the Owner/Founder of GMD Training. Gabrielle is an RYT 200 Certified Yoga Instructor and teaches ‘Yoga for Every Equestrian’ which aids riders with their mental and physical balance in the saddle.  Starting off as a timid junior rider and progressing to become a professional rider and trainer Gabrielle created a program to create confident and strong riders. She specializes in riders’ body awareness in order to optimize their effectiveness. All while helping riders create a strong bond with the horses they ride.

 

Yoga for the Virtual Equestrian Conference Attendee

A 30-minute class beginning with a positive morning meditation and then moving into a stretchy dynamic yoga flow. Light flow focused on increasing energy for the day ahead. I recommend having space on the floor that you can follow along, no need for a mat, just a rug or anywhere that you can be without pain on your knees.

Earn Your Equine Facility Site Accreditation Through the Certified Horsemanship Association

(September 2020)  Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) can help you earn insurance discounts for your equine facility by going through the CHA Site Accreditation Program.

“The hardest part about this program is getting your binder done that has all the mandatory and recommended CHA Site Standard documents printed out and ready to be seen by the site visitors when they come,” says Christy Landwehr CHA Chief Executive Officer. “If your insurance has not heard of CHA, we will send our Standards for Equestrian Programs Manual and a cover letting explaining the process to them. We have received no less than 10% off for our sites when we have done this, and all the way up to 50% for one site on their equine facility insurance policy.”

Visit here https://cha.horse/cha-site-accreditation/ to learn more about this program. The fall and winter months are a great time to get this process done and then you can advertise that you are CHA Site Accredited and be listed on our site and on others where we partner such as American Horse Council’s Time to Ride and more.

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

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Certified Horsemanship Association September Webinar on Disaster Preparedness for Your Barn

(September 2020) – Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) is hosting a webinar on Equines and Disaster Planning on Wednesday, September 30th and you can also watch and listen to the recording afterwards.  To register today for the live webinar or the recording, please visit https://cha.horse/shop-webinars/

Jim Boller is with Code 3 Associates, Inc. and has been in the forefront of animal welfare and disaster response for more than 30 years. Jim is a full time instructor and disaster responder with Code 3 providing extensive training throughout the US to animal welfare professionals and those involved in animal emergency response.

Surveys indicate that only about 10-12% of animal facilities have written disaster plans.  Disaster planning has been shown to minimize the overall affects that can impact a facility shortening the recovery time for a facility when others may continue to struggle.  This discussion will cover some of those areas in the mitigation and preparedness stages of disaster planning that are overlooked and aid in reducing the effects of a devastating event.  Please join us as Jim shares some of his incite of over 30 years of responding to assist animals and their owners during natural and manmade disasters.

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

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Certified Horsemanship Association October Podcast

(September 2020) – Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) will be on Horses in the Morning for our “Training Tuesday” show on October 20th at 10 a.m. ET. This is a free podcast on the Horse Radio Network. Hope you can listen in! https://cha.horse/education/#horse-radio-show

Join Glenn Hebert, host of Horses in the Morning, and Christy Landwehr, the CEO of CHA, as they co-host this show each month. This episode will feature CHA incoming President Dr. Bob Coleman as he discusses 4H Resources Ready for You and Your Youth and CHA member and Tennessee State Rep Courtney Smith speaking on How To Teach Boring Things in a Fun Way to your riding students.

This show is sponsored by the Mustang Heritage Foundation and Michelle Bonds will be on the show talking about the foundation and how you can get involved in their work with mustangs. https://mustangheritagefoundation.org/

If you can’t make the live show, you can find the free recordings here for this show and all the CHA shows we have done for the past 5 years with the Horse Radio Network – https://cha.horse/education/#horse-radio-show.

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399. To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse
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Certified Horsemanship Association Nominations Due for Annual Awards

(August 2020) Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) holds annual awards for horses, humans and companies. They include:

  • CHA Certified Horseback Riding Instructor of the Year
  • CHA Partner in Safety
  • CHA Volunteer of the Year
  • CHA School Horse of the Year
  • CHA Certifier of the Year
  • And the CHA Distinguished Service Award

Here is the list of our past award winners in each category since 1996. https://cha.horse/international-conference/#award-winners

In order to nominate a horse, human or company to win one of these annual CHA Awards, please return this form by no later than August 31st to office@CHA.horse  – https://cha.horse/international-conference/#nomination-forms

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

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Shawna Karrasch: Via Nova Training – Positive Reinforcement Training

Shawna Karrasch is the Lead Positive Reinforcement Trainer and Behaviorist at Via Nova Training. She is a pioneer in the use of positive reinforcement training with horses. Her behavioral training techniques are an eye-opening experience for equine professionals, competitors, and amateurs alike. She has produced books and videos, podcasts and traveled worldwide to teach these concepts to horses and riders. After two years of consulting, Shawna recently joined the team at Via Nova Training, whose mission is to see the horseworld embrace a Priority to Positive®.

Contact info:

shawna@vianovatraining.com | vianovatraining.com | shawnakarrasch.com

 

Certified Horsemanship Association Online Silent Auction

(August 2020) – Certified Horsemanship Association needs your donations today for an Online Silent Auction we are hosting this year in October in conjunction with our Virtual CHA International Conference, Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony.

Visit this link today to put in your products and services that you want to donate to share what you do with over 12,000 equine facility mangers and horseback riding instructors. Please plan on donating items to support our CHA scholarship fund!  Will need the form filled out by no later than October 1, 2020. The auction will be live from October 19 – November 2, 2020.  Thank you for your support!

 CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

 

Certified Horsemanship Association August 2020 Podcast

(August 2020) – Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) will be on Horses in the Morning for our “Training Tuesday” show on August 18th at 10 a.m. ET. This is a free podcast on the Horse Radio Network. Hope you can listen in!  https://cha.horse/education/#horse-radio-show

Join Glenn Hebert host of Horses in the Morning and Christy Landwehr the CEO of CHA co-host this show each month. This episode will feature Patti Colbert who has been active in the horse industry for 50 years having worked for AQHA and creating the Extreme Mustang Makeover for the Mustang Heritage Foundation among many other things.  She will be talking about different generations and how we all view the horse industry.

Then Julie Broadway, the President of the American Horse Council will be on the show talking about the current legislative issues in our country that involve the horse industry and how we can all get involved to work on change.

If you can’t make the live show, you can find the free recordings here for this show and all the CHA shows we have done for the past 5 years with the Horse Radio Network – https://cha.horse/education/#horse-radio-show.

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

Susan Garside: Ways to Help Your Lesson Horses Succeed with Their Students

Susan Garside has been involved in the horse industry for more than 40 years. She has been the Equestrian Director at Akron YMCA Camp Y Noah in Canal Fulton, OH, since 2008, which is also when she was certified as a Master Instructor and a CHA Assistant Clinic Instructor. She oversees all lesson programming, summer camps, group and public trail rides, birthday parties, and collaborates with the local schools and her city to introduce more people to horses. She is a graduate of Lake Erie College’s Equestrian Program and competed on an Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team. She has traveled around the country working in the horse industry and has participated in 4-H, US Pony Club, dressage, jumping, rodeo events, and competitive trail rides..

Jo-Anne Young: Understanding and Developing the Half Pass

Jo-Anne Young has been studying horses and how to kindly and effectively communicate with them her whole life. She finds great joy in guiding riders along the path to successful partnership with horses.  She is located in Houghton, New York where she has worked as a professor and riding instructor at Houghton College for many years. She has been a Certifier and regional director for CHA for many years as well.

Dr. Bob Coleman: 4-H Resources: Ready for You and Your Youth

Dr. Bob Coleman grew up in western Canada and has had a lifelong interest in horses. He is a graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor degree in Agriculture with a major in Animal Sciences and a Master degree in Animal Science. Dr. Bob worked in the Canadian Feed Industry as a nutritionist for two major feed companies before moving to Alberta, Canada where he served as the Extension Horse Specialist for Alberta Agriculture. During his time in Alberta, he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Alberta with a focus in Equine Nutrition. In 1998, he moved to the University of Kentucky as the Equine Extension Specialist.  In addition to his Extension duties, Dr. Bob teaches in the Equine Science and Management program. Dr. Bob is active in the horse Industry serving as Chairman of the AQHF research committee and has served on the executive committee of the Kentucky Quarter Horse Association.  Professionally, he is a member of the Equine Science Society and serves as the executive director, is a member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, and is a Diplomat in the American College of Animal Science and a member of the American Society of Animal Scientists. In addition Dr. Bob is a member of CHA serving on the board as the President Elect and is a Site Visitor Trainer supporting the CHA site accreditation program.

Certified Horsemanship Association’s July Webinar on Yoga for Every Equestrian

(July 2020) – The Certified Horsemanship Association’s (CHA) is happy to announce our July webinar Yoga for Every Equestrian with Gabrielle Diakon live on Wednesday, July 29th at Noon ET with a recording to follow to be watched anytime. This webinar will be very interactive with Gabrielle guiding the viewer in yoga postures that will benefit equestrians as they are watching.

Gabrielle Diakon is the Owner/Founder of GMD Training. She is an RYT 200 Certified Yoga Instructor and teaches ‘Yoga for Every Equestrian’ which aids riders with their mental and physical balance in the saddle. Starting off as a timid junior rider and progressing to become a professional rider and trainer, Gabrielle created a program to create confident and strong riders. She specializes in riders’ body awareness in order to optimize their effectiveness, all while helping riders create a strong bond with the horses they ride.

In this webinar we will speak about how using yoga can help your students mentally and physically balance in the saddle. Yoga improves the rider’s concentration, attitude, and physical abilities.

Visit here today to register for the live event on Wednesday, July 29th at Noon ET at https://cha.horse/shop-webinars/.   Register here as well to get the recording if you can’t join us live and CHA can send the link to you. CHA has a special on all of our Webinars in between now and July 31st at half price!  So make sure to register before this deadline!

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

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Virtual Horse Shows – All Riders to Demonstrate Their Skills at Home

Frustrated by horse show cancellations? You don’t wait for in-person events to resume. Try a virtual horse show. Online horse shows offer a platform for competing at home while having a chance to win prizes and receive constructive feedback.

“Riders have the chance to compete in a low stress environment for the chance to earn cash and receive great constructive critiques,” said Elizabeth Lawhorn, the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) Director of Performance Development. APHA planned to introduce E-Shows in 2020, but moved up the launch date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawhorn offered tips for helping exhibitors prepare for a digital competition.

  • Use the pattern and instructions provided to correctly set up the course.
  • Ensure the exhibitors know their patterns.
  • Video a rider’s run as many times as needed. Riders can use this to their advantage by making sure they’ve stayed on pattern and that the camera person hasn’t accidentally cut off the beginning or end of a run.
  • Read the rules. New virtual shows are being created each week and each have different rules on tack and attire and may differ in their entry and video process.

“That way you know how each one works so that you don’t miss a deadline or get disqualified for something as small as illegal attire or tack,” she said.

Nearly every phone has a built in video camera making it easy to record an entry. Quality video is vital so the judge can clearly and easily see a rider’s performance. Filming horizontally works best.

“We prefer exhibitors shoot the video in landscape, or wider than it is tall,” Lawhorn said. “This makes sure that the subject is as easy to view and judge as possible.”

Zooming when appropriate ensures that the horse and rider are in the frame at all times. If they are videoing in a covered arena, avoid open windows or doors behind the exhibitor when possible. Back lighting makes the subject dark and impossible for the judges to see clearly.

“Online horse shows aren’t designed to replace physical horse shows, but they give exhibitors a low cost option to get out there and show their horse,” she said. “It can even serve as a stepping stone for those exhibitors who are new or getting back into showing, or new to a specific event.”

Katie Navarra is an award-winning writer based in Upstate New York. She regularly covers horses, farming, business and leadership.

Certified Horsemanship Association International Conference Will be Virtual in October

(July 2020) – The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) is holding its first ever Virtual International Conference on Friday, October 30, 2020.  This event will be open to all horse enthusiasts with a CHA member and non-member rate for the educational day.

 

This conference will not just be your typical Zoom call with talking heads and Powerpoint presentations.  The sessions will be very interactive and some will be doing videos ahead of time with riders up on horses to showcase what they are teaching during their presentations. They will then be online to answer any questions during the video sessions and afterwards.

 

We already have confirmed as interactive speakers: CHA Spokesperson and Certifier Julie Goodnight, Jochen Schleese with SaddleFit4Life, Dr. Julie Fischer on grant writing and fundraising for your equine business, Tara Reimer of Cloud 9 Ranch in Manitoba with Turnbacks and Rollbacks and many more!

 

CHA will also have a virtual silent auction that companies can donate products and services to. Please visit here to find out more about the event and to register for the link to join or to get the recording if you can’t be on with us live today!

 

 

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

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Certified Horsemanship Association and Kentucky Equine Education Project Host a CHA Equine Facility Manager Certification

(July 2020) – The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) and the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) are hosting a CHA Equine Facility Manager Certification from November 20 – 22, 2020 at the Queenslake Facility in Georgetown, KY for only $650 a person.

 

This hands-on with horses certification includes four levels that participants can attain during the 3-day event based on their knowledge of equine safety, horse handling, horse husbandry, equine facility management and professionalism. There are four written tests and skills at each level that need to be demonstrated such as catching and tying a horse, trailer loading, taking vitals, and much more.

 

This link will provide participants with a free EFM webinar to find out more what to expect at the certification, as well as the details that are required at each level.

 

CHA’s Equine Facility Manager Certification checks all the right boxes for a group of employers looking to qualify potential employee’s skill sets,” says Laurie Mays KEEP Equine Talent Pipeline Project Manager.  “The Sport/Show Horse Farm Employer Collaborative group is comprised of 11 facilities in the Central Kentucky area and is the brainchild of both the Kentucky Equine Education Project and the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center. This group of employers is looking for highly experienced and qualified individuals to manage their facilities and feel that by using the EFM certification they can find, and certify, top professionals. Overall, this bodes well for the growth of their businesses as well as the professional progress of the individuals.”

 

About KEEP

The Kentucky Equine Education Project, Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, is a not-for-profit grassroots organization created in 2004 to preserve, promote and protect Kentucky’s signature multi-breed horse industry. KEEP is committed to ensuring Kentucky remains the horse capital of the world, including educating Kentuckians and elected officials of the importance of the horse industry to the state. KEEP was the driving force in the establishment of the Kentucky Breeders Incentive Fund, which has paid out more than $177 million to Kentucky breeders since its inception in 2006, and pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing, which has been responsible for more than $40 million to purses and more than $24 million to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

 

KEEP works to strengthen the horse economy in Kentucky through our statewide network of citizen advocates. To learn more about how you can become a member or support our work, please visit www.horseswork.com.

 

About Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center

Launched in January 2017, and the first in the nation, the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center is the centerpiece of the efforts that grew out of the Chamber’s initial report on the state’s workforce challenges to meet the needs of business. The Center’s programs include Kentucky’s Talent Pipeline, Recovery Response Program for Business, and Bus to Business.

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, has an educational horsemanship streaming video channel, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified equine professional or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse 

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Julie Broadway: Keynoter for CHA Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday evening – American Horse Council – Equine Legislative Issues

Julie Broadway has over 30 years of leadership experience in both for-profit and non-profit sectors. She was named President and CEO of the American Horse Council & American Horse Council Foundation in 2016 and has served on a variety of equine industry committees and boards. She holds a BS from University of NC, MBA from Weems Graduate School, Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from Duke University  and is a Certified Association Executive® with the American Society of Association Executives. Julie is a life-long horse enthusiast ranging from recreational rider, breeder, and show competitor. A native of NC, she and her husband reside in the DC area along with their Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Morgan horses. Two quick trivia items – One of Julie’s dogs “Colby” has been to Westminster twice! And in 2017, Julie won a reserve World Championship on her Morgan horse.

Tara Reimer: Turnbacks & Rollbacks

Tara Reimer owns and operates Cloud 9 Ranch in Steinbach, MB Canada where they offer western and English riding lessons, vaulting lessons, equine assisted psychotherapy, training and boarding. A student of the horse, Tara has created a solid program that works with toddlers to mature adults, riders with disabilities and therapy clients in a safe space with the focus on the horse. Whether developing trustworthy lesson horses or high performance show horses, Tara has learned enough to do that, but says there is so much more to learn! In Tara’s lessons you learn about much more than just the manuever itself, join her to understand your horse to a deeper level. Tara is a regional director for CHA and a CHA English/Western Instructor Program Certifier for us.

Julie Fischer: Grant Writing & Fundraising

Dr Julie Cooney Fischer holds a BS in Accounting with minor in Management, a MBA with Concentration in Accounting, and Doctorate of Management with focus on Organizational Leadership.  Her background includes experience in equine fields, educational fields, Grant mgt, Accounting (profit and non-profit), Finance and analysis, government finance, management, organizational leadership, disaster accounting and disaster grant management, and disaster leadership/management.

Julie Goodnight: Simple & Flying Lead Changes

Julie Goodnight is a Master Clinician and the International Spokesperson for CHA and is known for her weekly RFD-TV show, Horse Master, and her no-nonsense training for riders of all disciplines. Her methods are grounded in natural horsemanship, classical riding, and understanding horse behavior. She teaches at clinics and expos everywhere and offers online education, how-to DVDs, and her own tack and training tools at JulieGoodnight.com.

Jochen Schleese: The 8 Myths of Saddle Fit

This session will explain problems in saddle construction today due to outside market changes and the 8 different types of saddle fit prevalent in the market today with pros and cons for each one.

Jochen Schleese received his initial training in saddle making in Germany. In 1984 he was certified as the youngest master saddler ever in Europe, and was asked to come to North America from Germany in 1986 to be the Official Saddler for the World Dressage Championships held in Toronto. In 1990 together with the Canadian government, Schleese developed the first ever authorized school for saddle makers and saddle fitters. Jochen confers regularly with industry professionals and is a guest speaker at veterinary associations, equine veterinary schools, riding instructor conferences, and teaches equine ergonomics on five continents through Saddlefit 4 Life, founded by him in 2006 as a global network of equine professionals dedicated to the comfort and protection of the horse. Saddle Fit for Life is also a CHA LifeTime Business Member.

Courtney Smith: How to Teach the Boring Stuff In A FUN Way!

Courtney Smith, a resident of Tennessee, holds a Masters of Science degree with a concentration in Equine Education and Coaching from Middle Tennessee State University. Courtney is the owner of Need A Hand Horse Training where she has spent her time being actively involved in the equine industry through training horses, competing, teaching clinics, and coaching youth and adults from local to national levels. She is the Head Coach of Team Need A Hand, a member of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association and is involved in multiple organizations holding positions such as the IEA Western Region 4 president, the TN State 4H Horse Show Committee, and as a Board Member for the TN Stock Horse Association. Courtney is a strong advocate for youth involvement in the equine industry which is seen in her passion for teaching and helping others.

“Putting the FUN in FUNdamentals”

“Why aren’t we riding today?” A frequent question asked by many new students at their first lesson, on a rainy day or camp. As riding instructors, we know the importance of teaching our students all aspects of horsemanship from learning the parts of the horse to the basics of nutrition. The reality is most students do not want to learn the “boring” stuff. This is where it can become a challenge to educate our students while keeping them engaged. We want to transition from “boring” to interesting and relevant. This workshop will share strategies to help put the FUN in the FUNdamentals. We will give instructors an overview of available, and often free, resources to use when teaching non-riding activities that make learning interactive and applicable. I hope it will give you inventive ideas and ways to inspire and liven up your teaching routines.

horses grazing hay bank

Starting a Hay Bank

By Katie Navarra

Feed and hay bills did not stop even though income evaporated amid the coronavirus pandemic. Organizations across the country offer access to hay banks and A Home For Every Horse helps connect horse owners with those resources.

“The main goal of hay banks is to help people in need keep their horses instead of rehome them,” said Melissa Kitchen, the vice president of marketing services at Active Interest Media (AIM) Equine Network and one of the CHA Educational Partners.  “When times are tough, and people have to worry about how to feed their family, hay banks provide assistance so people don’t have to worry as much.”

A Home for Every Horse, an AIM initiative, works to connect people who contact them with hay banks. Made up of a community of horse rescues, the group is often approached by horse owners looking for resources to help them keep their horses.

Hay banks are one way equine professionals and individuals alike can pitch in when times are tough. Before taking action, investigate to determine if one exists locally. State horse councils, local rescues and extension agencies may have this information. If none are available, the first step is connecting with local resources for hay supply, storage and delivery options.

Fleet of Angels founder Elaine Nash adds that having enough hay available is key.

“If you’re going to advertise a hay bank, have more than 50 or 100 bales,” she said. “Advertise it as emergency horse hay, otherwise people with sheep, goats, cattle and llamas will show up.”

Nash offered additional considerations for establishing hay banks:

  • Source good quality rather than the most expensive hay.
  • Store hay, ideally under a roof, or stack on pallets and covering well.
  • Secure the supply to avoid theft.
  • Have enough space for deliveries and pick-ups.
  • Know the expenses. An out of state supplier may offer a semi-load of hay but shipping often costs are expensive.
  • Confirm the quality and type of hay. “Cow” hay, especially with spots of mold, is unsuitable for horses.

 

Most people are honest, however, Nash recommends a robust screening process to ensure someone is not receiving hay and then reselling it. Once the application is received, Nash follows several steps including:

  • Confirming the address is one where horses can be kept.
  • Looking at the person’s FaceBook page (if available) to see if horses are pictured.
  • Verifying the need with the applicant.

Once you’ve established a hay bank, Kitchen encourages organizers to find key places and people who can help spread the word.

Certified Horsemanship Association Riding Instructor and Equine Facility Manager Certifications Starting Up Again in August

(May 2020) – Anyone who wants to further their career by earning a Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) Certification is encouraged to check out the CHA Certification Schedule online at http://cha.horse/find-cha-certification-clinics-by-date/   CHA Certifications are intensive multi-day events in which attendees learn and demonstrate their skills so they can be certified at one of CHA’s various certification types and levels. They are currently available for the English/Western Instructor (EWI), Equine Facility Manager (EFM), and Instructors of Riders with Disabilities (IRD) this August 2020 on into 2021. Join more than 30,000 experts who have been certified by the largest equine professional certifying organization in North America!

Certification offers many benefits to the equine professional, including showing the industry and potential customers that you have the skills and knowledge to teach riders or to run an equine facility according to strict industry standards set by an independent third party. In addition, certification demonstrates professionalism, dedication, and a commitment to horsemanship instruction and/or equine facility management. Certified individuals have demonstrated their focus on the safety and well-being of all participants in equestrian pursuits, humans and horses alike.

A person’s willingness to dedicate their time and money to the CHA certification process indicates that they are a serious professional. CHA certified equine professionals must demonstrate a high level of professional competence and adhere to continuing education requirements set forth by CHA to maintain their certification. In addition, many insurance companies recognize certification and will give discounts.

At this time, CHA English/Western Instructor Certifications are available in the following locations: Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

Those wishing to receive CHA Equine Facility Manager Certification can attend certifications in California, Colorado, and Kentucky.

Normally, CHA conducts over 80 certifications around the US and Canada. They are posted on the CHA website for the fall of 2020 into the spring of 2021 at this time.

Certification includes workshops and hands-on demonstrations in five areas: safety, horsemanship knowledge and ability, teaching techniques, group control, and professionalism and ethics. Two CHA Certifiers evaluate each attendee, who must also pass written tests and competently demonstrate their skills during the event to receive their certification. The cost of the certification also includes the attendee’s membership in CHA, fees for the event, and all educational materials. Each host site will specify which meals are included and if a lodging option is available with the final price.

For more information on attending a CHA Certification and what to expect, please visit http://cha.horse/cha-certifications/

For anyone wishing to host a CHA Certification, the organization is taking applications to host in the spring of 2020 and beyond. Host sites must become a CHA Program Member that is pre-approved by CHA. If your facility would like to become a new host site for CHA, please visit http://cha.horse/how-to-host-a-cha-clinic/

For questions, or if you have already been approved as a host site, please contact CHA at office@CHA.horse to receive your next steps.

To keep up-to-date on all news from CHA, please sign up for the CHA monthly email newsletter at www.CHA.horse.

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies equine professionals, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces educational horsemanship DVDs and Safety shorts, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of equine professionals in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified horseback riding instructor or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHA.horse

 

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Certified Horsemanship Association Launches a Brand New Interactive Website

(May 2020) Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) has launched a brand new interactive website at http://cha.horse/.

“We are so excited about this new website that has great resources for all equestrians including educational horsemanship video shorts, webinars, full length streamable videos on a variety of equine topics, articles under our fun categories such as:  Pet Peeves Around the Barn and the Solutions to Solve Them, On the Rail, Tricks of the Trade, Incidentally Speaking and so much more,” says Christy Landwehr, CHA Chief Executive Officer.

CHA members have their own member login section where they can find deep discounts in the online store on CHA manuals, posters for the barn, DVDs, CHA wearables, CHA gifts for riders and much more!

If you are wanting to find an equine professional near you, be it an instructor or equine facility manager, this new site can help you do that. You can also find a barn, camp, lesson program, trail ride operation, college/university and more by just typing in your city and state or province. Please visit http://cha.horse/ today and enjoy!

 CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies equine professionals, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces educational horsemanship streamable videos and DVDs, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of equine professionals in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, or to find a certified horseback riding instructor, equine facility manager or an accredited equine facility near you, please visit http://cha.horse/ or call 859-259-3399.

CHA Certified Instructors Share What Their CHA Certification Has Done for Them

By Sarah Evers Conrad and CHA Members Listed Below

CHA Certified Instructors are passionate about their work, their students, and about CHA. We asked several CHA Certified Instructors to share how their CHA Certification has changed their career, and we received some great responses. If you are a CHA Certified Instructor and would like to share “What Your CHA Certification Has Done for You,” please add your story in the comments below.

Dale Rudin, Un-Natural Horsemanship
When I attended my first CHA conference, I knew I had found my tribe. It was like coming home to a place where everyone already knew me, because they thought the same way I did about teaching and horses. That is especially precious to me because I often follow the beat of a vastly different drum than the majority of trainers and instructors I encounter. Coming across someone like-minded is rare enough, but finding an entire organization. CHA was like hitting the jackpot! I felt welcomed and supported by this group of people who ceaselessly strive to do their best for people who want to have a safe and fulfilling equestrian experience and the horses who make that happen. CHA inspires me to be a better instructor and horse person. It is an honor and a gift to be a member.

Amanda Love, West Texas A&M University
As a riding instructor at the college level, my CHA certification has given me one more tremendous outlet for education to share with my students. Our students come from many different riding backgrounds and have professional equine goals that span the spectrum of the horse industry, but CHA is a language that speaks to all horse people. The videos, publications, manuals, and continuing education encourages equine students to be lifelong learners in the horse industry while maintaining the core values of safe, effective and fun experiences with horses.

Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg, CKR Training Stable
When I got my CHA certification, I thought that I would put in my 40 hours at the clinic and that would be the end of it. I’d have a piece of paper that said I was okie-dokie and I’d be on my way. Yet, as fantastic as the clinic itself was, I never realized that the best was yet to come.

Once I had my certification, I met lots of other certified instructors. They became my friends, mentors, and associates. I have become acquainted with wonderful instructors from all over the world. We have exchanged information and ideas. We have helped each other with training and teaching issues. We have passed along helpful hints and sad stories. Their input has been extremely valuable to me, my staff, clients, and horses.

I never expected to become part of something that is not only helpful to me as an instructor and equine business owner, but as a person. I have learned that I am respected by my peers and that my opinion matters to people. That has increased my self-esteem immeasurably. I have new confidence in myself and my abilities that extends far beyond the barn, arena, and show pen.

Being CHA certified has also opened doors I never even thought about. It has given me opportunities to be a speaker at local and international events. It has given me a chance to write about horses and their people and have those articles published. CHA has given me the chance to meet and learn from some amazingly talented people whom I never would have met without the CHA connection. Those connections have improved my skills as a barn manager, horse owner, trainer, and instructor. I am so much better now than I was before I became certified. I know that growth wouldn’t have happened without CHA. Thank you CHA for being the organization that you are and for letting me join the club.

Tara Gamble, Tara Gamble Horsemanship, CHA Past President
My CHA certification has allowed me to pursue my passion and turn it into a career. From this I am a professional with a successful program and facility. The resources and opportunities CHA has available for instructors is limitless.

Western Dressage

Western Dressage: What Is It, and Could This Benefit Your Program?

By Bradie Chapman

What is Western Dressage?

US Equestrian defines Western Dressage as, “The riding and developing of the western rider and horse to improve themselves as individuals and partners through the use and discipline of dressage.” In 2010, the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) was formed and approved by US Equestrian in 2013 as a national affiliate. Under the guidance of US Equestrian, WDAA developed the rules and tests and have maintained the western traditions that have been used over the years and combined this with classical dressage.

Western Dressage provides riders with a plan of progression. The tests are designed to start you at the very beginning in a walk-jog test and then build off of one another until you reach the highest level of test (which is currently Level Four) where you perform pirouettes, flying changes on a serpentine, and 8 meter jog circles. Even if you or your riders don’t want to enter a show arena, it gives you a training guide and things to work on with your equine partner.

Like any discipline, Western Dressage is goal oriented. It provides riders with a plan; if they can achieve a particular movement, then they can move on to the next movement in their training. This can be helpful for riders that aren’t able to be in consistent lessons and also for riders who are in lessons because they know what they need to accomplish to move up the levels.

Overall, Western Dressage can:

  • Help the rider improve the cadence, balance, and carriage of the horse
  • Help the rider utilize the fundamentals of dressage to create suppleness, flexibility, and increase the horse’s ability to work from his haunches
  • Promote the love of the horse and the development of a rewarding partnership between horse and rider
  • Make competitions available to any breed of horse
  • Provide opportunities for students and horses from a variety of disciplines
  • Provide realistic tests that have been designed to be appropriate for each level

Our History and Experience with the Discipline

In 2013 in our program at Ohio University Southern, we introduced Western Dressage to our students. In the same year, two faculty members attended the WDAA Train the Trainers Program to better understand the discipline, rules, and judging standards set forth by the association. In 2014, 10 members from a variety of riding and show experiences began competing at shows outside of our facility. Students currently compete successfully in non-collegiate dressage shows in Ohio and Kentucky. Our equestrian team was also the first collegiate program to compete in the Western Dressage World Championship Show.

We teach our Western courses using the Western Dressage exercises and principles. Our students have a variety of backgrounds entering our program, but through Western Dressage, we can help them to see that the things we work on in class can be applied to what they are doing in their chosen discipline. As instructors we have seen the following:

  • Riders are developing a better understanding of effective communication with their horse.
  • Position and attitude are becoming a focus in their riding.
  • The various tests and movements are providing students with obtainable goals for their riding level, helping them utilize their aids effectively, and strengthening their partnerships with their horses.
  • There is a unity between the horse and rider, with both consistently being relaxed and happy in their work.
  • Our horses are happy in the work because we are allowing them to move in a natural way and not trying to make them fit into a mold.

Since the addition of Western Dressage, we have seen that it has strengthened our riding program by having goals set up by the WDAA that give the students a clear-cut path in their training for their level. We also find that our inexperienced students have admitted that they would not have attempted classical dressage. However, with the option of Western Dressage, these riders are progressing rapidly and competing with much success.

Using Western Dressage in Your Program

Western dressage can be for the everyday rider. You can use the tests to add variety to your current riding plan. In riding different Western Dressage movements, you can work on your horse’s suppleness, attentiveness, and overall communication with your horse. You can progress through the levels of Western Dressage on your own time once you feel that your horse is ready to move on.

In a lesson program, there are many different ways to incorporate the Western Dressage principles. Riders could work on the test in their lessons but then also have the test to take home and study to help prepare for the next lesson. This could help teach them responsibility and preparation in relation to riding and as a life skill. We have riders design exercises that they can teach to the class. These are designed to help them with an issue they are working on with their assigned horse. This activity allows the rider to help problem solve an issue they have been experiencing in their riding and provides them with the opportunity to lead the class.

You may decide, like we did, that this is a good fit for your horses in the show arena. Riders may decide to compete to test their skills at their appropriate level. After the test, a rider will get written comments and scores that can be used to help set goals for the future. Shows may be set up at your home facility on a smaller scale, which will still provide your riders the opportunity to try the sport. If you want to go to bigger shows, you can find WDAA shows at https://westerndressageassociation.org/all-wdaa-recognized-shows. Our students do all of their own fundraising to be able to compete in competitions, whether locally or to the World Show.

Another option we started at our facility is to offer a Western Dressage invitational. Because this sport is new, we offer a show and invite in other collegiate teams, 4-H clubs, and area equine career center programs to encourage more riders to give it a try. Each team has four members and they have a rider compete in the test determined ahead of time (for example: Intro 1 & 3 and Basic 1 & 3). Riders compete individually in their class and after all of the rides are complete; we average the three top scores to determine the team placings. The host team provides the horses and the tack and the others show up the day of to show. We set a limit to the number of teams that can participate. Since our facility hosted the first show of its kind, we have continued to host and have had other facilities follow our lead and host as well.

Western dressage is about the journey you take with your equine partner. There isn’t a set target or given route for all riders to follow to reach their goals, which is what makes riding so exciting and unique. The addition of Western Dressage to the equine industry provides another option for riders.

Bradie Chapman is a CHA Master Instructor, Site Visitor, and Clinic Staff, along with an Associate Lecturer for the Ohio University Southern Equine Studies Program (www.ousequinedegree.com). The OUS facility is an CHA accredited college program that holds CHA Instructor and Equine Facility Manager Certification Clinics for students and the community. For more about Bradie Chapman, visit https://cha.horse/western-dressage-what-is-it-and-could-this-benefit-your-program/.

Keeping Horse Legs Safe

Whether a horse is being used for jumping, eventing, dressage, reining, cattle work, trail riding, riding lessons, camp programs, or just as a pleasure horse, one thing is certain – they work hard, and so do their legs. The legs of a horse are certainly amazing. They take on extreme amounts of stress, bear a lot of weight, can move quickly so that the horse can change directions on a dime or jump over an obstacle, and they are one of the most important parts of the horse. Protecting a horse’s legs is imperative in certain situations, especially if the horse is young and still growing.

Horses that are faced with poor footing, uneven ground, a competition environment, transportation, or have a tendency to stock up (or have their legs swell) while in a stall, can benefit from leg wraps, boots, or bandages. It is important to know when and how to use each kind so that the horse’s legs are protected properly. Using leg wraps and boots incorrectly can cause problems for the horse and could accidentally put more strain on the horse’s legs and cause damage, such as inflammation of the flexor tendon and the flexor tendon sheath, which is sometimes known as the “bandage bow.”

Skid Boots: Skid boots are for use on the hind legs during work, especially if a horse has a tendency to catch one leg with another leg or hoof. They are popular in western events, such as cutting, reining, and cattle work. Skid boots protect the lower legs, fetlock joint, and pasterns.

Bell Boots: Bell boots fit around and underneath the fetlock and Velcro in place. Some can even be pulled on, and these may be used if the ones with Velcro cause chafing or do not fit the horse well. Proper fit means that the rider can put two fingers between the bell boot and the pastern at the top opening, and they should cover the heel bulbs. Bell boots are used when a horse has a tendency of overstepping/overreaching, which could then cause him to catch the back of his front hoof or coronet and cut or bruise himself. In addition, the horse could pull off a shoe, along with part of the hoof. Horses that have studs on their shoes also benefit from the use of bell boots so that the studs do not injure the horse if he catches himself. Bell boots can also be used during turnout or shipping or when being ridden in sloppy footing.

Tendon Boots: These boots have elastic straps across the front and hook closures while padding protects the tendons and ligaments on the sides and backs of the leg from a strike from the back hooves. They are popular among jumpers since the open front helps the horse feel a pole if he strikes it with his foreleg. This allows jumpers to become more careful over jumps. In addition, the open design allows additional air flow. They are only used on the front legs.

Fetlock Boots: These boots are used to protect the fetlocks on the hind legs and may be used with tendon boots. They are also open in the front.

Sports Medicine Boots: These boots can be used during exercise to protect the muscles and tendons, as well as the pastern and fetlock. Sports medicine boots are most commonly used to protect the horse from muscle and tendon strains and sprains, suspensory injuries, and splints. Many riders tend to only put boots on the front legs. However, the hind legs can also be susceptible to injury. In addition, by booting all four legs, support is even on each leg, and it may help the horse bear weight more evenly.

Splint Boots or Brushing Boots: Splint boots or brushing boots help prevent injury during exercise, especially if one hoof strikes an opposite leg, and are easier to put on than wraps. They come in handy with horses that are less coordinated or in training for faster events. They can also be used in turnout, especially if a horse is extra exuberant when playing. They sit right on top of the fetlock joint. Fit and proper placement is important to prevent injury.

To learn how to put on bell boots, sports medicine boots, and splint boots, check out CHA’s Safety Short Video titled “Fitting Horse Boots” on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCytFGoBN8g&list=PL148CE9ACCB41CC90&index=3

Polo Wraps: Polo wraps are stretchy, available in various colors and lengths, and help protect the horse’s legs from scrapes, bruises, and irritation from dirt, sand, and other types of arena footing. However, polos, also called track wraps, should not be used during trail riding since burrs and small sticks and debris can become attached to them and then cause the horse irritation as they dig into his skin. They are not recommended for use when putting the horse in a stall for a while or in turnout since they can easily become unraveled and torn if the horse steps on them. Many choose polo wraps over boots since they conform to the leg, and they look nicer than boots. However, if they become wet, they become really heavy for the horse. This can place additional strain on tendons and ligaments. Applying polo wraps incorrectly can also damage the horse’s leg. Polo wraps should be washed often since a dirty polo wrap can also damage a horse’s legs. For proper placement, check out CHA’s video called “How to Put Polo Wraps and Standing Wraps on Horses.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suH__FlFdM8&list=PL148CE9ACCB41CC90&index=21

Standing Wraps: Standing wraps, also called stable bandages, consist of padding that is wrapped around the horse’s legs using polo wraps. They help protect the horse’s legs, tendons, and ligaments, while the horse is in a stall. Standing wraps can be beneficial if a horse has a tendency to be restless in the stall, or if the horse’s legs tends to stock up (swell) after exercise or while in a stall. They can also be used in shipping, although shipping boots provide better protection. In addition, they can be used for certain injuries, but this should be at the discretion of the veterinarian. Using a wrap can help keep cuts, wounds, and other injuries clean while they heal. In addition, standing wraps are beneficial when poultices or liniments need to be used, again at the discretion of a veterinarian. A veterinarian should advise on the use of standing wraps with any product, since some products can produce excessive heat, thus causing the horse discomfort or pain if used under a wrap. Standing wraps stretch from the bottom of the knee or hock to below the fetlock and are always used with padding.

Shipping Bandages, Boots, or Wraps: Shipping boots, bandages, and wraps are used when trailering and flying to prevent injuries to the legs. Shipping boots and wraps go from the knee or hock down to the hoof. Shipping boots can provide more protection than shipping wraps since they cover the hock and some even have hoof guards. They protect the cannon bones, tendons, fetlocks, pasterns, coronets, and heels. As with other boots, bandages, and wraps, make sure to clean the horse’s legs and the boot and wrap so that the horse does not become irritated from trapped dirt, shavings, or other obstructions. Poorly applied shipping bandages and wraps have the possibility of coming loose and falling off. In addition, they could strain the horse’s legs. Wraps are best for long trips, while boots are great for short trips or for those who do not know how to properly put on a shipping wrap.

It is possible to go on and on about wraps, boots, and bandages. There is a plethora of options on the market, and each company may have a unique take on the design. In addition, the names of boots may vary from discipline to discipline and also differ by country.

The most important thing about using wraps, boots, and bandages is to apply them properly and to use them in the right situations. Proper fit is important as well. It may take trial and error to find the right options for a particular horse, but the benefits are worth the effort. After all, no rider wants to hear that their horse has turned up lame.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

Rider Safety Apparel from Head to Toe

By Sarah Evers Conrad

There is no doubt that equestrians are a stylish group. Regardless of whether a person is a Western rider or English, a vaulter or a combined driver, a recreational rider or an active competitor, the apparel for the rider has been designed to be fashionable and suited to the type of riding. However, looking stylish isn’t the only reason for the attire chosen by riders. Equestrian apparel should always be designed with safety in mind. It is important to know what apparel is worn for safety and why and how to choose the appropriate attire.

Many established riders know what they want and need to wear and may choose to order online at various retailers. However, new riders should visit a local tack shop to get the proper attire so that professionals in the tack shop can assist with selection and teach about proper fit.

Let’s discuss the rider’s apparel from head to toe. However, it is important to keep in mind that riders entered into a competition will need to check with that show’s organizing association to determine what clothing is required in the classes they enter.

Helmets: Obviously the helmet is the most important thing a rider needs. It is a fact that saves lives. The Riders4Helmets campaign was designed to educate riders about helmet safety. In 2012, Riders4Helmets won the Certified Horsemanship Association’s Partner in Safety Award. Their website, Riders4Helmets.com, states that there are approximately 100 deaths per year related with equestrian activities with 10-20 times the number of head injuries for every fatality.

To find the safest type of helmet, look for helmets with an ASTM certification in the United States. If a rider is shopping, he or she will know which helmets have an ASTM certification by looking for a tag inside the helmet. Riders in other countries should check to make sure their helmet is certified by the national safety standards in their country.

In addition to looking for a certified helmet, riders should only purchase a new helmet and never borrow or buy a used helmet, since it could have unseen damage. And helmets designed for bike riding or other sports will definitely not provide enough protection for horseback riding.

Proper helmet fit is of utmost importance. To learn more about how to fit a helmet, check out CHA’s video on YouTube.

And for those that need a new helmet, every year on International Helmet Awareness Day, helmet manufacturers offer unique discounts on helmets. This year’s International Helmet Awareness Day is on July 12. Check Riders4Helmets.com for more information on helmets.

One thing to keep in mind is that other head gear while riding or competing, such as a cowboy hat or derby, these types of hats do not offer enough protection in case of a fall. The Certified Horsemanship Association recommends that all riders where helmet while mounted.

Body Protectors: Riders can now protect their torso during a fall with a safety vest or body protector. These lightweight vests can prevent damage to the back and spine, ribs, and internal organs due to the heavy padding. Some vests designed for eventers have a compressed air system that triggers upon impact from a fall. These types of body protectors offer extra protection due to this revolutionary technology. However, eventers aren’t the only type of rider that can wear them. Safety vests are definitely a good idea for jockeys, exercise riders, rodeo riders, jumpers, hunters, polo riders, distance riders, and anyone traveling at high speed. However, pleasure and trail riders may wish for the extra protection as well. There are sizes for children and adults. The vest should be designed for horseback riding, instead of other activities, such as ATV riding. Extra safety certifications are a plus, as well.

Shirts: Riders wear various types of shirts from t-shirts to long-sleeve buttoned shirts. Regardless of the type of shirt, it should fit well and should not be able to catch on the saddle at any time while mounting or dismounting. Long sleeves is a great idea for extra protection from the sun and from brush while trail riding. Make sure to tuck in your shirt and do not wear tank tops.

Jackets: Rain gear may be needed in wet weather. Rain coats should be well-fitted and should not flap in the wind as this may scare a horse. If a slicker is needed, it is always good to prepare the horse to the site of a slicker or other such “scary” clothing. In addition, a jacket may be needed during colder weather.

Jodhpurs, Breeches, and Jeans: Properly fitting pants, whether they are pants designed for riding like jodhpurs and breeches, or whether it is a pair of jeans, can prevent chafing, friction burns, and pinching by the saddle. Jeans can be looser-fitting than breeches and jodhpurs for extra movement. They also should be relatively simple without a lot of extra decoration or zippers that could scratch the saddle, and preferable without an inseam for the most comfort. If a rider wants extra protection for their legs or their lower leg from saddle pinching or from brush on the trail, chaps that fit down the entire leg, and half chaps, which fit on the lower half of the leg, exist. This apparel is usually made out of tough, thick leather or suede, and it acts as a great barrier between the leg and the saddle.

Belts can be worn, however nothing should be attached to them as this could cause the rider to get hung up if something caught on the saddle. Care should be taken when dismounting to prevent a belt from catching on the saddle and causing an accident.

Cell Phones: It is always a good idea to bring a cell phone, which can also be secured in a vest pocket or by an arm band on the left arm if the rider mounts from the horse’s left side. In addition, smartphones with the app named Ride Alert can help those that end up in trouble on a ride. There is a panic button that will cause the phone to send an alert message to a designated friend or family member with the rider’s exact worldwide map location, their phone number and a message that the rider is in trouble. In addition, the app can be set on a different mode that tracks movement, and if movement ceases due to an accident, the information above will be sent to a designated contact unless the rider is okay and can cancel the alert.

Gloves: Gloves can be used for protecting hands from leather or rope burns and blisters and can also improve grip. Plus, gloves are a necessity in cold weather when frostbite might be a concern and in wet weather when a rider has slippery reins and tack. Gloves are also helpful if a horse is a strong puller or has a nasty habit of jerking his head and jerking the reins out of the rider’s hands. When trail riding, gloves can also protect hands from branches and debris if a log or other obstruction must be removed from across a trail or when opening gates.

Boots: And finally we come down to feet. Boots are also essential for riding, and they should be sturdy enough to support the ankle and to protect the toes and top of the foot in case a horse accidentally steps on your foot. Trust me…I have had this happen when I had less sturdy footwear on, and it really hurts and is totally avoidable. Boots should have a flat heel of at least one inch. Obviously high heels don’t apply. Boots protect riders from mud, water, rocks, and course brush while being on the trail or around the farm. So no tennis shoes, hiking boots, snow boots, sandals or flip flops around horses please.

With the right apparel, riders should be safer from the effects of a fall or accident. While no type of apparel is fool-proof from keeping a rider from total injury, opting for safer attire can certainly decrease the risk of something going wrong on a ride.

Extra Helmet Information

Obviously the helmet is the most important thing a rider needs. It is a fact that saves lives. The Riders4Helmets campaign was designed to educate riders about helmet safety. In 2012, Riders4Helmets won the Certified Horsemanship Association’s Partner in Safety Award. Their website, Riders4Helmets.com, states that there are approximately 100 deaths per year related with equestrian activities with 10-20 times the number of head injuries for every fatality.

To find the safest type of helmet, look for helmets with an ASTM certification in the United States. If a rider is shopping, he or she will know which helmets have an ASTM certification by looking for a tag inside the helmet. Riders in other countries should check to make sure their helmet is certified by the national safety standards in their country.

In the United States, helmets with an ASTM certification have been designed and tested for the utmost safety. Riders4Helmets.com helps riders find ASTM certified helmets: “If you reside in the USA and would like to see a current list of helmets certified by the Safety Equipment Institute to ASTM standard F1163, please go to www.seinet.org and click on ‘Certified Products,’ then click on ‘Equestrian Helmets.'” In addition, helmets with an approved certification by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) for international competition should be a safe helmet.

If a rider is shopping, he or she will know which helmets have an ASTM certification by looking for a tag inside the helmet. Riders in other countries should check to make sure their helmet is certified by the national safety standards in their country.

In addition to looking for a certified helmet, riders should only purchase a new helmet. Used helmets for sale should be avoided since they could have damage inside that is not detectable by the purchaser. In addition, borrowing a helmet is discouraged since a borrowed helmet hasn’t been fitted to that rider. And helmets designed for bike riding or other sports will definitely not provide enough protection for horseback riding.

Proper helmet fit is of utmost importance. Riders can get professional helmet fitting at a tack shop or helmet distributor. The helmet’s visor should be about 1-1 1/2 inches from the rider’s eyebrows and should be parallel with the ground. It should be snug on the head without being too tight and not move when a rider shakes their head side to side or up and down or if the rider can shift the helmet with their hands. Riders should be able to breathe easily and straps should not add to much pressure on the head. All straps must be fastened securely so that a helmet does not come off during a fall. If the helmet comes off before the head hits the ground, then a concussion can result.

Proper care is important for helmets. See the manufacturer’s instructions for that helmet model. Any helmet that has been in an accident or fallen or been dropped should be replaced since it could be compromised. In addition, the material inside the helmet can break down with time, so it should be replaced every five years. Every year on International Helmet Awareness Day, helmet manufacturers work with Riders4Helmets to offer unique discounts on helmets only seen on that day. This year’s International Helmet Awareness Day is on July 12. Check Riders4Helmets.com/ihad for more information.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at HYPERLINK “http://www.equestrianjournalist.com” www.equestrianjournalist.com.

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Reasons to Become Certified Through CHA

Any instructor that wants to become a CHA Certified Instructor must be a member. Upon certification, additional benefits open up to the CHA member.

Why CHA Certification vs. Another

CHA is well respected. CHA has rigorous standards for instructor certification, which involves a certification clinic, etc.

Clients will know you knowledgeable in five areas you are tested on. These are: safety, horsemanship knowledge and ability, teaching techniques, group control, and responsibility and professionalism.

The organization will make sure you are certified at the correct level.

Committed professional who has paid money to keep certification active.

Hands on clinics and workshops available.

If you are an Individual Member that has also become Certified, then this can put any potential client’s concerns at ease since an organization has verified your skill level and knowledge of how to teach and your attentiveness to safety. CHA membership AND certification gives you an extra level of credibility as an equine professional.

If you are an Individual Member that has also become Certified, it can help you convince a potential client that is on the fence about which instructor to choose that you are the right one. In one of our earliest blog posts, we discussed why riders should find a certified riding instructor. If you are a certified riding instructor through CHA, you fit all of those reasons. If you have a potential student that is wondering why they should go with you, just break out this list of reasons, and going with you becomes a no-brainer. http://cha-ahse.org/store/blog/why_a_certified_instructor.html

Preparing the Lesson Horse for Inexperienced or Nervous Riders

By Leigh Cooper

A reliable school horse is essential to any lesson program. Riding instructors tasked with teaching beginners need horses that are well-rounded enough to safely accommodate riders of a wide range of abilities. Horses that are relaxed around novice riders are hard to come by, but they are integral to a rider’s early education as they allow for a safe learning environment. Preparation is key in setting a lesson horse up for success.

All riders work to be as quiet as possible with the aids. More experienced riders who have achieved the ability to use quiet aids can limit the horse’s exposure to a rider that is outside their realm of expertise. Therefore, if a horse that is used to being ridden by a quiet rider is to be used as a lesson horse, it’s important to work with him to prepare him for a less experienced or nervous rider. We will describe exercises that can help do this, but we will split our riders into two categories: the inexperienced rider and the nervous rider.

The Inexperienced Rider

The approach in teaching a horse to be patient with an inexperienced rider is for an experienced rider to imitate these types of riders for a session, test out how the horse reacts, and address any feedback from the horse that reveals whether or not he is ready for these types of riders. This exercise can be utilized with horses that are entering a lesson program or as a test for privately owned horses to be assessed by a trainer to see if they are ready for another rider’s current ability. The goal is not to desensitize the horse to our cues, but instead to help the horse understand he or she does not have to fear or overreact to variations in cues from different riders.

For safety, use a round pen or an enclosed space without obstacles. And always see how the horse reacts at the walk first before moving up in gait. Start by creating what the horse may encounter with an inexperienced rider. These riders often have unrefined cues, bounce at the trot, or occasionally lose a stirrup. Steering may still be a work in progress, the reins may flap, and cues may be abrupt and unforgiving. During this exercise, keep in mind that bigger is better.

Typically, a bigger cue means more from the horse, and that’s fine. What we don’t want is for the horse to think big cues are scary. Look for tension in the horse—quick, jerky movements, shying, or a high head are signs the horse is uncomfortable and nervous about what the rider is doing on his back. Use this as a starting point, and build the horse’s confidence from there. For example, if the horse is afraid of the rider with flapping arms, keep waving your arms and then scratch the horse’s neck in rhythm, having him associate the waving with a reward.

If the horse reads big or loud cues as “go fast,” give those cues and then immediately quiet your body, letting the horse come back down to the stop naturally without using the reins. Reward the horse by letting him stand and rest. Here the recovery is the test. How long did it take the horse to come back down to the stop? Did the loud rider make the horse run out of control with no hope of slowing down? If the horse does not want to slow down off a relaxed seat in the saddle, reinforce this aid by tilting his head into a gradually smaller circle to help him figure it out. Keep in mind that the reins should be the last resort to stopping the horse during this exercise.

For inexperienced riders, rein management can be difficult, especially in an emergency, so the lesson horse needs to be able to regulate his speed on his own and slow down if the rider gets in a bind. Pretty soon, the horse will realize that the rider may be doing all sorts of interesting movements on his back, but his job is to not overreact.

The Nervous Rider

To acclimate a horse to nervous riders, consider how the nervous rider acts and how these messages are perceived by the horse. A horse that is mostly used to experienced riders may be used to an active seat, one that allows for freedom of movement. However, nervous riders are often tense with hunched shoulders, tight legs, and have an unforgiving grip on the reins. These conflicting messages create a considerable amount of pressure on the horse.

Therefore, with this exercise, start small by riding with a tense body. A tense body doesn’t move with the horse, but it does create an energy that the horse often reads as “go forward.” Reassure the horse that when stiffness from the rider is felt, they need to check in and slow down.

Begin by practicing this at the walk. If the horse speeds up, tip their nose into a circle and gradually spiral them in until they stop. When the horse relaxes, reward him with a scratch on the neck. Here the horse’s default should be to slow down and think instead of escalating the situation, because a faster gait from the horse may cause further tension from an already nervous rider. Once the horse has proven that he is able to handle this, continue to layer on the nervous rider mannerisms.

Keep lessons short. We don’t want to deaden the horse to our cues, but it’s important to know how he would react if faced with these types of riders. Also keep in mind, some horses simply do not feel comfortable with the amount of pressure a nervous rider may put on them, no matter how much prep work we give them. In such cases, it’s good to know a horse’s boundaries to avoid putting a rider in danger.

The more you expose the horse to by imitating inexperienced or nervous riders, the safer you are making the horse for any future riders. In the end, you will set the horse up for success as a valued partner in your lesson program and throughout his life.

Wears Valley - How to find the best horseback riding camp near me

How to Find the Best Horse Camp

By Sarah Evers Conrad

Is everybody as ready for warm weather as I am? I am also ready to enjoy all of the great outdoor activities in spring and summer. Now is the time of year that people start planning their spring and summer events, vacations, and other special things they want to do. This is also the time of year when many people start looking toward planning a camp experience for their child, themselves, or their family.

Now is the time to figure out which camp you want to use and get registered. The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) accredits equine facilities, such as stables at camps, and CHA also accredits camp staff that are involved with the camp’s equestrian program. You can’t go wrong with going to a camp that has an accreditation or a staff with certification from CHA.

Finding a possible camp involves some options that were discussed in our last blog post, “Attending a Camp with Horseback Riding.” The first step to finding a camp that is right for you is to consider the options discussed at the link above to figure out what is most appealing to the camp attendee(s).

And if you haven’t looked up any camps yet, then visit www.CHAInstructors.com to find camps accredited by CHA or camps that have CHA certified instructors involved in their programs. Use the search on the left with the keyword “camp” in the Query box. Once you have some options, the next thing to do is evaluate your options.

Things to Look for in an Equestrian Camp Program

To evaluate a camp that you have under consideration, many of the points made in a previous post on how to find the right riding instructor would apply. In addition, the tips below can help you make your final choice.

Add Link to http://cha-ahse.org/store/blog/choosing_an_instructor.html.

– If you want a camp focused around only equestrian activities, then some camps do cater to this. They might focus on a particular discipline (like jumping, dressage, distance riding, rodeo, etc.) or be focused around a particular breed of horse. However, these are usually geared toward those who have ridden to some extent or to more advanced riders.

Those who have never ridden may find it difficult to spend many hours or most of the day in the saddle. And those who have never been to camp before may want to have a more balanced camp experience with other non-equine related activities. These multi-activity camps should have other activities in addition to equestrian activities. Options might include: arts and crafts, swimming, tennis, games, contests, volleyball, canoeing or rafting, biking, drama, music, computer activities, camp fires, hay rides, field trips to local tourist or educational places, camping in the great outdoors, etc.

– Most camps with equestrian activities will make sure riders learn basic western riding skills or hunter/jumper riding, or both. However, riding shouldn’t be the only equine activities. Educational activities that revolve around horse care and horsemanship should be included. Campers might be taught how to take care of horses, clean tack, braid and bandage, and how to saddle and bridle. In addition, they can learn about the various breeds of horses, equestrian sports, the equestrian lifestyle, etc. Teaching might be through watching videos, lectures, or through hands-on activities. Hands-on activities might even include being assigned to care for one particular horse, such as feeding, watering, grooming, turnout, and mucking that horse’s stall. In addition, the camp may include horse-related games and events, demonstrations, movie nights, trail rides, gymkhanas or small shows, field trips, etc.

– Hopefully, you will be able to tour the camp in advance to determine if it is the right camp for you or your child. And if you are not a horse person, try to take along a friend that has experience with horses to evaluate the riding program and the facility. In addition to the overall feel, you will want to keep CHA’s motto in mind: Safe, Effective, and Fun.

Safety: Are all facilities safe? Obviously, this includes living and dining facilities, barns, classrooms, gates, fences, roads, pools, sports courts, etc. A rundown facility is a red flag, although if you happen to tour in an “off season,” keep this in mind. Is there a lot of clutter, or is everything organized and in its place? Are bunks and bathrooms safe and resistant to the elements (i.e., no leaky roofs)? Is the dining area and kitchen safe, and are meals prepared according to food safety guidelines? Does the camp use quality ingredients in their food, and how fresh are items served at mealtimes and snack times?

Are facilities clean, especially the bunks, bathrooms, kitchen, and dining hall, barns, and stalls? Even horses need clean living quarters and should not look like they are living in stalls that have not been mucked for days. Do horses look healthy and in good body condition and have well-cared-for feet? And are they suited for the types of riders that will be assigned to them? Are they well-trained, experienced with all types of riders, and are they what us riders call “bomb-proof” (aka, spook-proof)? Is all tack well-cared-for, clean, and in good repair?

Is a medical professional on staff, and does staff know CPR and first aid? Are there first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and emergency phone numbers available? If the camp takes campers with special needs, how do they meet those special needs, and what accommodations are made? Have they had any major accidents and how do they deal with both major and minor accidents and injuries? When are parents contacted?

Do they require helmets at all times when mounted and during any unmounted times? Do they provide helmets? Even if they provide helmets, you will want to buy one for the camp-goer because then the helmet is fitted perfectly for the rider. This is because a camp may not have the correct number of helmets for riders of a particular head size, leading them to provide a helmet that is not the best fit. In addition, you have no idea of the history of a helmet, and would not know if it has been dropped or been in a minor accident, which would mean its safety had been compromised. This is also true of helmets that are past a certain age, since the internal parts of a helmet begin breaking down with time. Therefore, a borrowed helmet is not the best in case of an accident. However, helmets from the camp could act as a back-up in case your child’s helmet is damaged or lost.

Honestly I could go on and on about safety. At least if you are visiting an accredited facility through CHA or through the ACA, then you know certain standards are already being met. You may want to validate how current the certification is, and if the camp ever had any revocations of their accreditation or any licenses. For more specifics on those standards, contact the accrediting organization. If it is not accredited, you may want to ask why they have not sought accreditation, and what other laws and regulations must they follow? How well are these requirements met, and have there been any violations?

And finally, do you feel safe sending your child here? After all, if you have specific doubts, or even ones you can’t pinpoint, but you have an unsettled feeling, then maybe your instincts are trying to tell you something.

Effectiveness: Are personnel and instructors trained in what they are teaching? How much teaching and horse experience do they have? How much experience does staff have working for a camp or equine facility? What do campers learn while they are there? Do campers have set goals or milestones set by the camp or set by the camper themselves? How many reach these goals? What is the return rate? Can you talk to previous campers for testimonials?

You will want to talk to the employees, if you can. Does the staff have a good attitude about the camp and their employer? How many camp employees and volunteers were once campers? This may give a clue to how well loved the place is and how loyal campers are. How is staff found and what guidelines are used to actually hire applicants? How are horses “vetted” and chosen for the program? Are parents welcome to visit? Has the camp or any of its staff won any professional awards? Can the camp claim any past attendees who became famous riders, horsemen or horsewomen, or upstanding citizens? What was the camp’s role in this person’s success?

Fun: One major key to a camp’s success and suitability is showcased in its campers’ faces. If you visit during a session, do campers look happy and like they are having fun? If there are candid photos anywhere, such as hanging on walls or on the camp’s website, or on its Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr accounts? As long as they are candid and not posed shots, then these photos can give a clue to the environment and whether campers are engaged and having fun. What do past campers say about the place in official testimonials, through any official organizations it belongs to, or on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or other social media sites? Perform an Internet search using various keywords to get an overall feel for the camp’s reputation, quality, and to look for any “red flags.” Is the camp rated on any websites? Does it have any current or past complaints against it, especially through a search on the Better Business Bureau website or through any other organizations it may belong to? How is the food there? Feel free to taste test if you dare, and if you are allowed to while you are there. Does the camp seem like the right fit for the possible attendee(s)?

While this post and the one about choosing a riding instructor offer a lot of questions to ask and suggest a lot of things to observe, these things can be important if one is going to leave home and attend camp. After all, picking the right camp can make for an amazing experience full of personal and social growth. But choosing a camp that might not stack up could make for a miserable experience. And if a child is the one going and if he or she has a bad time, then he or she may never want to go to camp again. So take your time, use a CHA accredited facility or one with CHA-certified staff, and look at all aspects before you decide. And then go, or send your child, knowing that you did the best you could to pick the right camp.

We would love to hear about your camp experiences. Feel free to comment below if you have had some great camp experiences in the past, or if you go this year, please come back and let us know how it went. And don’t forget to share all about the horsemanship and riding opportunities and experiences. And if you have any other suggestions for questions to ask at a camp or things to think about, feel free to add a comment below for your fellow readers.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

How to Increase Safety for You and Your Horse with the Right Equipment

By Sarah Evers Conrad

If you have been around horses at all, you may already know that if a horse can find a way to hurt himself, he will. Last week we looked at rider safety apparel. This week, we will look at equipment that is used on horses that help keep the horse safe and in good health. Because after all, we want our rides to always be Safe, Effective, and Fun.

It is important that all tack be well-fitted to the horse and rider, should be in good condition, and be well-cared-for and maintained. Tack should be inspected each time it is used to make sure nothing has become frayed, worn, or become unsafe in any way. Of course, a visual inspection should take place before placing any equipment on the horse. Before the rider mounts, he or she should also perform a tack safety check. To learn how to do this, check out CHA’s video titled, “How to Perform a Safety Check of a Horse” on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vj9OwCeyPUY&list=PL148CE9ACCB41CC90&index=6

Of course, it is important to always make sure any piece of tack fits correctly and is being used correctly. The rider should understand the mechanics of how all equipment is used. When used correctly, tack can be used with great effectiveness. However, if tack is used improperly, it can cause harm to the horse, even if unintentional. If in doubt about the use of a certain piece of equipment, a CHA instructor can be of great help.

Breakaway halters: One thing to remember is that all halters should fit well and not rub or be so loose that a horse can get hung up on anything or get a hoof caught if he goes to scratch his head. Leather halters tend to have the ability to break if needed. Nylon breakaway halters feature a leather crown piece or a connector piece on the buckle that can break.

For safety reasons, it is best to always remove halters during turnout due to the risk of a horse getting caught on something. However, if a handler needs to turn a horse out with a halter still on, then the halter should be a breakaway halter. Otherwise a horse can seriously injure himself as he tries to get loose, especially if he panics. He could also flip over or become tangled in his fight to get free.

While there are two schools of thought on using breakaway halters when tying a horse, the Certified Horsemanship Association generally recommends that a breakaway is not used. This is because if one is used and a horse gets loose, that loose horse becomes a danger to himself and any nearby animals and people. However, if a horse is known to consistently pull back forcefully enough when tied, then he becomes a danger to himself and a breakaway halter may be warranted. However, a better option for this type of horse is to never tie him. Instead, he should be held by a handler until training can deal with this dangerous vice.

Reins: For inexperienced riders, one type of rein that is of benefit is closed loop reins. These consist of a buckle that allows the two reins to attach so that if a rider drops the reins, they fall on the horse’s neck in front of the saddle instead of to the ground.

Reins that offer better grip can help when the reins get slippery from either rain or the horse’s sweat. Rubber reins, some nylon reins, and braided leather reins offer more traction and grip than smooth leather reins. There is nothing wrong with smoother reins, but for when a better grip is needed, then rubber or braided leather is helpful. Eventually rubber reins deteriorate and will need to be replaced, so the rider needs to inspect these reins each time they are used.

Breastplate or Breast Collar: A breastplate or breast collar is used to prevent a saddle from slipping backwards. They are helpful for horses with flat sides or those who are extra round. Breastplates can be used in both English and Western riding, racing, polo, endurance riding, with gaited horses, and in driving when only a light amount of weight is being pulled. They are very popular with trail riders so that saddles do not slide backwards when going uphill and with horses that rack. In many types of breastplates, one piece connects at the middle of the girth and runs up to the middle of the horse’s chest, where it branches into two, with a piece on each side running from the middle of the horse’s chest up to connect to the dee-rings or the billets of the saddle. Where it connects depends upon the style of the breastplate or breast collar and the discipline being ridden. The material that goes across the chest can vary from leather, to elastic, to webbing, etc. Some breast collars attach to the front branch of a split-end girth, instead of the dee- rings or billets. This type is often used in jumping, eventing, or polo. The rider will want to make sure that the horse’s shoulder movement is not restricted and that any breastplate or breast collar does not rub. And most importantly, if any piece runs higher across the chest near the neck, it should not restrict the windpipe. To learn more about using a breastplate or breast collar, check out CHA’s Safety Short Video called “Breast Collar and Back Cinch Correct Fit.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NplvOzqXgzU&list=PL148CE9ACCB41CC90&index=5

Back Cinch: A back cinch is used with Western saddles to add stability when going up and down hills and for cattle events. Imagine the force that is exerted on the horn of a saddle when a rider ropes a calf in competition and the horse sets back and prevents that calf from running off. Without the use of a rear cinch, that rider may find himself or herself catapulted out of the saddle as the force pulls on the horn. A back cinch should never be so loose that a horse can get a leg caught when stamping at flies, etc.

Safety Stirrups: Safety stirrups were developed for increased safety in the event of a fall by the rider. They are designed to prevent the rider’s foot from being caught during a fall, which could lead to a rider hanging from the saddle or being dragged by the horse. Instead, under the right pressure, part of the stirrup will “break away” or allow the foot to become free during the course of a fall. There are various designs to safety stirrups, with some even looking like non-safety stirrups. One popular kind, the Peacock stirrup, is designed so the outside part breaks away when sufficient pressure is felt. The Peacock stirrup looks like a stirrup with a “rubber band” on the outside edge, however the material involved is sturdy enough to hold in place during riding.

Tapaderos: The tapadero consists of a thick piece of material, usually leather, plastic, or mesh, which forms a barrier over the rider’s foot and toes and attaches to the stirrup, usually of a Western or endurance saddle. Sometimes they are referred to as “hooded stirrups.” There are also tapaderos for English stirrups, which can usually be removed when not needed. This optional piece of equipment is often used for safety to keep the rider’s foot from unintentionally slipping through the stirrup, thus causing an accident or causing the rider to hang from the stirrup in the case of a fall. Some riding instructors will use these as extra precaution with young or inexperienced riders. They can also prevent brush from getting caught on a stirrup or catching a rider’s foot when a rider is trail riding or working cattle or sheep. They can also help keep the foot a bit warmer in cold weather or protect against wet weather. Some sellers of tapadero stirrups even promote benefits for the rider, claiming that they help with fatigue through the knees and back or for those with foot, knee, or lower back problems.    

Saddle Blanket, Saddle Pad, and Saddle Cloth: Saddle blankets, pads, and clothes refer to any material placed between the saddle and the horse. While they are used to increase comfort, as shock absorption, and to protect the horse’s back, a well-fitted saddle that has been fit to the horse should not cause discomfort or sores. It is important to keep in mind that sometimes saddle sores can be caused by other issues other than poor saddle fit, such as dirt trapped under the pad, hair not brushed flat before saddling, extreme sweating, etc. Sometimes saddle pads can help with minor fitting problems, especially in a barn where each horse does not have his own saddle. Some are designed to help lift the saddle off of the withers or to elevate the seat. However, a saddle that is a really bad fit for the horse will not have fit improved by the use of one or two saddle pads or saddle clothes; they can even make the fit worse. Saddle blankets, pads, and clothes also absorb sweat and keep the saddle clean and dry.

From thinner pieces of material as a saddle cloth to thick pieces of padding covered in heavy-duty fabric for Western saddles, the style, design, durability, ease of cleaning, performance, and comfort level can vary a great deal. They can consist of cotton, wool, sheepskin, leather, suede, felt, fleece, nylon, rubber, foam, gel, synthetic materials…the sky is the limit. While a heavy saddle pad might look like the most comfortable to use, they do have some disadvantages. They can slip and slide, sometimes put pressure on the horse’s back where not intended, and can bunch if the person that tacked the horse did not place it carefully. Saddle pads, blankets, and clothes should always fit well on the horse and with the saddle being used.

Obviously, the horse’s legs are often in need of protection. We will discuss boots, wraps, and bandages next time. In the meantime, if you are unsure about the tack and equipment being used, checking with a CHA professional or other experienced horseman could help you to use your equipment more effectively and with increased safety and comfort for you and your horse.

We are curious, have you had a piece of safety equipment save you or your horse from injury? Please share with us in the comments below.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

Fire Safety & Wildlife Evacuation with Horses

The Certified Horsemanship Association compiled some common tips about wildfire evacuation with horses. By no means is this a comprehensive list, but a starting point to get you thinking ahead. When in doubt, evacuate early.

Things to Do Now

Use this time to do the following:

  • Practice loading and unloading your horses
  • Get your truck and trailer(s) serviced
  • Make sure you have enough halters, hay bags, water buckets, ID tags, etc.
  • Obtain current health records for all horses that will be riding on your trailers and store copies in trailer.
  • Consult with Fire Authority
  • When There is a Red Flag Warning

Use this as your cue to do the following:

  • Check air pressure in the tires in your truck and trailer.
  • Gas up your truck.
  • Check lights on truck and trailer
  • Check connections on truck & trailer
  • Prepare hay bags
  • Load clean water buckets, copies of health reports onto trailer
  • Add ID to halters and place halters and lead ropes onto stall doors.
  • Discuss plan of action, shifts, etc. with barn mates
  • Contact at least 2 barns you can evacuate to

Evacuation Warning/Voluntary Evacuations

  • Use this as your cue to do the following:
  • Load your horses
  • Call your evacuation destination
  • Evacuate to your evacuation destination
  • Send your advance team to the Evacuation destination to assist with unloading horses & getting them situated.

Finding a Good Lesson Horse

By Sarah Evers Conrad

A good lesson horse is worth its weight in gold. Once you find a good horse for your lesson program, then you need to hang on to that horse, keep up on all necessary health care, and make sure he stays healthy and happy. Good horses are the cornerstone to a lesson barn’s program. After all, the horses are what help lesson barns make money. And good horses are what bring riding students/customers back, in addition to quality instruction. The first thing to do when looking for a good lesson horse is to think about what type of horse you need. Ask yourself:

  • Does the horse need to be bigger or smaller? If only adults will be riding the horse, then a bigger horse may be needed. If it will be mostly young children, you may want to look for a smaller horse or a pony. A larger horse that is a good lesson horse can be used for children, but some children may find a larger horse intimidating.
  • What level lesson horse do I need? If you need a horse for beginners, see the list below. If you need a more advanced lesson horse, then the requirements will be different, and you will need to evaluate the horse’s ability to take a rider to the next level.
  • What will I be doing with the lesson horse? Will it be used to teach riders that will become hunter/jumpers, dressage riders, western pleasure, reiners, etc.? If so, then the horse should be suited for that discipline in their temperament and conformation and should understand the basic training of that discipline or have the ability to be taught quickly.
  • What will I do with the horse if he suddenly becomes unusable as a lesson horse? It’s always good to think about the options for a horse once they no longer suit the original purpose for which you purchased him. What type of second, or third, or fourth career would the horse be suited to if they are no longer a lesson horse? What retirement options would suit that horse, and what can you provide?
  • What possible resale value will the horse have if you no longer need it? While most instructors, and horse owners, look at the horse as it should be viewed, a living creature to be loved on and cherished, there is also the practical side of a horse purchase for an equine business. Each horse is also an investment and hopefully an asset to your lesson program. If you find yourself needing to sell the horse, then how will that affect your bottom line and can you re-coop any costs from the original purchase? We always want the horse to go to a good home if the barn decides to sell him. Think about what options are possible for any horse you purchase.

Many good lesson horses have similar qualities. These are the key qualities that every lesson horse should have, especially those that deal with beginners.

  • Forgiving. Lesson horses deal with riders who often do not know what they are doing. If a rider gives an incorrect cue, will the horse forgive the mistake and still keep the rider safe? While most riders are not trying to harm a horse when they learn, inadvertent kicks and tugs on the mouth or a rider who is off balance will happen to the lesson horse. If a horse is kicked or has a rider that accidentally yanks on the mouth, will that horse remain calm? This is the type of horse you want while you are teaching your beginning students how to ride correctly.
  • Patience. If a rider gives opposing cues, such as a cue to walk on while also telling the horse to stop, will the horse wait for the rider to figure it out? Many great lesson horses will wait until a rider gives the correct cue, or something close to it before rewarding the rider with the correct action, thus teaching the rider what cue gets the desired results.
  • Manners and Quietness. You will want a calm and quiet lesson horse that can deal with the chaos of group lessons and the rush of getting students to tack up their horses and mounted. The lesson horse should always be well-behaved. Horse people call this bomb-proof. Obviously a horse that flips out at the sight of a flag or an umbrella will not make a good lesson horse at that time. Perhaps that horse just needs some training. However, with horse training there are no guaranteed results, so it is best to find a horse that already has ground manners and manners while mounted.
  • No vices. You don’t want a horse that weaves in the stall, usually out of frustration or boredom, if the horse will be stabled part of the day awaiting lessons. Obviously you don’t want a horse that tends to bite, bolt, kick other horses, shy, or that does any other negative actions. Most vices can be dangerous, and paired with inexperienced riders, this can be a recipe for disaster.
  • Good Health. You will want a healthy horse…one that is not prone to heaves or tying up or other chronic health conditions. If your lesson horse is prone to an illness, then you are losing money on that horse if he cannot be used in lessons, and you will also need to spend money on veterinary costs to get the horse past the illness. One way to ensure that a horse is healthy at the time of purchase is to have a veterinarian do a pre-purchase exam. Many experienced horsemen and horsewomen will not purchase without having a pre-purchase exam done.
  • Soundness. You want to make sure your lesson horse can handle being ridden daily or sometimes multiple times in one day. Ask about his past issues and whether he has had regular farrier care. Has he had any leg or hoof issues? The pre-purchase exam can also find any hoof or soundness issues.
  • Good conformation. Try to find the soundest, most conformationally correct horse you can. A horse with good conformation will be able to handle his job and the day-to-day of a lesson barn. A horse with conformation issues may become prone to injury or soreness, which is the last thing you want with a lesson horse. In addition, if the lesson horse is to be a show horse, you don’t want him being dinged for conformation faults, causing your student to not do as well in the show ring.
  • Age and Experience. Typically, older horses make good lesson horses. The lesson horse needs to have some life experience and have been presented with different situations so that they are dependable in all situations. Many people purchasing a horse look for younger horses, but with a horse that will be used for lessons, there is nothing wrong with purchasing a 15-year-old or older horse. Of course, if a horse is in his 20s, he could still be a good lesson horse, but you should be prepared for the horse to near retirement at any point. That is hard to predict, however.
  • Flexible and Versatile. The horse that can be versatile and be ridden both English and western, and possibly other disciplines, makes him more valuable. Regarding flexibility, we aren’t talking about how far the horse can stretch in one direction. A flexible horse can adapt to any rider, regardless of the riding style, riding ability, experience level, etc.
  • Dependable and Trustworthy. You need to be able to trust all of your lesson horses. You won’t see a trustworthy, dependable horse acting naughty and trying to get away with things, even if they are paired with an inexperienced rider. A dependable horse will take care of the rider, have common sense, a kind attitude, and be willing to please.

While there is no such thing as a perfect horse, a good lesson horse is usually a bit of a saint. So many take so much, try so hard, and love and are loved by many. Many riders progress past lessons and on to either own their own horse, compete in horse shows or in intercollegiate competition, specialize in a particular breed or discipline, etc. Yet, despite moving on, most riders who have taken lessons remember their favorite horses. For me, it was Jazzy, Imperial, Buckley, Bobby, Slick, and Bullet. Once a rider moves on, the lesson horse continues on, showing up every day to teach another round of students. These are the horses to find and hold on to.

CHA would love to hear what made your favorite lesson horse great. Feel free to share that horse’s name and why you loved him or her. We look forward to hearing your stories.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

How to Find the Right Riding Instructor

By Sarah Conrad

Finding your first riding instructor, or a new riding instructor if you already ride, will take time and effort to find the right one for you and your situation. After all, you, or your child that wants to ride, should learn basic horsemanship skills before moving on to more advanced riding, competitions, or horse ownership. Everyone will have different factors that will direct the rider to their final choice. This article discusses what a new rider, or a parent, should look for in a riding instructor and lesson program. In addition, one of CHA’s Master Instructors offered up her advice through a previously written article on this topic.

The last blog post discussed 18 reasons why you would want a certified riding instructor and why that riding instructor should be certified by the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). A CHA instructor will give any rider a great foundation from the beginning, and the rider, or parent of a child rider, can rest assured that the instructor will teach the new rider to ride correctly and in the safest way possible.

If there aren’t any CHA instructors in the area, then the only way to evaluate instructors in the area is to visit, observe, and ask a lot of questions. Riding instruction can be varied and is voluntary, since anyone can call themselves a riding instructor, points out Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg, CHA Master Instructor, in her article, “How to Choose a Riding Program,” [link to: which was written for her website, HYPERLINK “http://www.crktrainingstable.com” www.crktrainingstable.com. “Some programs require rigorous on-site testing while others only require paying a fee and passing a take-home test,” continues Kronsberg.

“If the instructor you are researching is certified, find out what the requirements were and what level they attained. Some teachers will teach well beyond their certification level because no one bothered to ask. ASK! Most certification programs have web sites that explain their testing process and what instructors are qualified to teach for each level of certification. Do your research,” Kronsberg continues.

“Also, make sure the instructor is actually certified with the group they are claiming to be and that their certification is current. If the instructor is not certified, ask about their experience and education. Make sure they teach riding and are not just a horse trainer,” continues Kronsberg.

Once you have found the instructors in your area who you want to evaluate, there are a few things to consider so that you can choose the right riding instructor for you. It is recommended for you to visit any instructors you are considering at least once to determine the answers to some of the questions below. Meanwhile some questions below can be asked over the phone.

“Most should be willing to give you some advice over the phone, if you know what questions to ask,” says Kronsberg. “Never be the person who calls the stable, asks the cost of a lesson, and hangs up. That’s like calling a car dealer and asking how much a car costs. There are so many variables; you need details to make a good decision. Think of these first phone calls as the beginning of your equine education,” she continues. “Pick the instructor’s brain and get a feel for the type of person they are.”

Below are a few of the key things to consider when looking for that first riding instructor.

Riding Style and Level of Instruction: First, what type of riding do you want to do? If you, or your child, is not sure about the style of riding to pursue, then perhaps the new rider should try introductory lessons with several styles, such as stock seat (Western), hunt seat (English), dressage, and saddle seat. If you would like to try reining or jumping, keep in mind that they are more advanced and will come after you learn the basics. Is there a riding instructor in your area that teaches the type of riding that you would like to try? And how far will that riding instructor be able to take you with your riding skills? To answer that last question, you will need to understand the levels of instruction that are covered by their certification. If the instructor is certified by CHA, you can read more about the levels on the CHA website [Add a link] No CHA instructor should teach beyond the level that CHA has deemed within their abilities. If they are, CHA has not been able to evaluate their skills and their abilities to teach safely and effectively at that level.

Lesson Types: What types of lessons are offered? How long do they last, and how much of that time is spent on horseback? Are there group lessons and/or private lessons, and what does that instructor suggest for you? How many people are in group lessons?

Is everyone in a group lesson of the same age or of the same experience level? It is usually best if all riders in the group are of the same ability, and not grouped by age, so the most advanced riders do not end being held back by beginners. What level of riders are being accepted now, and how do riders advance to the next level?

Cost and Inclusions: How much are the lessons? Are there packages available? What is included? What types of payment are accepted and when do you pay? What does the rider need to wear or bring, and what does the stable provide?

Insurance: Insurance is a must. Kronsberg recommends, “Find out the name of their insurance company and call to be sure their insurance is current.”

Stable Rules: What rules does the stable have? Will you need to sign any liability waivers or contracts?

Horses: What types of horses are used in lessons? Is there a horse (and tack) that will suit your height and weight? If the rider has any limitations or challenges, can the instructor accommodate, and does the instructor have the appropriate horse for that situation? Are there horses that will suit riders of every level? Are those horses well-trained and experienced with beginning riding students? Very young horses or horses without a lot of training or experience as a school horse are usually not advisable for beginning riders or small children.

The Stable: When you visit the stable, is it clean and neat? Are most things in their proper place unless they are being used? Is the stable free of safety hazards? Are stalls big enough for the horses and for a person to enter to handle a horse? Are fences in good repair? Do the horses look healthy, well-fed, and relaxed? Do most of the horses seem to like people instead of shying away from them? The stable does not have to be an Olympic-quality stable. In fact, some of the best instructors may only have a few horses for lessons, and it could still be a great place to begin riding. However, the facilities and tack should be in good condition and safe, and horses should look healthy and happy. And most importantly, the horses should be calm and suitable for beginners to handle and ride.

Safety: Is everything done with safety in mind? Does he or she explain how safety is involved when explaining how to care for, handle, and ride the horse? Does he or she teach the safest way to do something when giving lessons or corrections to a student? Are any students asked to do something despite feeling unsafe or uncomfortable? If so, this might be a red flag. Is the instructor certified in CPR? Is there a first aid kit available, as well as fire extinguishers and smoke and fire alarms?

Passion: Does the instructor have a love of the job? Instructors should love horses and people, especially children, and should love to teach. If an instructor has a passion for horses and teaching, then he or she will then pass along that passion to students.

Learning the Basics: Does the instructor start with the basics of horse care and handling with ground lessons? An instructor should first evaluate a rider’s safety equipment, such as their helmet and boots, etc., to ensure proper fit and appropriateness for riding. The first few lessons should teach students how to halter a horse, lead, tie, groom, pick hooves, etc., before that first ride. Proper ground lessons help ensure that the beginning rider can care for and handle the horse while not mounted.

Adaptability: How adaptable is an instructor in his/her teaching methods? Does he or she make adjustments when necessary to match the student’s ability to learn? Is that riding instructor ready for any situation?

Patience and Attention: Does that instructor show patience at all times? If an instructor “loses it” with another student or an animal, then that may call into question how patient they will be with you. Does that instructor keep his or her attention on students the entire time? Or are there distractions, like phone calls or texts? Are other people not in the lesson able to speak with the instructor during the lesson?

Confidence and Self-Esteem: Does the instructor teach in a way to increase a student’s confidence in himself/herself and his/her progressing riding skills? Is the instructor teaching in a positive manner or with negative phrases more than positive ones? The best instructors have a way of building the self-esteem of riders just setting out in this new activity. Good instructors know when to give praise and when to give criticism.

An Instructor’s Assistants: Are there assistants who help during a riding lesson, and what specifically do they do? What is their qualifications and are they always under the lead of the main riding instructor, or will they be in charge of a lesson or of students at any time? If so, you may want to evaluate assistants against some of the criteria above.

“Many barns hire school or college students to teach camps or lessons. (These are often the ones I see seeking certification because their programs require it.),” writes Kronsberg. “They have no previous experience teaching riding at all. Who will be assisting? Some programs use young riding students or parents as ‘leaders’ or ‘helpers’. This is simply not a safe practice. Everyone involved with the program should be experienced horse handlers. They should all be capable of handling an emergency. What will the 11-year-old child leading your child’s 1,000-pound horse do if that horse spooks or runs away?” questions Kronsberg.

Reviews from Others: Are the students having fun? You may want to talk to students and any parents afterward to hear about their experiences with that instructor and that stable. You can also ask the instructor for references. You can also check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the business is on the BBB site and if it has a BBB rating. However, if the stable is not on the BBB website, this is not a strike against it. It may mean that they have not joined the BBB or the instructor may not have been in business long enough for the BBB or he or she may only teach lessons on the side in addition to another job or being enrolled in school. Regardless of BBB status, if the stable’s current customers give glowing reviews, and it meets some of your requirements above, perhaps it is “the one.”

In summary, your first riding instructor should act professional, be safety-conscious, be an experienced horseperson, be experienced in teaching others to ride, and be trained in first aid and have the proper safety equipment. In addition, the facility should be clean, neat, and in good condition, with happy and healthy horses. Tack should be in good condition, and above all else, helmets should be required. Other students should be able to give recommendations and glowing reviews. And if possible, the instructor should have a certification with CHA. Trust your instincts and do your homework, and you are sure to find the right riding instructor for you.

For additional advice on the topic, visit HYPERLINK “http://crktrainingstable.com/lesson-program/how-to-choose-a-riding-program/” http://crktrainingstable.com/lesson-program/how-to-choose-a-riding-program/ to read all of Cheryl Kronsberg’s article.

And stay tuned here to next learn about horseback riding camps.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at HYPERLINK “http://www.equestrianjournalist.com” www.equestrianjournalist.com.

The Ever-Evolving Horse Industry

By Sarah Evers Conrad & Christy Landwehr

In today’s world, our society is becoming more and more inactive. As horse professionals who are trying to help expand the horse industry and bring in new people into the sport, regardless of discipline, breed, or segment of the industry, it is our job to think outside the box and try to cater our services and products to the different generations, personalities, and challenges that our local market may include. CHA has an interesting place within the equine industry as an organization that does not cater to just one breed or discipline, but who desires to help our members teach the masses all about horses, horsemanship, and safety while providing a fun experience to the participant.

Generational Differences

It’s important to understand how the industry has evolved and to what markets we are currently trying to reach to bring in new participants. First, let’s look at the general differences in the generations. We have Boomers, Generation Xers, Generation Y and Millennials, and now Generation Z.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)* grew up in the age of Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger. It was a general time of affluence in which people aspired to the American Dream. The defining events of this generation include the Vietnam and Cold Wars and assassinations of influential leaders, such as John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. Some say that Boomers sometimes aren’t always open to new ideas or ways of doing things and may have a “been there, done that” attitude.

Then along came Generation X (1965-1980)*, the children of workaholics, divorce, daycare and latchkey kids, and lovers of cable TV. This generation was reared to be self-sufficient with defining events such as the AIDS epidemic, the tragic explosion of the Challenger, and the Iran hostage crises. This generation grew up with the Black Stallion. It is said that Generation X may have a difficulty with commitment and a tendency to have a “wait and see” approach.

Generation Y/Millennials (1981-2000)* are generally seen as high achievers living in a great age of technology who may have been micro-managed by their parents. Their defining events include the fall of the Berlin Wall, the September 11th terror attacks, the dotcom boom and bust, and new technology, such as the iPod. In the horse world, this group grew up with Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron and always being awarded for participation with everyone getting a blue ribbon. Character “flaws” may include short attention spans, high demands, and a “what’s in it for me” attitude.

Our upcoming generation, Gen Z (2000-now)*, have parents who are striving for a “safer” childhood. Many can’t imagine a world without smart phones, social media, Tumblr, Instagram, and SnapChat, along with the Internet in general. Their defining events include same sex marriage and the first African-American president. Some call Gen Z lazy and unaware.

Today’s Inactivity Pandemic

Today’s generation is the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, according to FoundtheMarbles.com. Out of 104 possible activities, almost 20% of 6- to 17-year-olds did not participate even once in the past year, according to research by the Physical Activity Council. According to Phit America, that means there are 10 million totally sedentary children in America and 33 million children who are not active to healthy standards, and 87.2 million Americans, or 28.3%, are totally sedentary or inactive. Most sports are shrinking in core participation, while two were noted to grow among those age 6 to 17. Those two sports are lacrosse and gymnastics.

Marketing to an Ever-Evolving Horse Industry
Meanwhile, the horse industry is comprised of 1.8 million horse owners who are in general terms: married women over 45 years of age, recreational riders with an income over $50,000 from their full-time employment, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The horse industry’s perception of horses indicate they are seen as a family member, best friend, companion animal or pet, and a performance partner vs. being seen as an investment, livestock animal, or employee (American Horse Publications).

Now that we understand more about the generational differences, demographics within the horse world, and the state of fitness within this country, how do we market to this ever-evolving horse industry?

Community events are a great way to reach new participants. Horse enthusiasts can visit schools to speak about horses to students or PTA groups, local fairs, along with teaching at open horse shows that have attendees from outside of the horse world.

In addition, many times grandparents are a great way to reach the youth market since many grandparents like to purchase gifts, such as lessons, for their grandchildren. This market can be found at Optimist Clubs, Rotary Clubs, churches, and at other civic organizational meetings. It’s important for horse enthusiasts to join clubs, not just horse ones to become active in the community.

Programs That Are Thriving

There are several programs outside of the horse industry that are reaching youth in unique ways. One is the First Tee Junior Golf Program. The First Tee helps shape the lives of kids and teens from all walks of life by introducing them to values inherent in the game of golf, such as integrity, respect, sportsmanship, honesty, confidence, and perseverance. Their mission is, “To impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.” For more information, visit

Another great example is the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles Program, which was developed to welcome young people into the world of aviation. This program offers free first flights to youth with a certified local pilot, a free online ground school course, and other youth aviation programs. For more information, visit

And our final example is the Colorado Ski Country USA Passport Program for fifth and sixth graders. Fifth graders ski or snowboard free for three days at each of 20 participating resorts for a total of 60 free days of time on the slope, along with one free beginner lesson with rental equipment to those who have never skied or snowboarded. And six graders can ski or snowboard for four days at each of the 20 member resorts for a total of 80 days for $115. For more information, visit http://www.coloradoski.com/passport

Programs like these offer great incentives for youth to get involved in a specific sport or activity. Within the horse industry, the American Horse Council’s Time To Ride equine-industry-wide initiative is helping to grow the horse industry by engaging equine facilities and organizations and assisting them to create memorable, long-lasting connections between people and horses. They make horse experiences attractive and accessible to every person. Their digital hub, TimeToRide.com provides ways to find a recreational or trail riding place, lessons and camps, fairs and rodeos, horse races, and shows and other equine events. The riding instructors that are listed are professionals through the Certified Horsemanship Association and through the American Quarter Horse Association.

In addition, the Time to Ride Challenge has awarded $200,000 cash and prizes to host stables, businesses, and organizations that introduced the greatest number of new people to horses during the challenge period through fun horse experiences. Several CHA facilities have been the leaders during this challenge that was launched in 2014. Time to Ride also offers resources for kids (TakeMeRiding.com), new riders, parents, and teachers. Their programs offer outreach to moms, spectators at horse shows, and local schools. Their free toolkit offers tips for marketing, event ideas, posters, ads, and graphics.

So as you spend time in this ever-evolving horse industry, and within your community, think about how you can be a mentor to those who may want to try out horseback riding. We want to empower, inspire, motivate, listen, connect, instill confidence, increase chances for success, and provide a safe, effective, and fun experience with horses to all new participants. And that will help the horse industry grow and prosper.

*Actual years vary by source.

Establishing a True Partnership Between Horse and Riding Student

By Leigh Cooper

As instructors, we face challenges teaching communication and partnership between our student and the lesson horse. Some students’ horse time is often limited to a one-hour weekly lesson. They may not be able to spend hours observing horses in the pasture or participating in the daily care of the horses they ride. Despite these constraints, we can still show our students how to develop a partnership with a horse through mutual understanding.

An effective partnership requires an open channel of communication between two parties. So for us to be effective riders, we must first become listening riders. To facilitate this communication, we need to use a partnership-focused language, encourage our students to listen to feedback from the horse, and help them utilize that information.

The first step toward partnership is to encourage a two-way communication mindset.

Simply rephrasing how we speak about the horse can influence the rider’s mindset. We may be quick to dismiss a horse as “lazy, stubborn, or naughty,” but such language puts the focus on the horse being at fault, which disregards important feedback from our equine partner. By eliminating the notion that the horse is actively working against the rider, you foster an environment that is based on teamwork.

In addition, consider the difference in “make” versus “ask.” If we tell our student to “make” the horse do something, the answer is black and white—the horse either does or doesn’t do it. This teaches the student to believe the task must happen in order to accomplish something. In turn, this might cause the student to unconsciously tune out feedback from the horse in an effort to reach the desired result.

In contrast, saying “ask your horse to trot” instructs the student to give the cue, and if the message was not received by the horse, the instructor and student can troubleshoot the cause together: How was the message unclear, and how can we improve on it so the horse understands?

Second, we must encourage the student to be an active listener.

Have the student halt in the middle of the arena and then have him or her ask the horse to move forward on a loose rein. The student should note how the horse responds to the cue to move forward. Did the horse respond to the lightest cue, or did the rider need to escalate aids to initiate a response? Did the horse pin his ears? Is the horse focused on something outside the arena, or is he relaxed and listening? Are the horse’s muscles tense with his head raised? Does the horse step out willingly, or does he slow to a stop?

Once the horse is moving forward, ask the student to let the horse walk freely around the arena. The horse will drift to areas where he feels most comfortable or to where he has received a reward in the past, such as near the gate or in the middle of the arena. Have the student discuss where the horse’s attention is focused and what specific locations he feels most comfortable.

Now that a question has been asked of the horse, you can finally encourage the student to discuss what he or she learned from the horse’s response.

A horse focused on something outside the arena may have ignored the rider’s cues for different reasons than the horse that wanted to just plod along and/or stop. From the moment the student mounted the horse, he or she should be thinking, “What kind of rider do I need to be today to best communicate with my horse?”

The student must be open to change based on the feedback received from the horse. The rider also needs to learn that every horse will require a different approach to achieve two-way communication. This helps the student develop successful horse-human partnerships as he or she opens up to an individualized dialog.

For example, a student that starts out with loud cues, such as digging in with heels to get the horse to walk on, might find that the horse jumped forward, raised his head, and pins his ears. Noting that feedback, the student can try again, knowing from the first time that the horse was not comfortable with that amount of pressure.

Students should also learn that if the horse is struggling to find an answer to our question, it is the rider’s responsibility to acknowledge the misunderstanding and improve the communication.

Our goal is to have our student become a listening rider, one that strive for a working relationship with his or her horse. We don’t necessarily speaking the horse’s language, but we must find common ground to build a dialog that both horse and rider can tap into.

Teaching a student to listen to the horse helps him or her to realize that horses are not robots. Horses think and feel. Therefore, maintaining a line of communication with each horse is integral to effective riding. Each student must develop the habit of constantly checking in with the horse and use any feedback to build solid horse-and-rider partnerships. By learning to listen to the horse, even a rider that is limited to a few lessons a month can learn to build a partnership with any horse.

Equestrian Camps

By Sarah Evers Conrad

You can tell when spring is approaching here in Lexington, KY, when Lexington’s Annual Summer Camps and Activities Fair rolls around. If your city or town has an event like this, it is a great way to do some research on local camps in the area and to be able to talk to camp staff and maybe even past attendees. I have attended this fair in the past to see what activities are available for family outings and for camps when my son gets older (he’s only two right now).

I definitely want my son to go to a camp one day, and I am hoping he will want an equestrian-centered camp. I never went to any kind of camp when I was young, and it is the only experience I regret missing as a child. I don’t want my son to miss out like I did. After all, there are so many benefits to attending a camp. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits for children, and some of these may even fit for adults.

Benefits of a Camp Experience

– First, it is just plain fun. It is almost like a rite of passage for many children.

— Nowadays, many camps try to focus on a specific theme so that campers can have an experience around a sport or hobby that they love. So, what is the best theme to focus on? Horses, of course.

– Camp attendees can experience a feeling of community in a safe and nurturing environment.

– Many camp counselors become role models for their charges.

– Good camps have a combination of activities and experiences that help attendees learn something new, make discoveries, improve upon a skill, gain confidence, and improve social skills.

– All activities have been designed to be developmentally appropriate for campers and should be conducted in a safe manner.

– Many camps encourage campers to reach beyond comfort zones for their own personal growth. And many kids can try new things at camp that aren’t available during everyday life. This helps promotes an adventurous spirit.

– Many campers eventually return to become camp leaders. Moving into a leadership role within a familiar environment allows campers to develop leadership skills and other skill sets that will be welcome within a later career or volunteer activity.

I could go on and on about the benefits of camp for children and young adults. Maybe I will learn first-hand one day. Even though I never went as a child, I may have another shot at the camp experience as an adult. Nowadays, there are camps designed for families and even some designed just for adults-only. They are getting more and more popular, and new camps are springing up each year. Whether you want a camp for your child, for you and some friends, or you and your family, the options are out there.

And speaking of options, there are a variety of options for the type of camp as well. Of course, we all know that a camp must have horses, right? And riding only once a week just isn’t enough. We need an equine-centered camp. And you have come to the right place to learn more about equestrian-centered camps. After all, the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) was originally named the Camp Horsemanship Association when CHA was first founded in 1967 by Dan Hempill. And 40% of CHA’s current membership runs a camp. In addition to certifying riding instructors, CHA also certifies seasonal equestrian staff at facilities such as camps, youth organizations, guest ranches, and trail program operators. In addition, CHA accredits equestrian facilities of all kinds, including camps, which must meet certain Standards for Equestrian Programs. To find equestrian camps accredited by CHA and CHA certified instructors at seasonal programs, such as camps, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.CHAInstructors.com” www.CHAInstructors.com. Using the search on the left-hand side of the website, use the word “camp” in the Query box.

In addition to accrediting equestrian facilities at camps, CHA is an Educational Alliance Partner of the American Camp Association (ACA). This means that both organizations work together toward a common educational goal through an exchange of programs and services. This allows educational content about camps to reach more people. The ACA also works with other youth organizations and associations such as CHA. The ACA’s members, sponsors, partners, and others attend its annual meeting, which has already taken place for 2014 (February 9-11 in Orlando, FL). This year, CHA’s CEO Christy Landwehr attended on behalf of CHA.

The ACA consists of 9,000+ camp professionals who work toward ensuring quality camp programs within the United States. Its mission to promote, preserve, and improve the camp experience means that adults and children can participate in continuing education programs on community, character-building, skill development, and healthy living. Just like CHA accredits facilities, the ACA accredits more than 2,400 camps to meet standards in health, safety, and program quality. Out of these 2,400 camps accredited by ACA, 40% (960) of them have horses.

For more information about the American Camp Association and for a wealth of information on camps, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.acacamps.org” www.acacamps.org.

Before you start your research on camps, it is important to consider the options since not all camps are the same. There are traditional camps with riding as a once-a-day activity, equine-centered camps that include other activities for a balanced experience, or camps with a total immersion in equine-centered activities. There are camps for younger kids, older kids, or a range of ages. There are girls-only camps, boys-only camps, or co-ed camps. There are the adults-only camps we mentioned before, and there are family camps. And there are camps who cater to different groups at different times, depending on what session is offered during a particular time frame.

Some camps allow the camper to bring their own horse, allowing the rider to focus on specific goals between a rider and his/her mount. Horse owners should be aware that if a camp allows you to bring your own horse that it may want to be able to use your horse for other campers as well. This is only if the horse owner gives permission. However, most camps provide camp horses, which lets campers experience a variety of mounts. Or a camp could assign one horse to the camper for the week.

There are day camp experiences with no overnight stay involved, weekend experiences, week-long camps, or camps that last part of a summer or all of the summer. And don’t forget about the camps that offer Spring Break sessions. With Spring Break approaching fast, registrations for these sessions will be due soon. Don’t miss out if you think this Spring Break is when you want to go or when you want to send your child. Many camps operate year-round, except for when weather makes it not feasible or enjoyable for campers. Various sessions will then be offered throughout the open times.

If the potential camper is unsure that they would like to be gone very long, try a shorter camp or a day camp. After all, you wouldn’t want to pay for a weeklong camp to have your child frantic to come home after one day. (Please know that some homesickness is normal.)

If you already have a camp in mind, then check when registration and payment is due so that you don’t miss any deadlines. And if you don’t have any particular camp picked out, stay tuned to this blog to learn more about how to pick the right camp for you, your child, or your family.

After all, figuring out what you or your child wants is key to a happy camper.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at HYPERLINK “http://www.equestrianjournalist.com” www.equestrianjournalist.com.

Emergency Planning: When It Really Counts, Will Your Farm Be Prepared?

By Sarah Evers Conrad

The day started like any other with morning lessons filled with happy children thrilled to be on the backs of their favorite steeds. The mid-day break rolled around, and the barn quieted down for a break. As horses happily munch on some hay, the owner of the small stable walked to her house on the property for some lunch of her own. Twenty minutes later she gazed out the window and gasped as she sees flames coming from the barn. They were already wreaking havoc on one side of the structure. As chaos ensues inside the barn, horses are nickering and squealing while some spin circles inside their stalls, panicked by the heat and the smell of the smoke. The barn owner races inside to try to save any horse she can.

She runs to the first stall, but then realizes she has no halter, and there isn’t one on the door. She flings the door open to just let the horse run out, but the horse is so panicked, he refuses to leave the place he has always known as his safe haven. Knowing that seconds count, she runs to the next stall, only to experience the same thing. The old barn doesn’t have any sprinklers or fire extinguishers, and she struggles with what to do next as the heat becomes unbearable. Knowing that she will die if she doesn’t get out immediately, she races out of the barn, and it is only then that she realizes she hasn’t even called the fire department. She struggles to look up the phone number using the Internet on her smart phone, but her phone isn’t cooperating. She finally makes the call. Hours go by as the fire fighters struggle to put out the fire. The barn owner, neighbors, and other horse owners have gathered to wait for a final verdict, but all is lost…all of the horses; the owner’s dog, which had been sleeping in the tack room; and the entire barn, not to mention her livelihood. It’s a nightmare scenario for any horse person…onne that we all hope to never experience.

However, just hoping it won’t happen to us doesn’t help if it does. While not all emergencies are preventable, there are precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk and steps to take beforehand so that if an emergency happens, a plan can be put in action to save lives. While the topic of emergency planning is a big topic, the Certified Horsemanship Association would like to share some of the most important tips for blog readers.

The Emergency Plan
First, it is crucial to create an emergency plan for your barn that details procedures to follow for any type of emergency that could happen in your area, whether it involves fire, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, mud slides, blizzards, etc. Plan for the worst case scenario. Post the plan in various places around the barn, next to all phones, and in the facility’s staff manual. The plan should be evaluated and updated periodically.

The plan should include:

    • Procedures for each kind of emergency scenario
    • All evacuation routes
    • Various routes that large emergency vehicles can use to access various parts of the farm. If one access route is cut off, an alternate should be chosen.
    • Procedures for transporting injured horses or people off of the property
    • Procedures to turn off water and electricity
    • The farm’s address and phone number that people can give to emergency personnel. Most people will not automatically have this memorized.
    • Phone numbers for several veterinarians, 911, police, the fire department, poison control, local large animal rescue groups, etc.

Education and Training

Educate all staff and participants, including children, at your facility about the emergency plan, and practice emergency drills and evacuations and how to lead all animals to safety. Everyone should know what to do should an emergency happen, and emergency procedures should be practiced periodically. Role playing can be especially effective with children. Handouts can be a great way for clients to remember the information after a training or drill session.

Due to the inherent nature of equine activities, it is a good idea to have at least some staff members, if not the entire staff, trained in first aid and CPR for people and first aid and emergency care for horses. Eventually a fall or accident is bound to happen on a farm, and the outcome for the horse or rider could be affected by how the emergency is handled.

In addition to practicing with staff and clients, evacuation practice should happen with all horses. Teach horses to be led with their eyes covered in case of a fire, so that panic doesn’t prevent them from being led to safety. Make sure that all adults can safely handle a horse in an emergency, despite any chaos. All horses should be accustomed to trailer loading in a rush, even in adverse conditions, such as during a storm. Horses should also easily follow a handler through water or debris.

Emergency Equipment

Everyone should know the location of all fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, hoses, first aid kits for both horses and humans, and other safety and emergency equipment. All staff and clients should know how to use equipment correctly.

Installation of fire hoses, lightning rods, smoke detectors, sprinklers, or other devices is recommended and may be required according to local building codes, the fire department, or your insurance company. Fire alarms or another emergency alert system should be in place and be appropriate for the size of your facility.

Horse Equipment

Keep a horse’s halter and a lead rope by each stall if the horse is inside so that they can quickly and safely be evacuated in case of a fire or other emergency. In addition, having something readily available that can be used to cover a horse’s eyes is important.

Know Your Local Emergency Personnel

If you can, invite your local fire department and large rescue group for a tour of your farm and a review of your emergency procedures so that should an emergency happen, they will already be familiar with your farm. In addition, leave each group information about your farm, how many staff and horses are usually on the property during various times of the day, all emergency procedures with locations of equipment, etc. The tour and information can be a great way to facilitate a quicker and smoother emergency response. In addition, if local fire fighters or other local emergency personnel have never worked with horses, have an introductory session to teach them the basics. Also, invite personnel to wear any typical equipment so that all horses become comfortable around a person in full fire fighting gear.

Disasters Off the Farm
Plans should also be put in place for when staff, clients, and horses travel off of the farm to horse shows, equine events, trail rides, camping trips, and other excursions. Everyone should know basic safety procedures, evacuation routes, meet-up locations in case people are separated, and other emergency protocols at other equine facilities since emergencies can happen anywhere. Also, when traveling off of the farm, don’t forget to keep a human and a horse first aid kit in the trailer.

Don’t forget to discuss any special medical needs with parents for children traveling to shows or other events. A phone or other means of communication during any excursion is a must-have item. If cell phone service is not available in a more remote area, than a satellite phone or a two-way radio are options.

Identification

Natural disasters can sometimes damage fencing, causing horses to escape and become lost. It is recommended that horses already have a permanent form of identification, such as a microchip or brand. In addition, if a natural disaster is looming, owners can use a temporary form of identification. Some options include: duct taping a waterproof ziplock bag with important information about the horse and the owner to the horse’s halter or braiding it into the horse’s tail, painting a phone number on your horse’s hoof with non-toxic paint, or using a neck band. In case a possible separation from your horse is possible. Make sure to have proof of ownership and photos of your horse, in case you have to find your horse at an evacuation facility, etc.

Evacuation Plans

If you live in an area prone to evacuations for natural disasters, such as along the East Coast for hurricanes or in the West for wildfires, be familiar with where you can take your horses in case of an evacuation. If the evacuation facility is compromised, you should have an alternate, and perhaps an alternate for the alternate. Be prepared for an alternate evacuation route as well and know whether that route will accommodate a horse trailer.

Have a plan in place for how to transport all of your horses. Keep your truck and trailer in good working order to be ready at a moment’s notice. Are horses up to date on vaccinations and do they have all necessary paperwork to be transported (i.e, a current Coggins test and a Health Certificate to cross state lines)? If you don’t have a trailer, then plan who will help you in advance. In some cases, facilities may fill up fast, so don’t wait too long or there may be no stalls or paddocks left. Also, keep in mind that it is dangerous to transport horses in winds beyond 40 mph, so don’t wait until that hurricane hits the coast.

If you can’t move your horses, who can help you care for them if you have to leave without them or if roads are impassable and you can’t get to the barn? You will need to make sure all horses have plenty of hay and clean water for two to three days, at least. If you must leave your horses outside and evacuate due to a storm, do not leave horses near power lines or toxic trees (ie, Red Maple) that could fall. Also, do not use a field with an electric fence that could end up shut off if power is lost. Inspect the field for debris or other hazards. Plan ahead in case water sources become contaminated. If a horse needs special medications or has special nutritional requirements, make sure the information is handy in case the owner can’t get to the barn due to a natural disaster. You should also think about how will animals be confined if structures are destroyed. If power is lost, is there a generator?

Obviously, there is a lot to think about for emergency planning. Below are a few more resources to continue learning about emergency planning.

If your barn has been through a major emergency, let us know what you may have learned during the experience or feel free to share how your emergency plan worked. Feel free to share in the comments below.

Additional Sources on Emergency Planning:

  • Book: The Certified Horsemanship Association’s Standards for Equestrian Programs Manual
  • Website: http://www.thehorse.com/topics/horse-care/disasters/emergency-planning
  • Book: Animal Management in Disasters by Sebastion Heath
  • In-Person Training: Seminars are often held through an extension office, local agricultural university, or through a large animal veterinary clinic, or veterinary association.
  • Website: http://www.aaep.org/info/emergency-disaster-and-preparedness-290

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

CHA’s Partnerships with Other Top Equine Organizations Benefits Members and Non-Members

The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) is honored to be partnered with extraordinary organizations that are leaders in their specific areas within the equine industry. Each partner helps fulfill CHA’s mission, which states, “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, weekly blog, posters and much more.” In addition, CHA’s members can also benefit from the connection to these organizations in a variety of ways. Many of the organizations offer programs and products that fit CHA’s membership. Below we have list our partners in alphabetical order and given a little information into who they are.

A few of the ways in which CHA has worked with its sponsors includes:

  • Promoting CHA’s professionals to the memberships of our partner organizations
  • Arranging for CHA’s CEO, Christy Landwehr, or another CHA representative to speak at a partner organization’s event
  • Allowing partners to use some of CHA’s educational publications and tools
  • Promote the sponsor’s programs and services to CHA members and the general public
  • Exploring educational opportunities with partners
  • Inviting representatives from a partner organization to be a guest on CHA’s monthly radio segment on “Horses in the Morning” through the Horse Radio Network, which airs every third Tuesday of the month on HorsesintheMorning.com
  • Inviting representatives from a partner organization to serve as a webinar presenter for CHA’s webinar series
  • Inviting partners to have a booth at the CHA International Conference
  • Scheduling representatives from our partners to speak at the CHA International Conference
  • Providing the opportunity for sponsors to offer a mounted riding session or a clinic at the CHA International Conference
  • Partners providing their publications to CHA members, or providing a discount, as part of CHA’s membership benefits and vice versa
  • Connecting CHA Certified Instructors with the partner so that the CHA Instructor can serve as a resource when needed, such as a speaker to a partner’s audience or as a source within an article published by a partner organization
  • Sharing the latest news from partner organizations in CHA’s various publications and vice versa

Upcoming Appearances
CHA representatives are scheduled to be at several upcoming events hosted by our partner organizations. Christy Landwehr, CHA’s CEO, will be speaking during a Keynote lunch at the Arabian Horse Association’s Annual Convention in November in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Also in November, CHA will have a booth at the 2015 Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Conference and Annual Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. Next February, CHA President Peggy Adams will be at the 2016 American Camp Association Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. In March, Christy Landwehr will present a Professional Horseman’s breakout session at the American Quarter Horse Association Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. And in April, CHA will have a booth at the Interscholastic Equestrian Association’s 2016 Hunt Seat and Western National Finals in Lexington, Kentucky.

Potential Sponsors
CHA is open to additional partnerships. Those wishing to discuss partnering with CHA should contact us at 859-259-3399.

CHA Sponsors

Active Interest Media (AIM)
AIM’s equine division publishes a wide range of magazines and associated websites geared toward horse owners, trainers, veterinarians, and other equine professionals in a variety of niches in the horse industry. Their print publications include American Cowboy, Discover Horses, Dressage Today, EquiManagement, Equus, Hitch Up!, Horse Journal, Horse & Rider, In Stride, Practical Horseman, Spin to Win Rodeo, Stable Management, The Trail Rider, and USRider. Each publication has a website, and additional websites include Equine.com and Equisearch.com.

American Camp Association (ACA)
ACA is a community of camp professionals who endeavor to share their knowledge and experience to those who are creating quality camp programs. At this time, ACA has more than 9,000 members who work to preserve, promote, and improve the camp experience. In addition, ACA also accredits camps that meet up to 300 standards for health, safety, and program quality. The association also provides a variety of educational opportunities and tools on camp topics.

American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA)
AQHA is the world’s largest equine breed registry and membership organization. Dedicated to the American Quarter Horse and the lifestyle of Quarter Horse lovers, the association offers a wide range of programs, competitions, publications, and prize and awards programs to horse owners, Quarter Horse breeders, competitors, backyard horse enthusiasts, Quarter Horse racing fans, and potential horse owners. AQHA also registers Quarter Horses and maintains pedigree, owner, breeding and progeny reports, and performance and show records.

Arabian Horse Association (AHA)
AHA is a membership organization of Arabian Horse enthusiasts and horse owners and competitors who enjoy a variety of recreational and competitive activities. AHA serves as the official breed association and registry in the United States for purebred Arabians, Half-Arabians, and Anglo-Arabians. AHA has more than 26,000 members at this time and more than one million registered horses. AHA provides a variety of competitions, prizes and awards programs, activities, Arabian Horse racing, endurance events, and much more.

Back Country Horsemen (BCH)
BCHA is dedicated to keeping America’s trails open for everyone. There are more than 174 local and state chapters in 27 states with more than 13,000 members. BCHA members help to maintain trails on public lands and coordinate with conservation corps and youth groups, the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management to ensure that people can have outdoor wilderness experiences in the future.

Equisure, Inc.
Equisure provides specialty insurance coverage for horse and dog owners, horse and dog clubs, volunteers who serve on boards, professional horse and dog trainers, riding instructors, farm owners, horse shows and events, polo clubs and polo club members. Equisure provides competitive rates for mortality insurance (with or without major medical or loss of use insurance additions), professional and general liability insurance, and insurance for directors and officers for clubs. Equisure prides itself on excellent customer service and for understanding the equine and canine industries.

Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA)
IEA’s mission is to introduce youth in private and public middle and secondary schools to equestrian sports. It currently has over 11,000 members in 42 states that participate in school and/or barn associated programs. Competitions are offered in either hunt seat and western, and horses are provided at the venue for each competitor.

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH)
PATH Intl. works to promote safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted activities and therapies for those with special needs. PATH serves as a global authority, resource, and advocate for these programs. Previously known as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), Path now has more than 7,600 members and 850 member centers all over the world. In addition to riding programs, other programs also include therapeutic carriage driving, interactive vaulting, equine-facilitated learning and mental health, ground work and stable management, and PATH Intl. Equine Services for Heroes, which is designed for war veterans and military personnel.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

Three Must-See Safety Guidelines for Equestrian Facilities

By Sarah E. Conrad

Now that Spring has hit all across the country, managers of equestrian facilities might be considering some projects to build, renovate, or add to their farm or stable. Of course, building codes and other local codes must be followed when planning changes to a property. Owners or facility managers will want to consult with the right authorities on any of these requirements. However, in addition, if the facility is already an accredited equestrian facility through the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) or if there are plans to get accreditation in the future, then facility managers will want to consider certain guidelines published by the Certified Horsemanship Association. However, these published guidelines apply to anyone who owns or manages an equestrian facility.

CHA’s Standards for Equestrian Programs manual was compiled by professionals involved with equestrian programs, insurance providers, and legal consultants, as well as individual equestrian professionals. The purpose of this collaborative effort was to keep all participants as safe as possible while receiving services at an equestrian facility. The manual states, “Equestrian programs have a responsibility to strive for safe, high-quality services. Throughout the industry, concern and consideration for our horses and our clients is universal. To this end, it is essential that a reasonable and accepted set of operational standards exist…CHA believes that facilities and individuals striving to follow these standards promote a safer environment for equine activities.”

The manual has been written with the horse industry as a whole in mind. It is divided into sections covering standards for equestrian sites, programs, management of horses, the discipline of driving, equine facility management, riders with disabilities, trails, the discipline of vaulting, and CHA Site Accreditation.

Let’s take a look at just one of these sections: Site Standards. These refer to the actual physical property or facility where there are equestrian activities. Each standard encompasses an overall topic of importance to anyone running an equestrian facility, such as Facilities for Safe Horses, Facility Lighting, Client Supervision, Gates and Ties Safe and Effective, etc., etc. However, these overall topics list a variety of points.

Three Must-See Safety Guidelines in Site Standards

1. Arena Safety: CHA’s standards (always posed as questions) ask, “Are arenas reasonably safe and well maintained for the activities for which they are used?” Of course, when I think of arenas, my first thought goes to the footing. The standards state that footing surface should be as level of possible and free of hazards and should provide good footing subject to weather conditions. The manual does not specify any particular type of footing.

As for the fencing around the arena, here is one point that some might not have considered: rails or other materials used should be mounted on the inside of posts so that a rider’s leg or a vehicle will not catch a post. I can just picture this, and the mental image is not pretty as a rider could fall or get hung up on an arena fence if this standard is not followed. Of course, fencing should be sturdy and provide a visual barrier, but a physical barrier is not required since the manual only states that the fencing should suit the discipline for which the arena is used. For instance, dressage arenas may only need fencing that is about a foot high, whereas a rodeo fence must be five feet or higher.

Obviously barbed wire is a big No-No for arena fencing or any other kind of fencing used for horses. The thought of barbed wire reminds me of when my first horse was a weanling, and the entire group of weanlings escaped from the breeder’s farm during weaning. They roamed the countryside until a few hours later when the farm owners found them. One weanling had suffered horrible gashes from barbed wire on another farm, and an especially nasty one across her chest. Barbed wire can really do a lot of harm to horses and are a serious safety hazard.

2. Facilities Safe for Horses: This standard asks, “Are the facilities reasonably safe and appropriate for the animals with a program in practice that is designed to eliminate hazards?” This one standard discusses 10 different points. The one that most stands out to me is the one discussing pastures. The standard states, “Pastures are reasonably well maintained, reasonably free of holes, rocks, poisonous plants, and other natural obstacles, and free of trash, junk, vehicles, or other known hazards.”

The reason that this stood out is that I have walked plenty of fields to make sure that my horse’s pasture did not have any hazards. Even though I was not the owner of the property where she was boarded, I did this on top of the owner’s inspections as an extra precaution and for my own peace of mind. We all know that if a horse can find something to injure himself on, he will. One other reason we were all extra diligent was that this particular area of Lexington was overrun with small animals that dug tunnels. The groundhogs were the worst. All sorts of natural wildlife could dig underneath a barn or pasture, such as groundhogs, moles, chipmunks, foxes, kangaroo rats, mongooses, prairie dogs, rabbits, woodchucks, etc. If a horse falls in a hole while running through a pasture, a broken leg or other serious injury could happen.

Another reason that this guideline stuck out is the mention of poisonous plants. Years ago when I worked for the magazine, The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care, I had to edit a feature article about the most common or dangerous poisonous plants for horses. And then I had to pull images together of these plants for the final issue so that readers would know what these plants look like. It was a total eye-opener to see the types of plants that could harm horses. I would suggest that any horse owner or rider should be aware of what poisonous plants are in your area and learn what they look like. It isn’t even advisable to just leave it to the farm owner, because a plant could spring up and be eaten in between pasture inspections. If a rider knows what these plants look like, then they can notify the farm owner immediately if one is spotted. A horse’s life could depend on it. If I owned a farm with riders coming and going, I believe I would put photos on a bulletin board or have a document handy so that everyone would have access to the information. There are some great books, magazine articles, and websites from veterinary colleges about poisonous plants. Just make sure that if you are online that you stick with the website of an educational institution or a reputable publication.

3. Emergency Equipment: This standard asks, “Is emergency equipment, minimally including fire extinguishers and a means of emergency communication, in place at activity locations?” All of the points made in this section of the standards manual are important, but one must is having a telephone or other form of emergency contact in place. Most barns have phones, but some additional things should be near the telephone, such as emergency phone numbers, the number of the phone being used and the address of the facility so that the caller can give that to emergency personnel, directions to the facility, and a copy of the facility map showing emergency vehicle access routes. The last one should not be missed either. Many times, if a large vehicle, such as a fire truck, cannot reach a barn due to obstructions, bridges, low-hanging trees, etc., then another route should be accessible. At least one route should be accessible by emergency crews in case of an emergency, especially if people or animals are at risk.

For more standards related to equestrian facilities, check out CHA’s Standards for Equestrian Programs manual. To purchase a copy, please visit HYPERLINK “http://cha-ahse.org/store/products/CHA_Standards_for_Equestrian_Programs.html” https://cha.horse/why-becoming-accredited-is-important-for-equestrian-programs-and-facilities/. You don’t have to be a CHA member or a facility accredited by CHA to purchase. Anyone can purchase the manual.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at HYPERLINK “http://www.equestrianjournalist.com” www.equestrianjournalist.com.

Educational Opportunities for Equestrians Available at CHA Regional Conferences

By Sarah Evers Conrad

Are you looking for a way to boost your horsemanship skills? Do you want to learn more about teaching horseback riding? Do you want to learn from some of the best horsemen and horsewomen in the equine industry? All horse enthusiasts, especially instructors and professionals within the equine industry, have 11 great opportunities throughout this year to learn more about horses, horsemanship, and safety. Each Certified Horsemanship Association Region offers a regional conference for anyone wanting horsemanship education, hands-on experiences, networking opportunities, and to make social connections within the horse industry. In the United States and Canada, CHA has 11 regions, in addition to an International Region. Each region within the U.S. and Canada has a regional conference, and attendance counts for continuing education credits toward CHA membership. Attendees do not have to live in the specific region to attend that region’s conference, and you do not have to be a member of CHA to attend. All CHA Regional Conferences are open to the public and to all horse enthusiasts.

There is also the larger annual CHA International Conference that brings together CHA members, horse industry professionals, and horse enthusiasts from all over. This year’s International Conference is scheduled for October 22-25 at the American Quarter Horse Association’s Hall of Fame and Museum and the West Texas A&M University in Amarillo, Texas. This event also serves as the Region 8 Conference for Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. However, with eight more months to wait for the international conference, CHA encourages all horse enthusiasts to check out a regional conference.

There are several great opportunities on the horizon, so if you will be in the following regions, you may want to book your trip and register to attend these great events as soon as possible.

CHA Region 1 (British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, Western Montana, Oregon, and Alberta)

This conference is scheduled for March 5-8 at Canyonview Equestrian College in Silverton, OR. A great schedule is planned with classes, workshops, and mini-clinics on a wide variety of topics and disciplines. In addition, there will be fun activities, challenges, and excellent food. Speakers include Richard Shrake, Nathan Horsman, Stan Loewen, Trisha Kiefer, Reed, Monica Liles, Phil Peterson, Gregory Gil, Tereesa Wentland, Sherilyn Sander, Rod Brown, Jessica Mohr, Scott Depalo, Teddy Franke, Ren Bannerman, and Dr. Chris Wickliffe. The presenters will speak on reining, dressage, cutting, jumping, pack and trail, and instructor training. Those who wish to be hands on and ride in the presentations are able to on a first-come, first-serve basis. A silent auction filled with tack, equipment, rider apparel, home décor, teaching aids, etc., will help raise funds for the region’s scholarship program and other programs. Contact Teddy Franke in Oregon at teddy@campmorrow.org or 541-544-2149 or 907-687-6047. Follow news from Region 1 online at www.charegion1.com, Twitter.com/charegion1, Facebook.com/CHARegion1, and Facebook.com/groups/CHARegion1.

CHA Region 5 (New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Virginia, Deleware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland)

This conference is scheduled for March 20-21 at Houghton College in Houghton, New York. Topics include farrier care to optimize performance with farrier Ed Carls, IRD techniques for cognitive/physical challenges, saddle fitting to help the horse and rider with Certified Master Saddle Fitter Judy Bromley, quadrille riding with the Musical Freestyle class of Houghton College, how to teach a CHA clinic lesson involving jumping with CHA clinicians Lynn Bliven and Lisa Strapello, how to safely prepare kids for competitions with CHA Master Clinic Instructor Kathy Hilsher, how to help at-risk youth with horses with CHA Master Clinic Instructor Susan Berger, how to teach riders to improve a horse’s gait with CHA Master Clinic Instructor and USDF Silver Medalist Valerie McCloskey, obstacle training with clinician JoAnn Long of Gentle Dove Farm, and teaching correct gaming techniques for barrel racing, pole bending, etc., with Lynn Bliven. In addition, attendees can take 45-minute lessons with schoolmasters for $50 as part of fundraiser for CHA. Pre-registration is required. Contact Larissa Strappello at larissa.strappello@houghton.edu.

CHA Region 9 (Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming)

This conference is scheduled for March 13-15 in Denver, CO at the National Western Complex in concert with the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo. Topics include teaching techniques for riding instructors, credentialing for riding instructors, and exercises on horseback riding for all levels with CHA CEO Christy Landwehr; working with the very young rider with Ashleigh Hamill of Frontrange Equestrians; equine activity liability with Jill Montgomery of JRAM Enterprises; using a temperature gauge to manage a horse with Dr. Jeff Prystupa of Equine Thermography; building a successful local breed club and youth organization with Hamill and Jerry Martinez of the Arabian Horse Association; and many more great horse health care and management topics. The Junior Colorado Arabian Horse Club will do a demonstration. In addition to the conference, attendees will receive lunch, parking passes, and tickets to all events at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, including the Mane Event. Since the Expo has seven venues running simultaneously in addition to the Region 9 Conference, it makes for a great family weekend. Contact Jill Montgomery at jill@jramenterprises.com or Ashleigh Hamill at frontrangeequestrians@gmail.com.

Attendees can book accommodations at host hotels at special rates if booked by a certain date and at regular hotel rates after that. Attendees of regional conferences are also encouraged to register for the conference as far in advance as possible. There are rates for the entire conference or day rates for those who can’t attend every day. CHA members and students can book at a discounted rate.

For additional information on CHA Regions, upcoming conferences, and for contact information, visit https://cha.horse/regions-conferences/. Don’t forget to join CHA’s email list to hear about upcoming conferences and other educational opportunities and content at www.cha-ahse.org.

* Please Note: CHA Region 7 (North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama) had its conference in January. The next Region 7 conference will be in 2016.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

Three More Important Standards for Equestrian Programs

By Sarah Evers Conrad

Last week we discussed several of CHA’s safety guidelines for Site Standards at equestrian facilities as published in CHA’s Standards for Equestrian Programs manual. In today’s post, which is our second installment in a three-part series discussing safety guidelines, we will look into safety standards in relation to Equestrian Programs.

For those that missed last week’s post, CHA’s Standards for Equestrian Programs manual was compiled by professionals involved with equestrian programs, insurance providers, and legal consultants, as well as individual equestrian professionals. The purpose of the manual is for equestrian professionals to follow the guidelines in an effort to keep all participants at an equestrian facility as safe as possible while they receive services, such as riding lessons. The manual was designed for the horse industry as a whole. Therefore, the published guidelines apply to anyone who owns or manages an equestrian facility.

The manual states that the horsemanship director and riding staff are obligated to ensure the general safety of staff and clients. The manual’s section on Program Standards discusses 26 topics, such as setting goals, staff qualifications and age requirements, professionalism, an emergency plan, emergency and safety procedure training for staff and clients, liability waivers, incident reports, etc., to name just a few. This blog post will touch on three of the standards.

Three Must-See Safety Guidelines in Program Standards

1. Liability Waiver or Release: This one is probably familiar to anyone who has spent time at an equestrian business or event. I have certainly had a lot of experience with signing these, or my parent signing one, at every stable I took lessons or a trail ride. The standard asks, “Is a procedure in practice to obtain a written Liability Waiver or Release for all clients and volunteers that is dated and signed by the participant/parent/legally-appointed guardian?

Obviously, it is important that an equestrian program have a liability waiver or release to release it from responsibility should an accident or injury occur. We all know that accidents and injuries do occur due to the unpredictability of horses, and life for that matter. And with a waiver, that means the signer of the waiver (the rider, or the parent or guardian of the rider) acknowledge these risks as part of the activity. The standard also suggests that barn owners and managers should have an attorney look over the wording of the waiver or release form to ensure that it “provides maximum available protection under state/provincial laws.”

Some states have equine activity liability acts in place and these may affect a waiver or release for an equestrian facility in that state. Therefore, those that provide equestrian-related services should be familiar with their state’s acts or statutes. Some state acts require that “warning notices” or a listing of specific inherent risks be posted for all to see at a barn or stable.

For instance, my state of residence, Kentucky, has within its statutes Title XXI (21), Chapter 247, which deals with Farm Animal Activities. In Kentucky, farm animal professionals and sponsors must post warning signs and notices according to set specifications by Kentucky statute to warn participants at the facilities that there are certain risks involved.

This does not mean that an equestrian professional would not be liable in some instances. For instance, the statute summary states that if the professional willfully or wantonly disregards the participant’s safety or if they intentionally, negligently, or wrongfully injure the participant, then they could still be in legal trouble.

Obviously, every equestrian professional needs to be knowledgeable about the laws and statutes in their state and hire an attorney to look over or draw up their liability waiver, in case there is an accident around horses.

Equestrian professionals will also need to make sure there is a procedure in place to distribute any waiver or releases, get them signed, and properly store them, according to the manual’s P-9 standard.

2. Pre-Ride Safety Check: This is an important thing to consider for any equestrian offering riding services. The guidelines states, “Is a written procedure in practice to ensure that a thorough safety check is performed before a rider is mounted?” This check, which only takes a few minutes, could save someone from a serious accident. “A thorough pre-ride safety check is one of the most important ways to reduce preventable incidents in horseback riding,” states the manual.

Routines should be established so that the check is done the same way each time, and includes at least the following: rider attire, tack adjustment and condition, weather, external factors that could affect a lesson or ride (open area gates, items on fences, people leaning onto or sitting on the arena fence or sitting nearby, dogs and other animals in the arena, and other obstacles in the arena), the mood and disposition of the rider, and the horse. Top staff should “view written procedure regarding pre-ride safety checks. Interview staff regarding pre-ride safety checks that are done. Observe the program in practice, if possible,” continues the manual.

There may be other things in a pre-ride safety check that could be added to the list. I would include checking the horse’s feet, especially if the rider is a beginner and not an expert at picking feet or checking the status of horseshoes. And not only should tack be checked for fit and obvious worn spots or damage, but checking for any lumps in the saddle pad or any debris underneath would be a good idea. Program managers can make the list as detailed as they wish, but the main point is to have a policy, have staff perform checks each and every time and with consistency on what is checked, and to check a minimum of the items listed above. The Standards for Equestrian Programs manual also has more detailed guidelines on rider attire and tack in other sections.

3. Client Progress Notes: This last item we will discuss today involves client progress notes, which reminds me a bit of report cards. The manual asks,” Are written progress notes available for each client?”

Obviously, this does not apply to those who will just compete in a one-time activity or may only go riding on vacation. When I was a teenager, I so loved my weekly riding lesson that I couldn’t even give it up for the week my family took a vacation to Hilton Head Island, SC. I was lucky my parents agreed to take me to another stable during vacation. That stable in Hilton Head ended up being where I first learned to jump. However, I would be surprised if that riding instructor in South Carolina kept progress notes on me. Although if she had, she could have looked them over again the next year when I returned for another lesson. Business owners can never really know when he or she might come across a client again.

Instructors can do progress notes after each lesson, trail ride, or show, or on a set interval, such as once a month. Staff could record achievements, problem areas, personality information for the rider, the horse he or she rode, which tack fit the rider (and even what holes to use for the stirrups for the correct leg position), plans for future lessons, whether the rider and horse were matched well, what activities were done during a lesson and how that client did, whether lessons were done mounted, on the ground, or in stable management and anything else that would help that instructor teach that client or give the best customer service possible. Obviously another task for an instructor to perform each week or after the end of a set interval would be to review the progress notes. Progress notes can be invaluable when creating lesson plans or as motivation for clients if the riding instructor wants to share parts with them. And they can save time each week when matching up riders to tack and horses.

This is just a sampling of the useful information listed in the Program Standards section. There are many more valuable tips and safety guidelines discussing Equestrian Programs in the manual. For more details on the above Program Standard topics, or to read the other 23 topics, you can purchase CHA’s Standards for Equestrian Programs through the CHA online store or through the main office at 859-259-3399. You don’t have to be a CHA member or a facility accredited by CHA to purchase. Anyone can purchase the manual.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

>> Click here to Buy The Equine Professional Manual – The Art of Teaching Riding

horses grazing hay bank

Safety Standards for Managing Equines Important for Equine Programs and Clients

By Sarah Evers Conrad

It’s our final post in the three-part series discussing safety guidelines published by the Certified Horsemanship Association in their Standards for Equestrian Programs manual. And this week’s topic, Management of Equines Standards, is important, not only for business owners, but also for anyone considering using an equine business. Knowing that horses are healthy and fit and that equipment is safe and well-cared-for should be a concern on both sides. We will discuss some of the guidelines in just a moment. First, I have a story to share.

This past weekend was a big weekend for my family. It was the first time my son had his first pony ride. And it happened the same as it did for me when I was little, at my dad’s company picnic. Except my son is almost three, and I was around six years old. I remember begging my parents to let me keep getting back in line to ride over and over and over again. That first exposure to ponies is what got me hooked, and led to me asking for riding lessons, or a pony, of course. A few years later I began riding lessons and a lifetime involved with horses. It was a great introduction to horses for me. Wouldn’t it be great if all companies had pony rides at their company events?

So this weekend was a big deal for my son as he enjoyed his first real exposure to riding, and it was also a very proud moment for me as a mom who got to share my love of horses with my little one. I only hope he may have some memory of this down the road, although he may be too young. Of course, Mommy has photos and a video, so the moment has been preserved for all time.

The pony rides were the first thing we did at the picnic, which was set at a local orchard. I am so happy to say that the business that was hired to have ponies at the event met my approval. After the initial happiness at seeing ponies there, my next thoughts turned to inspecting the health of the ponies and the safety of the equipment. Did the ponies look well-fed and have healthy looking hooves, showing that they were well-cared-for? Was the tack clean, appropriately sized and in good condition? Were the ponies calm and suited for their job? Did those directing the flow of kids match riders to the right size pony? These are just a few questions I asked myself before I allowed him to ride.

My husband had no clue I was performing a silent safety check before I determined if my child was going to be safe with this particular equine business. I do this every time I see horses for hire for carriage rides, such as in Charleston, SC; or for trail rides, like one I did on Amelia Island, FL; or for riding lessons I have taken at vacation destinations, such as Hilton Head Island, SC.

This leads me to the standards for the management of equines in the Standards for Equestrian Programs manual. This blog post will touch on three of the standards, which also tie in to my initial inspections before I consider using an equestrian program. For all 15 standards in the chapter on “Management of Equines Standards,” you will find information below on how to purchase the manual.

Three Must-See Safety Guidelines Regarding Management of Equines

1. Horse Management Program: This standard asks, “Does evidence exist of a horse management program that is integrated and implemented with observable, generally accepted practices?” The authors explained this standard as, “A general impression of healthy, well-cared-for animals should be evident from a horse management program using generally accepted practices and guidelines.” A program’s horse management practices tackle the following topics:

Availability of clean water;

A feeding schedule with proper rations and storage;

Hygiene practices to contain disease transmission;

A schedule for routine hoof care, worming, vaccinations, and other veterinary care;

Safe stabling and fencing;

Animal-caretaker knowledge of first aid;

A humane work schedule based on each horse’s condition;

Tack that is suitable, serviceable, properly adjusted, and fits the animal; and,

Disposal of trash, manure, moldy hay, and spoiled feed.

      

This standard is an overall look at the program, and some of the items in the list above are discussed in more detail later in the chapter.

2. Horse Selection: This standard asks, “Is there a procedure in practice for screening and selection of prospective horses?” The process of choosing horses for an equine program depends on the needs of the program and the intended use for the horses. Obviously a business that gives beginning riding lessons to children will need calm, well-trained horses or ponies that aren’t too big and strong for a child to handle. Temperament, soundness, size, overall health, and training or training potential must be considered. The program’s goals and activities must have the appropriate number and types of horses, and horses must be suitable for clients’ skill level.   

3. Soundness Check: This standard asks, “Is a procedure in practice to check the physical soundness of each horse prior to use and remove unsound horses from work?” Obviously, soundness is of utmost importance, and if procedures aren’t in place to check soundness, then this could cause a physical problem with the horse to worsen if not caught early.

The manual has 12 more topics to consider regarding the management of equines. Based on our three-part series regarding site standards, program standards, and management of equine standards, you can see that there are a lot of things to consider when operating an equestrian program. These blog posts have only been a sample of all of the amazing material published by CHA in the manual.

The Standards for Equestrian Programs manual was compiled by professionals involved with equestrian programs, insurance providers, and legal consultants, as well as individual equestrian professionals. The purpose of the manual is for equestrian professionals to follow the guidelines in an effort to keep all participants at an equestrian facility as safe as possible while they receive services, such as riding lessons. The manual was designed for the horse industry as a whole.

Those equine business owners who follow the guidelines have a chance to have their facility accredited by the Certified Horsemanship Association, thereby giving them an industry “stamp of approval” and recognition for their adherence to safety standards. This makes the published guidelines important for anyone who owns or manages an equestrian facility. In addition, participants in equestrian activities would benefit from the manual as well since it discusses the elements of a safe and well-run facility.

Also, if you know a facility is accredited by the Certified Horsemanship Association, then you know that the facility is already following the manual’s safety guidelines. You can search for accredited equestrian facilities online at HYPERLINK “http://www.CHAInstructors.com” www.CHAInstructors.com.

In closing, I will repeat a quote from the manual that states, “Equestrian programs have a responsibility to strive for safe, high-quality services. Throughout the industry, concern and consideration for our horses and our clients is universal. To this end, it is essential that a reasonable and accepted set of operational standards exist…CHA believes that facilities and individuals striving to follow these standards promote a safer environment for equine activities.”

To learn more about safety around horses, you can purchase CHA’s Standards for Equestrian Programs manual at HYPERLINK “http://cha-ahse.org/store/products/CHA_Standards_for_Equestrian_Programs.html” https://cha.horse/why-becoming-accredited-is-important-for-equestrian-programs-and-facilities/. You don’t have to be a CHA member or a facility accredited by CHA to purchase. Anyone can purchase the manual.

For a wealth of safety and horsemanship information, check out CHA’s website at HYPERLINK “http://www.cha-ahse.org” www.cha-ahse.org for future blog posts, articles, magazines, audio segments with the Horse Radio Network’s “Horses in the Morning” radio show, webinars, videos, email newsletters, press releases, and more.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at HYPERLINK “http://www.equestrianjournalist.com” www.equestrianjournalist.com.

Colleges and Universities with a CHA Connection

By Sarah Evers Conrad

There are a variety of colleges and universities with equine-related programs across the United States and Canada. Some have become Program Members with the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) due to all the benefits CHA offers Program Members. If you’re a high school student looking for colleges and universities with equestrian programs, here is a list of CHA-affiliated programs for your consideration.

Asbury University: This CHA-Accredited facility is located in the sleepy town of Wilmore, KY, outside of Lexington, KY. With a Christ-Centered program, their goal is to minister using horses while providing a solid equine science curriculum with hands-on work. Courses in stable management, horse training, conformation, lameness, reproduction, and ranch management are just a few options. Asbury also has a vaulting team and a police mounted training program. The major in Equine Facilitated Wellness ties into a Psychology major.

CHA Certifications

Canyonview Equestrian Center and College: This CHA-Accredited facility is also an approved host site for CHA events. Located in Silverton, Oregon, in the Willamette Valley, Canyonview combines religious studies with horsemanship. Students have lessons in dressage, hunt seat, and western weekly in the first year, with combined training, reining, and cutting being integrated into the second year of studies. Students also get to train a young horse under saddle, as well as learn about facility design and management, herd management, equine nutrition, herd health, and equine reproduction. Students participate in two CHA Certification Clinics, and the CHA curriculum is used in courses on teaching technique.

CHA Certifications

Central Wyoming College: This CHA-Accredited facility and CHA-approved Host Site in Riverton, Wyoming, offers an Associate of Science Degree in Horse Science, Associate of Applied Science to Horse Management and Credentials in Equine Training Technology, Horse Management, Farrier Science, and Teaching Riding. In addition, there is a certificate in Horse Management.
https://cha.horse/cha-certifications/#college-university-facility-certification

Houghton College and Riding Camp: This CHA-Accredited facility and CHA-approved Host Site is in Houghton, NY, for students who want to get a minor in Equine Science or a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Leisure, which focuses on outdoor education/camp administration and equestrian studies. One of the theory requirements is CHA Rider Instructor Certification with an elective in CHA-IRD. The school teaches equine industry management, therapeutic riding, history and philosophy of training, teaching, and judging. Many students end up as riding instructors, therapeutic riding specialists, trainers, or stable or program administrators.

CHA Certifications

Laramie County Community College: Located in Cheyenne, WY, this college offers an Associates in Science in Equine Business Management or Equine Science, and an Associate of Applied Science in Equine Training Management or Rodeo Production Management. Their equestrian team is part of the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association, which participates in about 12 horse shows per year. There are also men’s and women’s rodeo teams.

CHA Certifications

McLennan Community College/Highlander Ranch: Located five miles from the main campus for McLennan Community College in Bosqueville, TX, Highlander Ranch is where students take classes for Veterinary Technology and Agriculture for the Associate Degree Program, as well as where students take classes for the Veterinary Assistant Certificate Program. In addition, the ranch offers horseback riding lessons, camps, equine boarding, and continuing education courses for the community. There is a large covered arena, meeting rooms, facilities for rent, pastures, and a picnic area.

CHA Certifications

Middle Tennessee State University: Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) offers an undergraduate degree in Horse Science and a concentration under an Animal Science degree; a Master of Science with a concentration in Equine Education, Equine Physiology, or Industry Management; a horse judging team; a stock horse association; and an equestrian team. Classes include horsemanship, equine care, animal care and welfare, horse breeds and genetics, horse production, farrier science, equine event and facility management, reproduction and breeding, eq uine industry, nutrition and feeding, behavior and training, equine evaluation and selection, teaching horsemanship, equine exercise physiology, and more. tudents will spend a lot of time at the MTSU Horse Science Center in classrooms, an equine reproduction laboratory, the heated barn with 65 climate-controlled stalls, an enclosed arena, and an outdoor arena and jump course. A 2,500-square-foot annex is in the planning phases. The judging team competes regionally and nationally and has won major competition.

Midway College Equine Program: Located in Midway, KY, right outside Lexington, KY, Midway College offers a Bachelor of Science or an Associate of Science in Equine Studies. Students also have access to local boarding and breeding operations, sales and racing, equine association headquarters, therapy centers, animal health and pharmaceutical companies, and renowned veterinary practices in the area. The college also has a minor in Equine Studies for Biology majors who may want to continue on to post-graduate programs in Animal/Equine Science or Veterinary School. The facilities at Midway include a working horse farm with hands-on learning with a large herd of horses of all breeds and disciplines. Areas of concentration within the major include horse business management, horse rehabilitation or horse science, along with business or sport management.
https://cha.horse/cha-certifications/#college-university-facility-certification

Ohio University Southern Campus: Located in Ironton, OH, this CHA-Accredited facility trains students for professional positions within the horse industry. Students can choose from several tracts, which include riding instruction, therapeutic riding instruction, assistant trainer, farm business and management, pre-animal science/pre-veterinary technology. The core classes include equine studies introduction, basic equine health care, basic horse handling, and facility management. Other options include classes for teaching techniques, farm design/stable management, horse judging, horse show and event management, business management, studies in equine issues, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, lameness and conditioning, Western riding, English riding, horse evaluation and selection, training and evaluating lesson horses, pasture management, shoeing, and much more.

CHA Certifications

Savannah College of Art and Design: Located in Savannah, GA, the Savannah College of Art and Design offers an advanced equestrian studies degree. There is an equestrian team that is no stranger to winning championships. Equestrian studies classes include Western art; equine business management; horse care and management; principles and theories of riding and training horses; barn construction, design, and facility layout; equine anatomy; equine systems, disorders, and lameness; rules and regulations for competition horses; equine business law and ethics; judging and selection of performance horses; course design; and more. Their facilities include an 80-acre ranch with barns, arenas, pastures, a covered riding arena, and SCAD-owned horses and those boarded by students.
https://cha.horse/cha-certifications/#college-university-facility-certification

South Dakota State Equestrian Team: The Department of Animal Science at South Dakota State offers the South Dakota State Equestrian Team, which became the 21st varsity sport at SDSU in 2004. In 2008, their $3.6 million climate-controlled facility opened with an indoor riding arena, 42 stalls, grooming and wash areas, and on-site vet and farrier work areas. In addition, the Horse Club have trail rides, clinics, rides in parades, social activities, and volunteer work at the Gentle Spirit Horse Rescue. The Equine Studies program offers classes in horse management, Western horsemanship, English horsemanship, equine health and diseases, fundamental equine nutrition, horse production, stable management, reproductive management, yearling halter training, two-year-old saddle training, equine issues and leadership, draft horses, trimming and shoeing, and an equine internship.

CHA Certifications

St Andrews Equestrian Program: Located in Laurinburg, NC, this program at St. Andrews University offers majors in Equine Business Management, Equine Science, Pre-Vet, Therapeutic Horsemanship, and Therapeutic Horsemanship Business Management. St. Andrews also offers teams that compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association events, American National Riding Commission Intercollegiate Equitation Championship, at United States Equestrian Federation-rated hunter/jumper shows, and at hunter/jumper and dressage schooling shows. There are multiple barns and covered arenas, an indoor arena, multiple show and teaching arenas, hunter trials courses, jumps, a dressage arena, and more.

CHA Certifications

West Texas A&M University: West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX, is hosting the 2015 CHA International Conference. The Equine Industry and Business degree prepares students for a career in the horse industry, including production, racing, recreation, competition, and equine-related service industries. West Texas A&M University offers a variety of horse-related student activities, such as Collegiate 4-H and FFA, a horse judging team, a stock horse team, an equestrian team, Block and Bridle, the WT Horseman’s Association, and a Pre-Vet club. Their horse judging teams are some of the best in the country, and since West Texas A&M is a Division II school, their judging teams compete against Division I schools. Also, the Horse Evaluation class that the school offers includes trips to visit top training facilities, and the judging team also competes at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress, the AQHA World Show, the NRHA Futurity, and the AQHYA World Show in Fort Worth, Texas. The WTAMU Horse Center is four miles from Kimbrough Memorial Stadium, and it has 80-acres, an indoor arena, two lighted outdoor arenas, and several round pens. There are around 50 horses in the WTAMU herd.

West Virginia University Equine Studies Program: Located in Morgantown, WV, West Virginia University has a well-rounded equine curriculum combining equine science, horse management, and therapeutic riding courses. The minor in Equine Studies is usually joined with an Animal and Nutritional Sciences major, Agribusiness Management and Rural Development, Agriculture and Extension Education, and majors from outside the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design College. Faculty is made up of experienced horse people, and students can be involves in student organizations, undergraduate research, and in working student opportunities.

CHA Certifications

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

CHA’s and The Right Horse’s Pilot Adoption Program is a Match Made in Horsey Heaven

By Sarah Evers Conrad

At the beginning of this year, the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) announced their involvement with The Right Horse Initiative. This program allows CHA riding instructors in Region 9—Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska—to adopt horses that need new homes for use in their riding lesson programs and/or camp programs. CHA leadership recognized the merits of this program to help the horse industry give a new career to horses new homes. It also helps meet one of the biggest needs of riding instructors—where to get quality mounts for their lesson and therapy programs.

This pilot program is possible thanks to a $14,000 grant given to CHA from the Watershed Group, which funds The Right Horse Initiative. This grant helps with transportation costs for the horses as they are transitioned to their new home.   

CHA is working closely with Harmony Equine Center in Franktown, CO, which serves as a transition center for the horses. Transition centers are organizations and facilities that provide a range of services, including intake, boarding, medical care, and training for the horses that are in transition.

Another transition center that has partnered with CHA is Colorado State University (CSU). CSU receives the horses after they have been processed by Harmony Equine Center. Then CSU students in the equine center start working with the horses to retrain them for a new career. Once they have completed their training, they are placed up for adoption for only $500 to CHA members.

The program kicked off in January 2018, and the first horses to graduate from CSU training moved to their new homes after the spring semester.

Pecos was adopted by Andrea Linzmeyer, a CHA Certified Instructor and Equine Facilities Manager who is the Equine Manager at the Urban Farm in Denver, CO. The 12-year-old Paint gelding will eventually be used as a walk/trot/cancer horse in lessons. However, Pecos developed a soft tissue injury, so he hasn’t been incorporated into the lesson program yet since he is still healing.

Linzmeyer was impressed with the level of training that CSU had given Pecos. “CSU does an amazing job with these horses training,” she said. “They work hard to make sure they are put to the test and will truly succeed as lesson or therapy horses.”

Emmalee Anne Gale, another CHA Certified Instructor who works at the Urban Farm as the Equine Assistant, adopted Gretta. Gretta is a 15-year-old Quarter Horse and Arabian cross mare. The mare settled right in with all of the cows and goats and other animals at the Urban Farm, and she isn’t even phased by the nearby passing trains, said Gale.

Gale said Gretta lacked information about her past history, so she was restarted at CSU by the student that trained her. Gale, who wanted a more green horse, is continuing Gretta’s training for her intermediate to advanced riders.

“Gretta was in great shape and had been well taken care of,” said Gale. “I was able to watch her trainer at the time work with her before I was able to try her myself. I truly enjoy working with Gretta, and I think that she will not only be a great horse for me, but she will also do well in my lessons.”

A third horse was adopted by CHA Certified Instructor Jessie Butler of Fort Collins, CO. Currently, Butler, who is also certified by Path Intl., is the Program Manager at Front Range Exceptional Equestrians and is a therapeutic riding instructor at Hearts and Horses in Loveland, CO. In addition, she has her own lesson program.

Otter, previously named Hunter, is a 16-year-old grade mare. This gray mare settled beautifully into her new home, said Butler. After settling in, Butler introduced her to her students, and she has already become a student favorite in her lesson program.

“Otter came into my program with a great wealth of knowledge,” said Butler about the training the mare received at CSU.

Butler is working on expanding Otter’s knowledge with English riding and with crossrails. “She is learning quickly and is already a superstar for my riders doing trot pole courses,” she added.

“My students and I have loved our little Otter since the moment she stepped hoof on our property!” said Butler. “Kids, teens, and adults in my program constantly gush about how sweet and lovely she is! Otter knows her job as a lesson pony and carries all her riders with grace, a wonderful sense of humor, and just a pinch of spunk—the perfect recipe for a lesson horse. Otter will be loved by myself and my students for a long, long time!”

Butler said adopting from The Right Horse was a wonderful experience. “I highly recommend it to other CHA instructors!” she added. “It was a straight-forward process, and I’m thrilled with how it all turned out!”

Both Gale and Linzmeyer would recommend the program to CHA instructors. “There are some really great horses that are just waiting to have their forever home,” said Linzmeyer. “The Right Horse and CHA teaming up has made it easy for instructors to find good, affordable school horses, as well as give these wonderful horses a second chance. It’s a win-win for all.”

Now that August is here, 12 more horses will be available for adoption in Region 9. CSU’s summer semester students have been busy working with these horses. After the fall semester ends in December of this year, then the third batch of horses will be available.

For more information on The Right Horse, visit http://www.therighthorse.org. To learn more about the partnership between CHA and The Right Horse, please visit .

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

horse, rider, vernal

Prepping Horseback Riding Trails for the Spring

By Sarah Evers Conrad

Trail riding is a favorite past-time of equestrians regardless of breed or discipline. There is nothing like hitting the trail and immersing oneself with nature and one’s mount while taking in fresh air and sunshine. Plus, getting out of the arena for a relaxing trail ride can be good for both rider and horse alike since it can help reduce ring sourness.

To be able to have trails to ride on, it’s important to maintain horseback riding trails for the safety of riders and to minimize the impact we have on the land and wildlife that live in the area. Most trails need to be groomed and maintained at least once per year.

Because many horseback riding trails are on public or community land, trail maintenance is often handled by volunteer organizations, such as a state horse council or a local chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of America (BCHA). Approval often needs to be obtained from trail officials/owners beforehand before a maintenance weekend is set and volunteers are organized.

Below are some of the ways trails should be maintained.

Debris Removal: It’s inevitable on many trails to have fallen trees or limbs on the trail. It’s best to make sure that these are removed so that riders don’t try to ride around this debris and go off trail. Going off trail can cause problems with erosion, and if they venture into a brush- or leaf-covered area next to the original trail, a rider might not be able to spot hazards, such as a hole.

Erosion Issues: Anyone that has ridden down a trail with major ruts caused by erosion knows that there is increased risk for the horse to place a foot wrong or to slide or trip and injure himself. In addition, erosion can totally destroy a trail. Therefore, fixing erosion issues becomes key when dealing with riding trails.

Gravel can be added to areas where water erodes the trail to create a more stable surface that water won’t be able to move as easily as dirt. Synthetic materials can also be used in erosion-prone areas, but not every budget will allow for the installation of these more expensive materials. These materials may also need to be professionally installed or it may be necessary to hire a trail maintenance expert.

Other ways to help hold loose soil in certain areas might be to place logs or branches along the edges of the trail.

Standing Water Issues: Hopefully the trail was originally designed to follow the contours of the terrain and not situated along places of natural water run-off or along a steep uphill or downhill climb. Running water can be quite powerful, and standing water can cause issues with footing, support of the trail, and even loss of the trail itself. Remember that water follows the path of least resistance.

If standing water becomes an issue, then a trail expert may be needed to determine what can help with a particular area’s issues. A drainage ditch, knick (an outsloped drain), a waterbar (a diagonal channel across a trail that diverts surface water), grade changes or reversals, outsloping/cross sloping (leaving the edge of a hillside trail lower than the inside to help shed water), or a rolling grade dip (a knick with a long ramp up on the downhill side) might be strategically placed to deal with the issue. It’s important to understand all of these options since using them incorrectly can cause water issues to worsen or cause issues as water runs to other undesirable locations, such as into another spot on the trail or into a fresh water source.

In addition to the methods above, simply trimming vegetation so sunlight can break through and dry out wet areas could help with standing water issues.

If an area becomes too wet for the foot traffic of horses and riders, it may be necessary to consider re-routing the trail to find drier terrain. Preventing mud through proper trail placement is often easier, and possibly cheaper, than trying to solve continuous issues.

Hazard Removal: One of the biggest hazards and nuisances for riders includes branches that have encroached into their riding space. These can be painful if a rider rides into the branch or if it is accidentally swung back into them or the horse.

Trail maintenance crews need to remove any hazards high enough that the tallest horse and rider can ride through uninjured (think 10 to 12 feet high). In addition, it’s important to consider removing any branches that could also start sagging for any reason, such as when winter snows weigh them down. Vegetation should be cut back in a manner to maintain the health of the plant.

The right tools need to be taken on the trail to remove any form of branch that becomes a hazard. Some tools to take with you include:

  • Chainsaws and axes, for removing logs and really thick branches
  • Garden hand clippers, for cutting small branches up to 1” in diameter
  • Pole saws, for cutting branches high in the air
  • Wire saws, for cutting trees up to 10” in diameter
  • Gloves, to protect hands while working
  • Rope, to pull logs out of the way
  • Hoes and shovels, for displacing dirt or for widening a path

Trash Removal: While it is always important to avoid leaving any trash behind in the first place, this principle is not always followed by everyone in nature. Therefore, trash removal becomes an important aspect of trail maintenance…not only for aesthetics, but also for the safety and health of wildlife in the area.

In addition, offering a sturdy and stable trash receptacle at trail heads or public areas can be important for helping trail users remember to keep nature clean.

Trail Markers: It’s important to make sure the trail is marked in all areas if it is not a clearly obvious and established trail. If signs and maps have become faded, fallen over, or gotten lost, make sure replacements are made and put in place as soon as possible. A rider lost in the woods can be a scary thing for them and loved ones awaiting their return from a ride. If tape is used to mark the trail, ensure that vegetation has not obscured it in any way. Ensure that fallen leaves and snow have also not become an issue for riders who need to spot markers.

Speaking of signs, it’s a good idea to add a sign with the trail’s name, the land owner’s name, and who to call in case of an emergency, if applicable.

Water crossings should also be well marked to minimize foot traffic across a water source and should aim to cross in a straight line if it is safe to do so. Sometimes water crossings might require a culvert or a small bridge.

And finally when thinking about marking trails, it may be necessary to block off any illegitimate trails that trail users may have started so that the entire trail system doesn’t degrade with the creation of these unplanned trails. Allowing horses to create alternate trails can lead to erosion or anger property owners who wish for riders to stay on marked trails only. It can also help riders avoid becoming lost by not allowing them to veer off of known trails, which would also make a lost rider harder for rescue crews to find.

Our final point is to always keep safety in mind when doing trail maintenance. While it may be easy to trim small branches from horseback, this should only be done from a steady, calm, reliable horse. Sharp blades and tools should never be carried by horseback. In addition, it’s important to ensure that you can safely transport tools to where you need to use them on the trail (again, not by horseback) and that you know how to safely use each tool. Make sure to follow typical safety precautions for each tool (e.g., using eye protection if you are using a weed trimmer).

If you wish to inquire about helping with trail maintenance in your local area, you can contact your state’s horse council or the Back Country Horseman of America (BCHA) to find a local chapter. In addition, with their motto of “Keeping Trails Open for Everyone,” BCHA has an abundance of information on protecting access of public lands to equestrians online at http://bcha.org.

Happy Trail Riding!

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

11 Tips from the Experts on Developing an Equestrian Camp Program

By Sarah Evers Conrad

This week we have two Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) certified instructors and equestrian camp experts sharing tips with professionals wishing to start a camp program. Teddy Franke, a CHA Level 4 Certified Instructor in English and Western and a Level 3 Packing Guide, currently manages Morrow Ranch Camp in Wamic, OR. Corinne Lettau, a CHA Level 4 English and Level 2 Western Certified Instructor, owns Denver Equestrians, LLC, and the Colorado Equestrian Center in Littleton, CO. *For their full bios, see below.

Franke and Lettau shared 11 great suggestions with CHA for those who want to plan a riding camp, and CHA has multiple programs and certifications that can help camp managers develop and run their programs.   

Lettau’s suggestions include:

1. Always use safe horses. CHA has a variety of educational materials, including its CHA Standands for Equestrian Programs, its CHA Composite Horsemanship Manual, and articles that have been published in The Instructor magazine that can help educate people on how to find a safe horse, and how to have a safe facility, as well. In addition, the book Horse and Stable Management is part of CHA’s equine facilities manager certification program. Our last blog, titled “Finding a Great Lesson Horse: What to Look For and Consider Before You Shop,” can help camp managers determine if their current horses should be used in a camp program, or if they need to purchase or lease new horses, what qualities a camp horse should have.

http://cha-ahse.org/store/blog/Finding_a_Great_Lesson_Horse_What_to_Look_For_and_Consider_Before_You_Shop.html

2. Use CHA Certified Instructors. One of our first blog posts looked into “Why You Should Find a Certified Riding Instructor.” Many of the reasons listed apply to why a certified instructor should be used in your camp program. One of the top reasons is that CHA riding instructors have been thoroughly tested at a certification clinic to ensure they can teach safely while being effective and providing the student with a fun lesson. CHA certified instructors are tested on five of the most important aspects needed for a good instructor. These are: safety, horsemanship knowledge and ability, teaching techniques, group control, and responsibility and professionalism. A certified instructor knows how to teach and make judgment calls on the fly and deal with situations as they arise. In addition, having instructors with a certification shows the professionalism of your camp program and that you value hiring knowledgeable staff.

http://cha-ahse.org/store/blog/why_a_certified_instructor.html

3. Develop organized lesson plans. Camp instructors and managers can learn how to develop quality lesson plans through CHA’s continuing education opportunities. Sessions at the CHA International Conference, Regional Conferences and at a Certification Clinic often showcase how to plan lessons and organize lesson plans.

4. Develop fun games and horse-related educational activities for the kids. The key to this is to make sure the activities are safe, and since a camp is already using safe horses and has a CHA instructor, then this is a good start. It’s just a matter of letting creativity fly.

5. Provide an outline for the parents so they know what to expect. Good communication is always important between staff, parents, and the campers.

Franke’s suggestions include:

6. Develop leaders. “Camp horse programs can be life sucking for those who try to do it all on their own,” said Franke. “One thing that is especially hard for us horse people is to come to the realization that there are others who can do things as well or better than we can. Part of developing a program means being willing to give parts of your program away. Realize that when you empower another person to help you lead, it WILL be different than you would have done it, but that’s often okay.” One great way to empower staff and to help them succeed is to send staff to CHA skills clinics, regional clinics, the International Conference, and other continuing education events within the horse industry. This allows staff to learn the latest in horsemanship, horse care, horse training, riding, and teaching students.

7. Do what you like. When anyone is teaching a topic, whether it be a school teacher or a riding instructor, learning from someone who is passionate about the topic always makes for a better experience. And by teaching what you love, then you will love what you do and find fulfillment in your chosen profession. “If you don’t follow your passion, you won’t last long,” said Franke. “We sure aren’t in this for the money. Build your camp programs around the disciplines you find captivating. Chances are, if you really love it, you will draw others to it, too. Then down the road you will feel rewarded rather than drained.”

8. Follow standards. “In the horse industry every person has an opinion and no two people agree. At least that’s what I thought before I discovered the Certified Horsemanship Association,” said Franke. “CHA provides a set of industry standards for group riding programs. The standards provide the solid foundation for instructors and for your facility. If not CHA, find an organization that clearly defines your operational practices. This will help you ensure that your program is up to par.” For all of CHA’s standards, read the “CHA Standards for Equestrian Programs” manual, which can be purchased online at https://cha.horse/why-becoming-accredited-is-important-for-equestrian-programs-and-facilities/.

9. Build relationships. One way to build relationships is to network with other CHA professionals at CHA’s in-person events or through other forms of communication, such as email, social media, or by phone. CHA members often share valuable ideas and techniques with each other. “Camp programs of all types, horses included, are about relationships,” added Franke. “Set relationships as a priority, and people will want to be involved on many levels.”

10. Improve communication. “Require frequent, clear communication amongst your staff,” said Franke. “Communicate expectations and allow for failure. When you demand constant perfection, your staff and clients learn that you value tasks and programs over them. Camp should be about learning and growing together towards a goal.”

11. Find effective marketing techniques, and make sure that the general public is aware that you exist. Franke also recommends that you evaluate what types of marketing are effective by asking how people found your program and what made them want to check it out. “We have found that word of mouth is always the best advertising,” said Franke. “That said, nowadays having a simple, functional website that is easy to read, visually appealing, and easy to find is a critical piece, because it’s a landing zone where people first learn the details of your organization. We use a combination of web, social media, word of mouth, radio, billboards, and special events, such as parades and fairs. Showing horses can also help spark interest in a camp program.”

Franke also offered a list of questions that camp managers can use to evaluate their needs and determine what needs to be done before those first campers arrive.

  • Who are you trying to reach? Who is your clientele?
  • What types of programs do you have the expertise to run?
  • Where will you operate? What resources do you need?
  • What is your mission? Why are you starting this program?
  • What business model best fits your mission?
  • Who will manage or run the operation?
  • What legal hurdles could you potentially face?
  • How will people learn about what you are offering?
  • What is your marketing strategy?
  • How do you measure success?

Teddy Franke has been around camp programs most of his life. He grew up around Living Water Ranch Camp in Fairbanks, Alaska, where his parents were camp directors. He learned from the professionals that taught at Living Water Ranch Camp, and he learned from the programs that were offered to hundreds of people every year. In college, he pursued camping horsemanship and ministry by interning at a large camp in the Pacific Northwest. He currently spends time cowboying, starting colts, and managing the camp’s horse program. Camp Morrow provides faith-based programs in two separate facilities, Morrow Lake Camp and Morrow Ranch. The equine program includes day camps, overnight cattle drives, back country pack trips, week-long horse camps, school field trips, and themed camp sessions. For more information, visit CampMorrow.org.

Corinne Lettau said that CHA’s manuals and standardized testing motivated her as a young rider. She has not only become certified but she has studied dressage with some of the best instructors and clinicians in the United States. She took a hiatus from working to be a stay-at-home mom, but when her youngest started kindergarten, she started teaching again. “The transition into growing my own horse camp program was a natural one, and CHA was the company I wanted to model after, given my wonderful experience with them since the late 1970s,” said Lettau. Continuing education is important for the staff at the Denver Equestrians Riding School, which hosts CHA Instructor Certification Clinics, which are open to staff and non-staff. Denver Equestrians offers lessons for adults and children in hunt seat, dressage, jumping or western pleasure, as well as offering boarding training, youth riding clubs, show teams, adult programs, summer camps, birthday parties, leases, and horse sales. For more information, visit DenverEquestrians.com.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

CHA Business/Program Members Share Their Experiences as CHA Members

By Sarah Evers Conrad

The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) has multiple options for membership. The Business/Program Membership is perfect for businesses and associations, such as camps, stables, schools, equine suppliers, and producers. There is a plethora of benefits for Business/Program Members, some of which include special advertising opportunities, free job postings on the CHA job board, a facility link on the CHA online database, marketing and advertising opportunities, continuing education for riding program staff, discounts on CHA products and services, discounts to the CHA International Conference and Regional Conferences, discounts at many tack shops, instructor liability insurance through Equisure and others, the ability to host CHA certification clinics and workshops, and much more. Annual dues are $200.00. In addition, if a Business/Program Member is also a CHA Accredited Site, they receive $25 per year off their annual dues.

Several CHA Business/Program Members wanted to share more about their experiences and benefits from their membership.

Eightfold Farms

Eightfold Farms co-owner and manager Hanna Gamble is CHA Certified at Level 4 for English and Level 3 for Western. She and her mother, Carol, purchased Eightfold Farms in April of 2015. The business became a Business/Program Member as well as a CHA Lifetime Member. This 174-acre facility overlooks the Red River in Benton, LA, and offers lessons, training, rehab, sales, facility rental, and more.

“Eightfold Farms is the manifestation of a lifelong dream, and I feel so blessed to be able to share this special place and safe horsemanship with the next generation,” says Gamble.

Gamble says that she takes pride in being a CHA member and certified instructor and having her actions and her program held to a professional standard. “The Certified Horsemanship Association is a well curated group of equestrian professionals, and it shows,” she adds.

Gamble originally heard about CHA from her first riding instructor, Sig North at Double Rainbow Farm in Haughton, LA. “I absolutely loved the structured learning curriculum and path to advancement that it provided,” adds Gamble. “By being introduced to correct horsemanship at such an early age, I was able to feel comfortable in all types of equestrian settings. These early experiences with CHA had a great impact on my development and are the reason I chose to become a CHA certified instructor and business.”

Gamble plans to use the CHA Instructors Directory this year to host clinics at her farm in the fall. In addition, she shares that CHA has improved her instruction program by increasing access to learning resources for her students and teaching resources for herself. When she teaches a beginning lesson, the student receives a CHA Level 1 Horsemanship Manual. “Students and parents alike love the clear progression of learning in the books,” she says.

For more information, please visit http://www.eightfoldfarms.com.

Marmon Valley Farm

The family-owned Marmon Valley Farm in Zanesfield, OH, is the largest Christian horse camp in Ohio. With 150 well-trained horses and ponies, Marmon Valley Farm has been specializing in horseback riding for more than 50 years for guests of all ages. This CHA Business/Program Member and Host Site offers riding lessons, pony rides, trail rides, special events, and an “Adopt-a-Horse” program for frequent riders to focus on one horse for riding and grooming without all the responsibilities of horse ownership.

Executive Director Matt Wiley is co-owner with his sister, Jane Olsen, while his wife, Kathy, serves as Lessons Coordinator. Wiley’s parents started Marmon Valley, which became a CHA member in 1968. “My father, Bill Wiley, saw the value of a progressive and standardized program and got involved to the point of running the CHA office from our camp for several years,” says Wiley. “It is helpful to see the results as campers return from year to year.”

“I think CHA is well designed for camp and lesson barns,” he adds, although he would love to see more private barns get involved and utilize the materials available through CHA at www.CHA.horse

For more information, please visit https://marmonvalley.com.

Houghton College and Riding Camp 

Houghton College in Houghton, NY, not only became a Business/Program Member, but it is a CHA Accredited Site and a CHA Host Site for clinics and workshops. It is also the site of the 2019 CHA International Conference. Joanne Young began directing the equestrian program at Houghton College in 1986. She is a CHA Clinician, a Trail Guide Instructor (Level 2), a Site Visitor Trainer, and a Lifetime CHA Member.

Houghton College is a Christian liberal arts college that offers CHA certification as part of its existing equine studies curriculum. Young describes the equine studies program further. “Houghton College Equestrian Program specializes in helping each equestrian student discover and develop the special skills, interests, and talents God gave them in a way that prepares her or him to serve/work/build a career in the best niche for them in the equestrian world.”

“I quickly realized the awesome networking available through CHA; the access to excellent educational materials; and the high standards for teaching, for horse care, and for safety would blend with and reinforce my goals for a high-quality program at Houghton College,” continues Young. “As soon as budget would allow, I had the college become a Business/Program Member, and I became an Individual Life Member.”

One fringe benefit for Young has been the wonderful friendships and connections that Young has made with “outstanding professional horsemen in many different disciplines and venues,” of which some have become internship mentors for Houghton College students.

Now that Young is semi-retired, Larissa Ries is the current program director and also a CHA Assistant Clinician for CHA’s Standard English/Western Certification and for the Equine Facility Managers Certification.

According to Young, being a CHA Business/Program Member has given nationwide exposure for the college’s equestrian program, has led to excellent jobs for some students, and has lent even greater credibility to the quality of equestrian education at Houghton College.

For more information, please visit http://www.houghton.edu/equestrian.

Blue Star Camps

Blue Star Camps in Hendersonville, NC, sits on 500 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers campers English riding instruction on specially trained, camp-owned horses with all instruction by CHA instructors, trail rides through the 10,400 acre forest preserve, and a camp-wide horse show. Blue Star Camps is a CHA Business/Program Member, an Accredited Site, and is a CHA Host Site.

Louise Hardman, Equestrian Director of Blue Star Camps, is a CHA Assistant Clinician for English and a Level 2 Western Instructor, along with being a Lifetime CHA Member. She believes that CHA Accreditation helps facilities and equine programs to strive for excellence.

Blue Star Camps joined as a Business/Program Member and became accredited to show potential and current customers that they care about operating Blue Star Camps using set safety and quality standards set by CHA, which are explained in CHA’s Standards for Equestrian Programs manual. “Just like certification gives an individual added legitimacy, site accreditation gives added legitimacy to those facilities who go through the process,” she adds. “It is a great way to show that you care to meet industry standards and that you care about the welfare of your animals, staff, and clients.”

Hosting a CHA certification has been a great way for all of the Blue Star Camps staff to become certified. “In addition, we open it to outside participants, which is a great way to meet more wonderful horse people,” adds Hardman.

For more information, please visit https://www.bluestarcamps.com.

If you would like to become a CHA Business/Program Member and take advantage of the benefits mentioned above, please visit .

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

the horse, horseback riding, training

The Top 15 Benefits of Horseback Riding

By Sarah Evers Conrad

Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to learn how to ride. The benefits of horseback riding are innumerable and are shared amongst all horseback riders. If you are already a rider, you may be thinking that you don’t need this information. But I hope you will continue reading. I imagine I am not the only horse person who has met people who could not understand why I loved riding so much. If you have too, the next time this happens, please share this blog post. And if someone is considering a new hobby, maybe the information below will help convince you to join the rider ranks.

I was first bitten by the horse bug at age five when I saw the movies “The Black Stallion” and “The Black Stallion Returns” for the first time. I was five. From that point on, I devoured any horse book I could get my hands on. At age 10, I was able to start horseback riding lessons. My parents finally gave in to all of the begging. Horseback riding has been my main hobby throughout my life. So I have experienced many of the benefits of horseback riding firsthand. I know that being involved with horses has led me to be the person I am today.

Let’s discuss some of the benefits you can expect to have from riding horses regularly.

Positive Character Traits

Horseback riding teaches responsibility to those who ride and even more so to those who take care of horses. Horse caretakers must know how to care for the horse during times of health and illness. Learning all about horse health, along with tack and farm care, involves a lot of time and responsibility in order to put that knowledge into practice every single day for the benefit of the horse. In addition, horseback riding teaches patience, discipline, understanding, empathy, compassion, self-control, and dedication. Without these traits, the rider will not go far in their horsemanship studies.

Physical Health

Horseback riding is physically demanding and can help you stay in shape. In fact, it is now considered moderate-intensity exercise after the 2011 publication of a study commissioned by the British Horse Society (BHS) to look at the physical health, psychological, and well-being benefits of recreational riding. The study was done through the University of Brighton with help from Plumpton College.

To be considered moderate-intensity, researchers determined that riding must be done for at least half an hour or more, three times per week. This level of activity meets England’s recommendations for minimal level of activity and beyond. In addition, activities associated with riding burns energy at a moderate intensity. Horseback riding can burn hundreds of calories, as does grooming and saddling. Please note: Actual calories burned depends on body weight, workout intensity, conditioning level, and metabolism. 

Riders can develop better reflexes and a sense of balance and coordination as they use their entire body to guide and propel the horse forward. Riding also offers cardio benefits. Riding, lifting saddles onto the back of a horse, mucking stalls, moving hay bales, etc., builds muscles and physical strength.

Problem-Solving

Riders must learn to problem solve and make quick decisions from the back of the horse. For instance, if a horse is set on going one way and the rider wants to go the other, he/she has to determine how to make a 1,000-pound animal go the direction that the rider has chosen in a humane and safe way. The unexpected can happen and riders must think quickly in the saddle to remain safe and in control.

Psychological Health

The study completed by the BHS concluded that horseback riding stimulated mainly positive psychological feelings. More than 80% of rider questionnaire responses claim that horseback riding made them feel “quite a lot” or “extremely cheerful, relaxed, happy, or active.” Learning to ride develops confidence and self-esteem. When a rider learns how to stay on and also meet goals set by a riding instructor or themselves, those feelings of “I can do this,” really make an impact. After all, riding is not easy. And not everyone can do it. Becoming a skilled rider means that you have a skill many people do not. In addition to self confidence, riders may gain an increase in self-esteem and self-image.

Companionship

Horses are social creatures just like humans. Being able to communicate and interact with an animal has already been shown to have a positive effect on people, as has been experienced by those involved with therapeutic riding programs. As a past volunteer for therapeutic riding programs, I have seen children who would not talk much with people. But when they were around horses, they opened up and communication was not a problem. The children saw the therapy horse as their companion and confidante. According to the BHS study, one of the biggest motivations for going horseback riding was “interaction with horses.” Horses make wonderful companion animals and many equestrians call horses their best friends.

Socialization

If we look at the benefits that therapeutic riding has been shown to give to riders, improved interpersonal skills and socialization skills are on the list. Equestrians know they are never alone in this hobby. Riders will socialize with their horses, each other, their riding instructors, employees at the barn, those at competitions, etc. The horse industry is a very social community full of people who will help each other and help care for other horses.

At every barn I have ever been, I developed friends and sometimes lifelong relationships. I have seen people help each other countless times during shows, trail rides, riding lessons, and just hanging out around the barn. In addition, those who ride are members of a variety of horse organizations…from breed registries, to sports organizations, discipline-specific organizations, local clubs, etc. Once you ride, you become part of this entire new world.

  

Competition

Those who like to compete have a number of disciplines and horse sports to choose from in order to compete with their equine partner. From hunter/jumpers to reining, to dressage, driving, eventing, vaulting, polo, trail classes, gaited competitions, to western events like reined cow and barrel racing–the options are endless.

Transportation

Let’s not forget the main reason that people domesticated horses and began riding in the first place: for transportation. People decided that horses would be a great mode of transportation, and this greatly changed the course of history. Many cultures still use horses for this reason. And for those who weren’t in to riding, eventually man learned to drive horses.

The World from Horseback

Horseback riding offers a way to see the world. I know that trail riding has been one of my favorite ways to spend time on horseback. Whether it was riding through the fields and woods of my home state of Virginia, or to the snowy landscape of Ohio during winter, to cantering down the beach in Florida on vacation, to riding through swamps and the lowlands of South Carolina, trail riding has allowed me to see parts of the country I never would have otherwise. It is a great way to see the world doing something you absolutely love.

A Return to Nature

Horseback riding brings us out into the fresh air and closer to nature. Our society spends so much time indoors. We should take every opportunity we can to get outside for some exercise and fresh air with one of our most beautiful animals. In fact, this is why many riders started riding according to questionnaire respondents from the BHS study. Eighty percent of respondents ranked “contact with nature” and “scenery and views” as “important,” “very important,” or “extremely important.”

Relaxation

Horseback riding is relaxing. In fact, therapeutic riding has shown to reduce muscle spasticity as tight muscles are stretched due to the natural motion of the horse. We know going for a walk can be relaxing. When a horse walks with a rider on his back, the rider’s pelvis moves in the same motion as if he or she were walking. In addition, riding has been known to increase the range of motion of joints, allowing riders to move more freely.

Lifestyle

Being a horseback rider can leads to a certain lifestyle. But that is for the rider to determine what kind of lifestyle with horses they wish to have. For instance, some love to be rough and wild on the range with a ranch and working horses. On the opposite end of the spectrum might be the rider who travels from show to show in an effort to win ribbons and be the best rider on a circuit or in a show series. Or maybe you want to just be a weekend warrior and ride occasionally. And there are many different lifestyles and variations, and the ability to create a totally unique lifestyle.

Career

And since I have worked in the horse industry as a journalist, one of the benefits of my horseback riding experience has also been a means of livelihood for me. I wouldn’t have wanted to begin my career in journalism any other way. And the same is true for so many people I know…the benefits of horseback riding led them to find a career with horses.

Love and the Human-Animal Bond

There is nothing like loving a horse, except for knowing that the same horse loves you back. The human-animal bond is one of the best reasons to learn to ride. Horses are willing to become true partners with their riders. If treated with respect, kindness, and love, then the bond that develops is truly amazing and inspiring.

Fun

Anyone who has sat on the back of a horse knows that it is just plain fun. After all, why else would equestrians spend so much of their money and so much of their time on horses. Because it is worth it. Riding can make you feel more alive than other hobbies. There is an adventurousness to it. It offers freedom, movement, and makes amazing feats of athleticism possible. And there is a total thrill with galloping across an open field, in tune with your mount.

I don’t regret a single hour I have spent with horses. Not every moment on horseback is like the scene from a movie where the star rides off into the sunset. Just like learning any new skill, learning to ride involves hard work and dedication. Add in some dirty stalls, stubborn horses, chores by the bucketload, and exhausting days and you will have the time of your life.

So I am curious, what are your favorite benefits of horseback riding? Share with us in the comments below.   

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at HYPERLINK “http://www.equestrianjournalist.com” www.equestrianjournalist.com.

Julie Goodnight, Photo by Whole Picture

Why CHA’s Individual Membership is a Good Idea

By Sarah Evers Conrad

Being part of a business organization is important for business owners, and the horse industry has a variety of business organizations that people can join as members. The Certified Horsemanship Association offers valuable benefits to its members. The membership is made up of horseback riding instructors; driving instructors or vaulting coaches; trail guides; staff or managers at equine facilities, schools, or camps; equine education professionals; extension agents; and people aspiring to one of those positions. According to Terri Weaver, CHA’s Membership Services Director, “CHA is the premiere organization for riding instructors in North America. Joining CHA makes you part of a community of like-minded individuals who focus on safety in horseback riding instruction.”

There are different benefits based on the level of membership and the certification or accreditation achieved. For instance, Individual Members receive different benefits (mentioned below) than a Business/Program Member receives. Furthermore, CHA Individual Members who become certified receive additional benefits to the ones listed below. Furthermore, Business/Program Members that become Site Accredited receive even more benefits. We will take a look at the different levels. First, let’s look at the benefits that Individual Members receive.

The Top 12 Benefits to Individual Membership

  • The most popular benefit that draws people to the Certified Horsemanship Association is the ability to maintain a professional riding instructor certification or one of its other certifications.

And it isn’t just a piece of paper to make you “official.” CHA members like that CHA’s certification is a rigorous program that requires a multi-day intensive certification clinic, where they are required to demonstrate their ability to be an instructor in front of two of CHA’s Certified Clinicians and a group of their peers. This gives more credibility to a CHA Certified Instructor than someone who has a certification from an organization that only certifies by video. CHA’s hands-on certification clinics ensure that all instructors are being certified to the correct level through a hands-on demonstration of their skills and knowledge. Certification clinics are also very affordable, usually ranging from $600-$900, and that fee generally includes lodgings, meals, manuals, and certification fees. To learn more about why a CHA Certification is beneficial, read the section titled, “The Importance of Certification from CHA” in our blog post Why You Should Find a Certified Riding Instructor.
http://cha-ahse.org/store/blog/why_a_certified_instructor.html

  • Being a member of a professional organization such as CHA can reassure your clients/customers that you are indeed a professional. With access to an organization that offers a variety of benefits, your membership helps you to operate your business as an informed and educated business owner vs. someone who teaches riding for a few extra bucks. Don’t forget that your CHA membership and costs related to certification or continuing education are tax-deductible business expenses.
  • All Individual Members receive a subscription to CHA’s yearly magazine, The Instructor. In addition, thanks to the partnerships that CHA has developed, members also receive access to Stable Management online.  Members can also enjoy free classified ads in our monthly E-blast and discounted ad space on our website.
  • CHA provides a plethora of FREE educational materials to its members through a variety of mediums, such as its website CHA.horse, safety videos that anyone can use on their website or share on social media, a variety of horsemanship manuals, a monthly radio show through the Horse Radio Network, posters, this blog, and much more. CHA Members also get a discount on its monthly educational webinars. Your membership dollars get put to good use through CHA’s continuing education efforts https://cha.horse/education/#cha-webinars.
  • It is important for anyone operating an equine business to have insurance due to possible liability issues. CHA members get discounts with almost any insurance carrier. This is another major benefit to membership. You will need to mention your membership and ask what kind of discount the insurance carrier offers. For an additional fee, members can purchase instructor liability insurance and/or a personal excess liability insurance policy, which is in addition to the primary liability insurance, through Equisure.
  • Another great benefit is listing in the Online Membership Directory at chainstructors.com, however this is only for CHA members that hold a certification or accreditation (Individual Members and Business/Program Members). However, this is such a great benefit for promotion of your business that we are including in this list, even though members who are not certified won’t be listed. CHA’s certified instructors are also promoted through other programs and initiatives that CHA is involved with.
  • Each Individual Member can vote, can serve as a candidate to be on the board of directors, is able to participate on committees, and can volunteer.
  • Members have access to CHA’s senior management and can ask for technical support when they have questions regarding their program or facility.
  • Members get discounts on a lot of the products and services sold through CHA at CHA events and through their online store. CHA also offers discounts to members on advertising in The Instructor, the e-newsletter, event programs, etc. In addition, members can place a FREE classified ad in the monthly e-newsletter (up to 25 words). Members looking for employees can advertise jobs through CHA. Although it varies by tack shop, CHA members also can get discounts at most tack shops if you show proof of membership and ask about a discount.
  • One of the best benefits to CHA Individual Membership is the discounts to CHA’s events, such as its skills clinics and regional and international conferences.
  • If you are becoming certified for the first time, CHA offers the remainder of your first year’s membership for FREE at the completion of your first certification clinic. Keep in mind that the next year, in order to keep your certification level, you must renew your CHA membership, and you must become re-certified every three years.
  • Members of CHA have amazing networking opportunities with other CHA members through CHA events, the private Facebook group, and through participation on committees or the board of directors. Since most of the membership is certified, and with CHA’s high standards required to receive certification, you know you are networking with a group of very knowledgeable horsemen and horsewomen.

Membership begins every year on January 1. If you are a current member, now is the time to renew for the current calendar year. And if you are new to CHA, then signing up as early in the year as possible means more value for your money. If you wish to join for two or three years at a time so you don’t have to worry about renewing every year, then that option is available. If you plan to be a riding instructor or staff at an equine facility for 12 years or more, there is a lifetime membership. That means that after 12 years, you are in essence a CHA member for FREE, although recertification every three years is still required. That is a great value since many members have been instructors for much longer than 12 years.

>> Click here for current CHA Membership rates and benefits.

Keep in mind that additional benefits are available to those that become CHA Certified Riding Instructors and those that go on to have their facility site accredited.

Next time, we will discuss the benefits that a Business/Program Member receives, so stay tuned to the blog for more information on CHA Membership. In the meantime, feel free to comment below and tell us what your favorite benefit of membership is or if we missed any.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

The Certified Horsemanship Association office, Kentucky

12 Benefits for Equine Businesses That Join the Certified Horsemanship Association

By Sarah Evers Conrad

Today is the second-part of our two part series on the benefits offered by the Certified Horsemanship Association to its members. Last time, we talked about the benefits of Individual Membership, which encompasses instructors; coaches; equine educational professionals; extension agents; trail guides; staff and managers at equine facilities, schools, and camps; etc. If you fit in that group, you can learn more if you read, “Why CHA’s Individual Membership is a Good Idea.”

Business/Program Members receive their own set of benefits. This membership group is for equine businesses or associations; stables, camps, and schools; as well as equine suppliers and producers. One important thing to know is that benefits are for the company as a whole or go to one designated representative of the company. If individual staff want certain benefits, they should look into the Individual Membership category.

The Top 12 Benefits to Business/Program Membership

  • Site Accreditation: The biggest benefit for Business/Program Members is that they are eligible to become Site Accredited. Just like Individual Members who are certified have added benefits as a result of their certification, Business/Program Members that have gotten their Site Accreditation receive added benefits. If you are a Business/Program Member that has become Site Accredited, it shows potential and current customers that you care about operating your business using set safety and quality standards set by CHA and explained in CHA’s Standards for Equestrian Programs Manual. Just like certification gives an individual added legitimacy, Site Accreditation gives added legitimacy to those facilities who go through the process. It is a great way to show that you care to meet industry standards and that you care about the welfare of your animals.
  • Promotion of Your Facility: One of the biggest benefits for Business/Program Members is listing in the online database on CHAInstructors.com. However, it is important to note that your business must be Site Accredited for listing. To continue the listing, Site Accreditation must be current and renewed every three years through written and photographic documentation. This online database includes Certified Individual Members as well and is marketed by CHA throughout the equine industry. This additional marketing acts as an added way to market your business.
  • Insurance Discounts: Discounts on liability insurance and personal excess liability insurance are another major benefit for Business/Program Members. Members will need to ask the insurance company for the discount, and if the insurance company has not heard of CHA, then CHA will provide the insurance company with a letter and a copy of CHA’s Standards for Equestrian Programs Manual. A facility has never been turned down (up to this point) for a discount, and the discount has always been at least 10%. In addition, facilities that are Site Accredited can get a deeper discount.
  • The Benefits of Individual Membership: Business/Program Members receive most of the benefits that Individual Members receive. For more details, see our last blog. However, to summarize, these benefits include subscriptions to magazines (CHA’s The Instructor, Stable Management, Trail Rider, and Equus), free educational materials provided by CHA, the ability to vote and participate on the board of directors and committees, access to CHA’s senior management to ask for technical support on their program or facility, discounts at tack shops with proof of membership, and networking opportunities with other CHA members at events and online in the private Facebook group.
  • Event Discounts: Business/Program Members receive discounts for their representatives that they send to CHA events, such as the annual CHA International Conference, regional conferences, and certification clinics, skills clinics, and workshops.
  • Certification Clinic Hosts: Business/Program Members are the only ones allowed to host CHA certification clinics and workshops. Those who wish to host an event must submit an application to CHA and be approved, but site accreditation is not required. Hosting a clinic or workshop can be a great way for a stable, school, or camp to have all of their staff become certified in the most economical way possible. In addition, if the clinic is opened to outside participants, it could be a way to offset the cost of running a clinic for their own staff or could provide added income from outside participant registration. Please note: CHA is not involved with the costs of running the clinic, but a contract must be entered into between the host facility and the CHA Clinic Staff who will certify participants. The registration fee is set by the facility and generally includes lodgings, meals, manuals, and certification fees.
  • Advertising: Business/Program Members are allowed to advertise in CHA’s monthly e-newsletter and receive a free classified ad once per year (up to 25 words). There are also extra marketing and advertising opportunities and discounts with CHA in their magazine, event programs, and online.
  • Job Postings: Business/Program Members are the only ones who can post FREE job postings online and discounted job postings in the monthly e-newsletter.
  • Listing On Both Websites: Business/Program Members can receive a link, a brief description of their business, and their logo on the CHA main website and CHAInstructors.com under the navigation heading of “Find Equine Facilities” on the page “Equine Business and Association Links.”
  • Volume Discounts: Business/Program Members receive volume discounts on CHA merchandise, such as books and program materials.
  • Business Contacts: Since most of CHA’s membership is certified, and with CHA’s high certification and accreditation standards, you know you are part of a group of very knowledgeable horsemen and horsewomen and aligned with other businesses and associations who care about safety standards and welfare of the horse. CHA provides a great way to connect with each other for business and social purposes.
  • Tax Deduction: CHA Business/Program Membership and costs related to Site Accreditation, hosting a certification clinic, or attending CHA events for continuing education are tax-deductible business expenses.

Business/Program Membership is only $200 and those that are Site Accredited receive a $25 discount. Lifetime Business/Program Membership is $2,500. Membership runs by calendar year, so current Business/Program Members who wish to renew for 2015 should do so by January 1 so that their membership benefits are not interrupted. Those who want to be new members will receive the most value if they join by January 1 or as soon in the year as possible.

CHA is a very welcoming organization for all its members. CHA thanks every single member for your participation, ideas, and time. Each member is what makes CHA what it is today.

If your organization is a Business/Program Member, let us know in the comments below what the best benefit has been for your company or equine program and how long you have been a member.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

Evolution of the Certified Horsemanship Association: From the Beginnings to Today’s Programs and Accomplishments

By Sarah Evers Conrad

The Certified Horsemanship Association’s 50th Anniversary will be in 2017, and even though we are still two years out from that momentous year, we can celebrate what CHA has accomplished in its amazing history to-date. The Certified Horsemanship Association has a long history of involvement with certifying riding instructors and has certified over 25,000 individuals since its beginning in 1967. The organization currently serves around 3,500 active members, which include individual members, businesses and equine facility members, non-profits, and others in the horse industry. Since every horse person strives for safe experiences around horses, CHA’s Mission Statement, “To promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the entire horse industry,” showcases the importance of CHA within the horse industry.

CHA’s Growth from the Early Days
The vision of CHA began with Dan Hemphill. Hemphill was a camp owner in Texas who was hiring high school and college students to help with his riding camps. He noticed a need for one organization that could set standards and certify instructors based on those standards. CHA started out with the name Camp Horsemanship Association until the 1980s when it was renamed as the Certified Horsemanship Association.

Now the organization is run by a small professional staff and the board of directors which seats volunteers from all 12 of CHA’s regions. CHA also offers the following committees: Marketing/Membership, Finance, Education and Training, Research and Development, International Conference, and the International Clinics Ad-Hoc Committee.

The organization’s certification program has expanded well beyond just camp staff. It now includes certification in the following areas: Standard Arena Instruction in English and Western, Trail Guide, Combined Trail and Arena, Instructors of Riders with Disabilities, Seasonal Equestrian Staff, College/University, Equine Facility Managers, Driving Instructor and Certified Driver, Vaulting Coach, and Site Accreditation.

In addition to certification, a Site Accreditation program was started. CHA also began offering educational conferences, complete student curriculums, achievement awards for students, and it also gives out awards to its members in various areas.

CHA’s Awards Program Beginnings
CHA’s Awards Program began in 1996 with the first CHA Partners in Safety Award, which honors an individual or organization that has helped the equine industry and CHA, as well as the equine community at-large in promoting safety and awareness. In addition, that same year the first CHA Volunteer of the Year Award was given. It was fitting that one of the first awards created honors an outstanding volunteer, since CHA has really relied on and grown thanks to the many volunteers that help with CHA’s mission.

In 2002, CHA started honoring the top school horses with the CHA School Horse of the Year Award, and the partnership with Stone Horses has allowed the owner of the winning horse to receive a lifelike Stone Horse model from the company. The next year, CHA added the CHA Clinic Instructor of the Year and the CHA Instructor of the Year Awards to honor those outstanding instructors and clinicians who personify the ideals of “safe, effective, and fun” during their lessons and clinics. The final CHA award, the CHA Distinguished Service Award, was added in 2009 as a lifetime achievement award for an individual who has gone above and beyond throughout the years to promote and uphold the mission of CHA.

Evolution of CHA’s Educational Materials
In 1969, Hemphill and a group of instructors created the first printed horsemanship and safety standards called the Camp Horsemanship Manual. Today, it has evolved into the CHA Composite Manual of Horsemanship Levels 1-4 and the various manuals for each level. Over the years, it has been edited and revised by CHA staff, the board, and specially chosen leaders from within the horse industry. It is currently undergoing another revision, set for publishing in 2016 or 2017.

This guide was the first set of safety and horsemanship standards in North America and is a collaboration from equine professionals in a variety of breeds and disciplines. As CHA Master Instructor and Clinician Julie Goodnight writes in the Forward of the latest composite manual, “The sheer fact that scores of horse people can come together and agree upon the best methods for teaching horsemanship is a great feat…This manual contains a tried and true curriculum for the safest and most effective methods of teaching horsemanship. It is one of the most comprehensive manuals of horsemanship on the market today.”

The Composite Manual was just the beginning of CHA’s production of educational materials. In addition, CHA now produces the CHA Standards for Equestrian Programs. This manual lists standards for a safe equestrian facility so that facilities and individuals can develop an individualized program based around safety. Facilities follow these published guidelines to achieve CHA Site Accreditation. Additional guidelines have been added to the Standards for Equestrian Programs as CHA grew to include certification options for instructors involved with vaulting, trail, driving, and riders for disabilities, along with a certification for equine facility managers.

Over the years, CHA’s educational materials have been used in equine programs large and small, including top-notch programs at various colleges and universities, the US Pony Club, PATH International, 4H programs, and more.

As CHA has grown, it has added more educational materials. Additional guides include the Trail Guide Manual, Riding Instructor and Trail Guide Manual, Standards for Group Riding Programs, a combination manual, and Ready to Ride? Finding a Program and Getting Prepared for Your Adventure.

CHA’s official magazine, The Instructor, has grown from a black-and-white four-page publication to a beautiful four-color magazine with informative features and important information about CHA for its members and non-members alike. Other educational content includes content on its two websites (www.CHA-AHSE.org and www.CHAInstructors.com), monthly e-blasts with educational articles and news, YouTube videos that are available for people to embed on their websites, CHA’s blog, webinars, posters, educational DVDs, a mini level CD, and a monthly segment on the Horses in the Morning radio show/podcast, etc. Members also receive free subscriptions to Trail Rider, Equus, and Stable Management magazines.

In addition to CHA’s educational materials, CHA’s communication avenues have grown due to their active presence on various social media platforms. We discussed all of those options last month in the blog post titled, “Socially CHA.” To connect with us, you can see all the options within that post.

CHA is also proud to be partnered with some great corporate sponsors in the horse industry. These partners are discussed in “CHA’s Partnerships with Other Top Equine Organizations Offers Benefits to All.” CHA values its partners and looks forward to more partnerships in the future.

The Certified Horsemanship Association has grown tremendously since Hemphill’s original vision, and the organization owes its success to its members, volunteers, board of directors, staff, and partners. With so many people working toward the success of this equine non-profit, the sky is the limit in the future, and CHA hopes others will join us for the ride.

Sarah Evers Conrad is currently the Digital Content Editor at Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She also owns All In Stride Marketing. She is an award-winning equestrian journalist with a background in magazine publishing, feature writing, news and event coverage, editing, digital marketing, social media, and website management. Conrad has been published in equine publications such as The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Camp Business magazine, Lexington Family magazine, and HorsesDaily.com and DressageDaily.com. She is also the current editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine. Conrad has also edited several books, including CHA’s “The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding.” Learn more at www.equestrianjournalist.com.

Tightening the Belt: Tips for Cutting Expenses

Horse professionals are used to operating on thin margins without sacrificing care or customer service. However, there are times when cutting expenses may be necessary. For some, it can be a chore, but can also be an opportunity to get creative in finding ways of trimming costs while still providing the necessities. Here are four ideas for reducing expenses without cutting corners on the care horses need.

Negotiate rates
When bills come due, it’s routine to just pay them. For some, services such as insurance, discounts and negotiations may be possible. Valerie McCloskey CHA Director from Rome, New York called her insurance agent when her state issued pandemic restrictions prohibited visitors, slashing her lesson program.

“Most of the cost in our premiums is liability due to lessons,” she says. “I asked that if the current situation goes on for months and I’m not teaching on the farm if that could go down.”

Cell phone carriers and television providers are notorious for undercutting competitors rates to gain a new client. Shop around and compare prices. Saving on several bills can add up.

Making the most of on property resources
Horses need to eat and scrimping on hay or feed quality isn’t an option. However, stables with property may be able to rely on grazing to provide the horse’s nutritional needs. Turning horses out on well-maintained pastures not only reduces hay and grain, it also reduces bedding use and the labor required to clean stalls. Some horses might not need as many supplements if they are not working as well.

Delaying expenses
Routine vet and farrier visits are necessities for keeping healthy horses. However, delaying certain services may be an option. For example, if a horse isn’t competing and is sound, routine trimming may suffice. Similarly, it may be possible to postpone maintenance appointments like chiropractic care, acupuncture or dental work when a healthy horse is temporarily not working.

Buy in bulk
Purchasing large quantities costs more up front but can provide significant savings over the long term. Buying in bulk also means room for storage is necessary. 

“I try to order hay in larger loads for a better price,” says Amy Obringer a CHA Regional Director and Certified Instructor from California. “I’m always looking for deals on supplements and medications and I share vet fees when I can.”

Barn Time is a Stress Reliever, Especially During Times of Uncertainty

When a pandemic limits or prohibits clients from stopping by it’s still possible to keep clients connected and progressing in their training. When New York state restricted boarders’ access to stables, CHA Regional Director and Certifier Valerie McCloskey from Rome, New York got creative. Here she shares how she’s staying connected with clients at her Whisper Wind Equestrian Centre facility when they can’t be there in-person.

Groundwork Mondays
McCloskey requires boarders to take one lesson a week. When her state’s emergency response plan prohibited visitors, she knew the horses needed to stay in shape. In addition to riding the horses for clients, she introduced “Groundwork Mondays.”

“We take five second video clips of the horses in groundwork sessions and send it to each owner with a little feedback report,” she says. “It lets everybody know how their horse did and gives them a chance to see their horse.”

Virtual lessons
Teaching on digital platforms isn’t a new concept. Skype, GoogleHangouts, FaceTime and other platforms make it convenient for off-site, real-time coaching sessions.

“The rider wears a blue tooth device to hear me, while someone on the ground videos them,” says McCloskey.

If a live coaching session isn’t an option, clients submit a video for review. She watches and provides feedback by phone or email.

Social media
Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat and messenger services make it easier than ever to stay in touch. McCloskey put the stable’s private Facebook group to use adding daily updates and snapshots of the day’s activities.

“We opened the stall doors, let the horses stick their heads out for treats and posted it to our private page so that everyone at least gets to see their horse,” she says.

Pursue projects
Slower schedules means there is time to start a new project. McCloskey always wanted to offer instructional videos on a YouTube channel, but never found the time.

“It was something I always wanted to do. If all goes as planned, I’ll be posting new videos once a week,” she says.

Moving forward
Sticking to a normal routine and doing daily chores helps. “Put your head down, put your tail to the wind and trudge on through and try to keep things as normal as possible and know you’re not alone,” McCloskey says.

Marketing Your Equine Business in Today’s Digital World

By Sarah Evers Conrad

We all know that horse business owners are some of the most passionate business people out there. However, just having passion for what you do won’t pay the bills. It’s all about working smart and hard, and working smart involves your marketing strategy. Marketing is crucial for businesses. With the explosion of technological advances over the past 15 years, digital marketing has become an essential way to market, and makes a great additive to your marketing plan. Traditional marketing techniques such as direct mail and TV and radio advertising can be much more expensive than today’s digital marketing techniques, such as email marketing, social media, and content marketing. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best digital marketing methods to market your equine business, what makes them a great option, and why you can’t afford to not be using them.

Digital marketing can help get you found by new customers, grow your online presence, increase your reach within your niche, connect you with your target audience, educate your customers and potential customers, promote a specific product or service, gain more leads that you can convert to customers, raise your brand awareness, build your reputation as an expert, and/or help you understand your target audience and their wants and needs. However, it’s important to not try to do all of this at once. Instead, carefully choose a few of the goals above, work in phases, and as you accomplish goals, add on additional strategies.

Integrate for Increased Impact

One of the biggest keys to digital marketing is integrating various forms so they can work together to create a bigger impact. For instance, driving traffic to your website through social media and asking for site visitors to sign-up for your email list should put them into a sales funnel, which then lets you build the “Know, Like, and Trust Factor” with your audience using content marketing. During all of this, you can offer your products and services, which then converts your original web leads into customers.

Why is this important in the horse industry? Sales is a process, and research has shown that it can take between three and 12, or more, touches before a sale is made. Obviously if it is a more impulsive buy, you might make a sale in one or two touch-points if the customer already knows, likes, and trusts you. However, in the equine industry, we all know that riding lessons, camp programs, tack and equipment, and especially the horses themselves, would not be considered impulse purchases. Therefore you need to reach out in different ways to your potential customers and focus on relationship building.

The marketing techniques you choose will depend on the phase of business you are in (start-up, growth, or established business), your target audience, and your brand. For instance, start-ups should first start with creating a website and building an email list while a business in the growth phase may be growing their social media presence, while an established business will have already established their online presence with plenty of online content and be seen as a leader in their industry.

Methods of Digital Marketing

The Big Four that all businesses should establish first are:

  • Website
  • Social media
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing

These four methods integrate well with each other. Once these are set up and running smoothly, you can advance into other areas of digital marketing. Let’s look at the first three to establish.

Websites: While people may hear about your business through word-of-mouth, it’s very likely that they will then turn to the Internet to learn more about you. Your website lets you get found, especially when you make sure to share the link as much as possible. For instance, if you are a CHA certified instructor or a CHA accredited facility, your listing in CHA’s database at CHAInstructors.com can help drive people to your website, but only if you have one and add the link. This gives you an edge over your competitors when someone does a search for riding instructors in your area. These potential customers can then visit your site and learn more about you, see your products and services, learn what makes your business special, and why they should work with you. If your website has all the elements it should and has well-written content, then a potential customer may then call to book a tour of your facility or their first riding lesson or they may at least sign up for your email list, if you have established an email subscription page, which is advisable even if you don’t use email marketing for a little while. Email addresses are seen as extremely valuable for marketing.

If you have the ability to build your own site, you can build one on a purchased domain with WordPress.org or try sites that offer drag-and-drop design. However, if those are too difficult, or you need a more complex website, then a website designer is well worth the investment.

It is crucial to have an attractive site, with useful content for the viewer, and one that functions perfectly, because if you have the opposite you could affect how the public views your business and its level of professionalism and trust. Your website offers potential customers their first impression of you and your business. There is a lot to understand about proper website design and web usability, including site structure, navigation methods, typography, color theory, design principals, user testing, social media integration, and more.

Content Marketing: Whether you write articles and press releases, blog, live stream, create videos, share photography, write articles, podcast, create webinars, or another form of content, you should produce useful, relevant, easy-to-consume, quality content. Effective search engine optimization and using call-to-actions correctly can help direct the readers through the process of a search online to becoming a lead or a customer. Content marketing also grows your online presence, educates potential and current customers, promotes your products and services, raises brand awareness, and portrays you as an expert while setting you and your business apart from your competitors.

As with having a well-done website, quality content gives your audience a look into what and how you do what you do and most importantly why you do what you do and what you believe in. One word of caution is that poorly developed, rushed content can look bad, so make sure to have staff, friends, or professional content producers give feedback and help if need be.

Social Media: If your business isn’t on social media, especially Facebook at this time, consider yourself at a serious disadvantage. You must go where your customers are, and right now it seems as if everyone is on social media. Other platforms include Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn, with Snapchat and Periscope becoming two of the hottest newer platforms. Each platform has its advantages, disadvantages and top strategies to get the most out of it. Regardless of platform, it is essential to be authentically you, transparent, and to want to connect, communicate, and engage with your audience. It can even serve as a way to provide customer service, craft your online image, and promote yourself (organically and through social media advertising). There is a lot to consider for social media, especially with so much variety in platforms and strategy, and it is impossible to use all of them on your own. If you are a total social media newbie, there are plenty of books, websites, and resources, as well as consultants who can help you get started and develop a strategy. The return on investment is usually a positive one with social media when done right.

All of these digital marketing methods should be considered important for your marketing efforts. Now is the time to leverage digital marketing to help you get seen, get heard, and become more profitable.

Author Bio: As a lifelong equestrian, Sarah Evers Conrad joined the equine publishing industry 15+ years ago. In 2014, she decided to combine her passion for horses and her experience in writing, editing, digital marketing, PR, and social media, when she founded All In Stride Marketing. She now helps equine businesses with their marketing and communications efforts. In addition to being published in a variety of magazines, she is now the editor of The Instructor magazine and the official blogger for CHA.

WHY Statement – This is more than your mission or purpose for your business—this is WHY you bother doing it! Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why is a good resource that the CHA Board of Directors used to come up with CHA’s WHY Statement last year. Some great examples of WHY statements include:

  • CHA – CHA Changes Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses
  • Uber – Evolving the Way the World Moves
  • Nike – Just Do It!
  • Harley Davidson – Fulfilling Dreams of Personal Freedom
  • Coca-Cola – To Refresh the World

You can use any combination of the following digital marketing techniques: a website, social media and social media advertising; online advertising (pay-per-click, display, and remarketing); videos; live streaming; podcasting; webinars; email marketing with opt-in offers and landing pages; online challenges and contests; and content marketing, which includes blogging, guest blogging, press releases, articles, e-books, white papers, and more.

The Art of Teaching Riding

CHA’s latest manual, The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding, was written by a committee of experienced riding instructors and educators. The following is an abridged except from various sections in the manual.

Classifying or Grouping Riders

Grouping riding students according to experience level and ability is the preferable way to organize groups. There will be some variation within each riding group.

  • It is more difficult to teach a group that has both beginners and advanced riders.
  • When dealing with groups of mixed ability, use the assistant instructors to give more individual attention.
  • Advanced riders may also be challenged by the horses that the advanced riders are assigned to ride.

Riding instructors need to take into consideration age, attitude, and the physical abilities of the riders when grouping riders.

  • Older teenagers or adults may be embarrassed if they are placed in a class of younger children.
  • Physical abilities would include how athletic the rider is and any special needs. Riders who are overweight, awkward, uncoordinated, or have other special needs require particular consideration.

Instructors need to keep in mind the purpose of the lesson as well as the riding abilities when grouping riders.

  • If the purpose is for families to enjoy a lesson together, then a mixture of ages, experience, and attitudes should be expected and accommodated.
  • Questioning the student may approximate riding ability, but a more accurate determination of the student’s riding ability would include a brief evaluation ride.
  • When giving evaluation rides, it is more desirable to under-mount the new riders than to over-mount them. Use very quiet, reliable horses and evaluate the rider’s position, stopping, and simple control of the horse.
  • Preset standards will help determine which group a student belongs in.
  • A novice class of riders may have never ridden before; a beginner class may be able to walk and trot; and an intermediate class may be capable of walk, trot, and canter.
  • The CHA Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 may be used to divide riders into riding groups.
  • The instructor might consider creating an evaluation checklist of skills and mark off each skill as the student rides in an evaluation ride.

Methods of Presentation

To communicate information, the method chosen may depend on the material being presented, students being taught, and environment and resources that are available. It is best to use more than one method; some people understand and respond to one method better than another.

Explanation: An explanation tells the rider how to do something, such as how to hold the reins or how to find the takeoff point for a jump.

  • Explanations must be clear, short, to the point, and with key phrases to remember.
  • Make explanations positive.
  • Tell how to do something, instead of how not to do something.

Demonstration: Demonstrations show how to do something, such as mounting or use of a curry comb, and should be brief and to the point.

Practice or Repetition: Physical skills require practice in order to develop strength, flexibility, and motor patterns. Students need repetition and practice to learn a new skill or to improve on a learned skill.

Correction: Correction leads to mastery of a skill. Anyone learning a new skill is bound to make some errors, and the individuals must rectify those errors to correctly and safely master the skill.

  • Be positive and supportive in correction. Show the students why it is easier and better to use the correct technique and how an incorrect technique will handicap the student. (For instance, have riders try balancing in two-point position with their heels down and then try balancing up on their toes; riders can feel the insecurity balancing on their toes).
  • Be very specific in telling students exactly how to correct their errors. It is not enough to say, “Get those legs in.” The students must be shown how.

Discussion: Discussion combines input from the instructor with input from the students. In order to have a discussion on a topic, everyone must have at least some knowledge of the subject.

  • The instructor’s role is that of leader and moderator; to clarify and summarize the main points of the discussion; and to redirect the conversation if the students wander off the topic.
  • It is useful in planning group projects and for topics on which many people have opinions, such as horse behavior and training.
  • When holding a discussion, try to place all students in a circle so the students can see and hear each other.
  • All students should be motivated to contribute to the conversation, and those who dominate the conversation must be reminded that others have something of worth to contribute. This method enhances communication skills and helps members of the group become acquainted and relate to each other.

Lecture: Lecture is best used for introducing a new topic and giving out background information, like safety rules. Lectures are often used in unmounted lessons. A lecture should be no longer than thirty minutes, and even shorter for younger children. It is easy for students to become bored with sitting and listening. In order for a lecture to be successful, an instructor should:

  • Be well prepared. Show enthusiasm for the subject.
  • Know more about the subject than given in the lecture.
  • Do not read from lecture notes.
  • Be stimulating and creative.
  • Keep sentences short.
  • Keep vocabulary appropriate to the age group.
  • Use charts, models, or other visual aids.
  • Use a sense of humor. People enjoy humor and will remember any points that raise a chuckle.
  • Make eye contact with the listeners.
  • Project the voice to ensure the entire audience can hear.
  • Use expression and inflection in the voice.
  • Avoid using “filler words” like “uh,” “you know,” and “okay.”
  • Involve the listeners; ask someone to come up and hold something, or have everyone get up and try some exercise that relates to the subject.
  • Ask questions.
  • Be prepared to answer questions.

Role Playing: Role playing can simulate reality from someone else’s point of view. It involves imagination and encourages creativity, expression of feelings and values, and the development of social skills.

  • Role playing is very useful in demonstrating horse behavior and encouraging students to “think like a horse.”
  • It can be fun, especially for younger children who are more enthusiastic about some form of play than they are about lectures or discussions.
  • Some students love to “play horse” and will happily run through figure eights or arena patterns or perform imaginary classes in a “horseless horse show.”

Games & Competitions: Games and competitions can stimulate effort and interest in subjects the instructor wants the students to work on. Games and contests motivate the students to try by promising recognition and praise to the winner. The best games and competitions are those that are fun and that reward all riders for their efforts.

Additional topics covered in CHA’s The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding include riding programs, teaching techniques, the riding student, the horse, communication, arena instruction, risk management, and horse management. The manual also includes sample forms for riding instructors and facility managers, sample lesson plans, checklists, sample business plans, and more. To purchase the complete manual, please visit, www.CHA.horse/professionalmanual.

Saddle Fit Differences Between Men and Women

By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CEE

When I first started teaching my wife, Sabine, how to ride, I couldn’t understand why she kept complaining that the saddle hurt her there. I would get on the same saddle and have absolutely no problem. She, on the other hand, had difficulty keeping correct positioning with her legs back, back straight, and shoulders back. Then when we I started building saddles in Canada, Sabine was my guinea pig, but because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings, she never admitted that the saddles I was making (for female clients) weren’t really comfortable for her.

When a well-known judge and rider confided in me that she was literally “rubbed raw” and felt pulled apart, a light bulb went off in my head. I conferred with a gynecologist and began to investigate the differences in male and female anatomy, starting with pelvic structure, and then including hip articulation, muscles, and skeleton. I learned that the differences between men and women were extremely significant when considering saddle design. We then started using a plaster cast method, which served as incredible visual aids to make our full custom saddles.

Since then, we have refined our designs and are now known as the “Female Saddle Specialist,” a niche which becomes even more fitting when you consider that the demographics of our industry have shifted significantly over the past 50 years or so to become predominantly female.

With this shift in demographics, why haven’t more saddle manufacturers taken this into consideration when making saddles? Many still build saddles the way they have been made for decades, and some women still dismiss the idea of needing a saddle built specifically for their conformation. Many riders have simply learned to deal with the discomfort and ride well enough to make these saddles work, but it’s not ideal.

I have worked closely with a very qualified equestrian medical expert in our industry, James Warson, MD, who wrote the book, The Rider’s Pain Free Back. I have incorporated many of his findings into my own book.

So let’s consider the various anatomical differences and how they apply to saddle fit for women.

Width of the seat bones (birthing channel): This determines how wide the saddle seat needs to be; in many of the saddles made for men, a woman will actually find herself sitting on the seat seam, which is irritating to say the least.

Spinal column: Riders need to be able to use the four natural curves of the vertebral column as natural shock absorbers. If a female rider leans back or hunches forward because the saddle isn’t right for her, her spine will take the brunt of the impact and result in back pain issues, which could result in slipped discs.

Pelvic balance and pubic symphysis: The male pelvis can balance on its seat bones as on a bipod; the female pelvis needs to use her pubic symphysis as well as her seat bones, like a tripod. For women, this means there is another area of friction at the pommel area, which can result in pain. To compensate and avoid pain, the rider in pain might collapse at the hip, which then causes the leg to shoot forward, placing the rider in the chair seat position.

Hip joints: The male hip joints are articulated differently, which allows the legs to hang straight down, whereas women’s legs are naturally angled outwards. This results in the female rider feeling pulled apart if the twist, the area of the saddle tree that we feel between our upper inner thighs, is too wide.

Upper leg musculature: Because of the structure of the quads and hamstrings as indicated in the picture, the woman needs to have a narrower twist (as a rule).

Gluteus maximus (butt cheeks): The female’s glutes are much higher up than a man’s, which indicates the need for additional support in the seat at the cantle area to prevent her from collapsing to the back.

If all of these points are taken into consideration when fitting a saddle, a woman can use the properly fitted saddle to help her ride in proper position and balance. She can now concentrate on her ride rather than fighting her saddle for proper position.

For a man, riding in a saddle that is uncomfortable for him (especially at the pommel area because of too much padding at the seat) could result in restricted blood flow in the sensitive perineal area. This could lead to erectile dysfunction, impotence, or other physical problems.

These are the points of reference every rider should ensure are correct for his or her body, regardless if they are male or female:

  • Width of the seat to support the seat bones
  • Skirt attachment with flat seaming to avoid pressure at the back of the upper inner thigh
  • Saddle twist appropriate for male or female to accommodate upper leg musculature
  • Angle of the pommel to avoid hitting the pubic symphysis (waist seaming width)
  • Seat foam (mattress) to support the gluteus muscles
  • Flattest part of the saddle, or the supporting area, where the majority of weight is carried; needs special attention to avoid pressure on the crotch area
  • Cantle angle to provide necessary support
  • Saddle balance (many women prefer forward balance)
  • Stirrup bar position to accommodate the upper leg length to lower leg length ratio (most women will require extended stirrup bars since their upper legs are longer than their lower legs); if this is not considered and fitted properly to the rider, the leg will naturally swing forward

In summary, the saddle should allow the rider to sit as closely to the horse as possible while allowing the positive and balanced interaction of the vertical spine of the rider and the horizontal spine of the horse. Riding shouldn’t hurt, and this goes for both the rider and the horse If the rider isn’t comfortable, this will translate down to the horse, and he will never perform to the best of his ability. So us riders owe it to ourselves and to our horses to ride in a saddle suited to our body. As the saying goes, “You are worth it!”

Author Bio]
Jochen Schleese, author of Suffering in Silence: The Saddle Fit Link to Physcial and Psychological Trauma in Horses, is a Certified Master Saddler from Passier He operates a saddlery training facility in Ontario, Canada, and provides diagnostic saddle fit analysis and fitting services across North America, especially for women. SaddlesforWomen.com

[Captions]
Photos of male and female rider side by side with plaster casts showing points of contact:
Although these two riders are very similar in body shape on the outside, their plaster casts clearly show the differences in their pelvic points of reference. The male (right) has two points of contact on the saddle at the seat bones, which are closer together than those of the female (left). In addition, the female pelvis has a third point of contact at the front (her pubic symphysis).

Photos of female and male pelvic skeleton:
The female pelvis’ pubic symphysis is fairly flat and low and will hit the pommel area. The male pelvis’ public symphasis is relatively higher than the female one with steeper angles, which allow it to sit far away from the pommel area.

See images below for reference.

This image goes with the numbered list

Becoming a Leader for Your Students and Horses

By Julie Goodnight

As a horsemanship or riding instructor, you want to strive to be a good leader and interact with fairness with all of your students and clients. In addition, you want to teach your riders to be good leaders to the horses they ride. Leadership is not just about your actions or intentions; it is also about your honesty, integrity, and fairness. Authority is not the same as leadership—just because you have authority over others does not mean that they have a desire to follow you or accept you as their leader.

Developing strong leadership skills with our horses can also help us become better leaders with people, especially if we think about the lessons the horse provides to us regarding leadership. In addition, you can teach your students to judge whether their mount is questioning their leadership skills.

Horses have a sense of fairness, just as they are good judges of leadership and trustworthiness. Because they are herd animals, they are mindful of leadership, hierarchy, rules, and ramifications of behavior. They are instinctively drawn to strong leadership, with a compelling desire to be accepted in a herd and a profound fear of banishment from the herd. Both horses and students thrive when leadership, rules, and structure exist, and they flail in the absence of it. Horses can be a reflection of our leadership skills with students and clients, as well.

Horses and students usually know when they are breaking a rule or pushing a boundary, and they usually responds well to fair discipline. But when rules are unclear or inconsistently enforced, when you say one thing but then do another, when you inadvertently punish even though no punishment was intended, or when the punishment does not fit the crime, both horses and students will feel that they are being treated unfairly, and trust in you diminishes.

So how do you know if the horse feels like the rider is treating him unfairly? Reactions from the horse may range from a slight tensing and lifting of the head, to shaking the head, refusals, running through the bridle, crow-hopping, bucking, or shutting down (becoming nonresponsive). While there can be a variety of causes for these reactions, whenever a horse is frustrated, it’s always important to consider your own actions and how they may be viewed by the horse. After all, none of us are perfect leaders for our horses or our students.

Here are some common scenarios which a horse might consider unfair. It’s important to coach riders not to do these things or the horse will question their leadership skills.

Unfair Treatment #1: Asking him to do something then punishing him for doing it
An easy way to test a horse’s sense of fairness is to cue him to canter, then hit him in the mouth with the bit when he does. How he reacts to that will tell you how tolerant he is. This happens far more often than you think, regardless of rider level. Sometimes it’s related to lack of skill; other times it is reactionary—a rider fearful of the canter often snatches the horse up as soon as they respond to the cue. From the horse’s point of view, you asked him to do something then you punished him for doing it. Responses from this kind of conflicting signal can include: a small shake of the head, crow-hopping, a refusal to canter anymore, or bucking. Usually it is the horse that is blamed, although from the horse’s point of view, this is not fair or honest.

Unfair treatment #2: Asking for one more time
Let’s say you or your student has been working on something challenging with their mount—like jumping gymnastics. You started with a few rails in a line of jump-every-stride obstacles and gradually added more until it’s a very challenging and strenuous exercise. After some stops and starts and failed attempts, the horse finally goes through the full gymnastic correctly. You are thrilled! So what’s the first thing you say? “Let’s do that one more time.”

So, he’s already given you his best and that wasn’t good enough; now he’s tired and emotionally spent and you ask for more. Things fall apart, and what should have been a great training session turns into a salvage effort. Fairness would dictate that you recognized your horse’s best effort and let him rest on that.

Unfair treatment #3: Setting the horse up for failure 
This is the actual real, unedited scenario that stimulated this article. A past clinic attendee whose horse had come uncorked due to the clinic atmosphere wrote to me about how her horse had recently done great in an arena full of 15 other horses. When they finished, he loaded without hesitation into the trailer. However, since her horse was tired and away from home, she then decided to practice trailer loading. Her horse balked, and a nearby rider had to assist her.
It was indeed unfair to finish and then ask her horse for more. Clearly the horse had given of himself, worked very hard, and done the right thing. He had every reason to believe he was done and would receive the kindness of comfort from his leader. Instead, he was set up to fail. He had already loaded once without resistance.

Should we expect perfect patience from our mounts in every situation or at the same level we expect from more patient or experienced horses? No. Should we make our horse, or our students for that matter, jump through hoops when they are anxious or aggravated? No. Should we ALWAYS set our horses and our students up for success? YES! That is what makes a good training exercise.

Good leaders do not expect their followers to do things beyond their capabilities. If we think an individual (horse or human) may not be capable of giving us what we want in that moment, it’s best not to ask. Do something else instead. Come back later and address it when the chances of success are greater or when you have removed other obstacles.

Always make sure your expectations are realistic and attainable. Have high expectations, but always remember to recognize efforts from both your horses and your students. Everyone wants the feeling of a job well done.

[Author Bio]
International trainer and clinician Julie Goodnight is the international spokesperson for CHA, a CHA Master Instructor, and the star of RFD-TV’s “Horse Master with Julie Goodnight.” JulieGoodnight.com

Lisa Lombardi in CA

Finding Your Career Path


By Sarah Evers Conrad

Members of the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) have an abundance of career options, including riding instructor at a public riding facility, owner of one’s own facility, a camp instructor, an instructor associated with organizations like the Girl Scouts, instructor of riders with disabilities, teaching at the college/university level, being a trail or overnight guide, etc.

Managing one’s career can mean making some big decisions over time. Those decisions can mean the difference between a carefully crafted career or one that can take you down a variety of side trails before you end up on the path that is best suited for you. Everyone is different, and there is no one right career pathway, especially in an industry as vibrant and diverse as the horse industry.

Owning a Lesson Barn
Some of the most common options for instructors is to either work for a lesson facility as one of several instructors, to run their own lesson program and lease space out of a facility, or to run a program out of their own their own facility. CHA Certified Instructor Corinne Lettau is the owner of Denver Equestrians, LLC, and the Colorado Equestrian Center in Littleton, CO, a full-service boarding and training facility with lessons in English equitation, western pleasure, dressage, and jumping for youth and adults.

“I started my own business, which featured a horse camp program in 2009,” she says. “It grew by 400% each year until we were able to purchase our own facility.”

Even though it is stressful, Lettau likes having control of her own facility. “While it was definitely easier to lease space from another barn owner, the ability to secure the facility gives us stability that we wouldn’t otherwise have.”

Lettau has the most experience within the disciplines of dressage, however her views have broadened beyond that one niche. “My appreciation for kids and allowing them to choose their own disciplines after learning the basics has become a new passion,” she says.

Scouting the Way
Many instructors get started in Girl Scout or Boy Scout riding programs and summer camps, just like Julie Fischer did. Fischer is a CHA Certified Instructor in western disciplines in Allenspark, CO, and an assistant site manager at Meadow Mountain Ranch Girl Scout Camp during peak season and a camp volunteer in the off season.

“The career path with Scouts has led me to work and live in some amazing and remote locations, go on some great trips, and change the lives of many scouts through horses,” says Fischer, who adds that the down side can include a lack of job security.

Fischer shares that her skills in accounting, bookkeeping, management, training, grant writing, non-profits, and facility management have been helpful when working for these non-profits.

“Being valuable to an equine business is important,” she says. “I was constantly improving my knowledge and traits so I could provide more to any program I worked for in addition to horse knowledge.”

Camp-Related Career
Camp Morrow Ranch Manager Teddy Franke of Pine Hollow, OR, says the great thing about working in a camp program is that there are always opportunities and directions to grow. Franke is a CHA Certified Instructor with a certification to teach riders with disabilities as well, a CHA Equine Facilities Management Assistant Clinic Instructor, a CHA Certified Trail Packing Guide, as well as a graduate of Mission Farrier School and an American Stock Horse Association judge.

“If I can dream some program up and get a pile of people to come along on the adventure, it will usually fit the mission and generally be effective,” says Franke, who knew his ideal career would be to combine horses and ministry. “Having the freedom to pursue those ideas and the ability to scrap the poor ones is what makes this line of work worthwhile.”

Franke has really enjoyed traveling to horse-related events, clinics, conferences, and a host of other functions. On the flip side with a camp career, he cites never having enough time to accomplish everything he wants to or being able to develop a specialty within the horse industry because to help people use a camp horse, he has to teach a wide range of disciplines.

In addition to the camp, Franke runs a small side business involving training, instruction, and farrier services. This has helped him diversify his income streams for when one part of the business is slower.

Academia Instructor
Instructing at the college level and/or coaching a collegiate equestrian team is a calling that many CHA members find appealing. “I love college students,” says Amanda Love, the horsemanship director and women’s equestrian team coach at West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) in Canyon, TX. “It is a very fun age to teach as they are now responsible for their own decisions and are excited to pursue new information. College is a place where I have an opportunity to help encourage others while they pursue their riding passion and balance that with choosing their own career path.”

Love adds that the college kids keep her young at heart. However, she jokes that she doesn’t remember what a day off looks like with this career path, because in a college environment, one teaches all week and then must take the equestrian team to competitions on the weekend. However, this can also be true for any instructor who take their students to shows.

How CHA Helps Career Development
CHA certification can open up a lot of great career opportunities. Fischer says that the connections, resources, and relationships one makes through CHA can last a lifetime, while Love adds that the CHA network of people and the interaction at CHA clinics and conferences is the best way to find new ideas to bring back to the barn.

This ability to always be learning is what Franke loves about his career. “I feel fortunate that I will likely run out of life before I come close to learning all there is to know about the horse,” he says.

Fischer adds that the various CHA certifications allow instructors to branch out and become skilled in working with riders at all levels and in various disciplines.

In Summary
Love encourages instructors to try out different careers before deciding on a final path. “I think it is important that as instructors, we have a bigger view of the horse world than just what is out our back door,” says Love. “Being involved in different facets of the horse world gives you more to offer your students.”

Lettau says that by experiencing multiple career paths within the horse industry that instructors will be able to find the exact niche that they are meant to provide to others. And finding that ideal career path can lead to a lifelong passion and contentment with one’s career.
Sarah Evers Conrad is the editor of CHA’s The Instructor, and is also published in a variety of equine publications, such as The Horse, Arabian Horse Life, American Quarter Horse Journal, American Paint Horse Journal, USDF Connection, Equestrian, and others. In addition, she helps equine businesses with their marketing through her company, All In Stride Marketing. Visit AllInStrideMarketing.com.

Risk Management is a Must

By Jill Montgomery

Most riders are well aware of the risks that come with horseback riding. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, one in five riders (20%) will suffer a serious horse-related injury that requires medical care or hospitalization. In addition, an equine professional such as a riding instructor, may face legal action if someone is injured in their care. We should all pause for a moment to consider exactly what that means. However, there is a lot we can do, and that we should be doing, to manage the risks in equine activities.

Equine professionals should create an environment where clients can enjoy their program and have the necessary tools to make their experiences with horses safe; this leads to repeat customers and more business. Conversely, the old adage “bad news travels fast” is never truer than when a client is injured in your riding program, and it could damage your reputation.

With such a broad range of potential problem areas, you may ask, “Where do I start?”

Key areas for managing risk in a horse program include:
• The horse’s training and suitability for the activity,
• The education and expectations for the participants behavior;
• The education and expectations for the behavior of staff;
• The equipment used in the equine activity; and
• The environment in which the activity takes place.

Proper handling skills and training may reduce risks of injury for both humans and horses. Safety-oriented facility design and advanced planning for emergencies and disaster planning may substantially reduce environmental risks.

Ensure that your well-trained staff and clients practice safety every day with every interaction with a horse or another rider. Train your horses to accept the tasks asked of them calmly and obediently. Check tack and equipment every time it is used, and repair or replace damaged equipment. Plan for and create policies for dealing with environmental risks.
The equine professional must also constantly educate participants about equine behavior and continually identify, assess, and analyze risks associated with the services they offer. However, even with good management, training, and preparation some equine behaviors are largely unpredictable and can cause injury to a client. Unpredictable behaviors such as bucking, shying, rearing, bolting, tripping, or stumbling are collectively referred to as inherent risks.

Legal Liability
Almost all states now have limited liability statutes to offer protection from legal liability for the inherent risks of equine activities. While these laws don’t prevent injured parties from suing, they are very helpful to defendants and limit the complaints to the exceptions in the law, which vary by state. Equine professionals need to know their specific state laws. However, despite these statutes, the best defense is to take practical steps to avoid injuries.

Risk management in regards to legal action can be described as a three-legged stool, and removing any of the legs from this stool leaves you in an unstable position. These three legs include:
• Acknowledgement of Risk or Liability Waiver—More than just a release of liability, this document should educate the client about the risks they may be exposed to in your program. Your attorney and insurance company should review and sign off on the language. Everyone in your operation that comes into contact with horses should be taught the material and be asked if they understand it before they sign. Keep the signed document as a permanent record.
• Liability Insurance—Ensure the activities in your operation are adequately covered with insurance. To find the correct policy, work with an insurance professional who understands your operation.
• Refrain from Negligent Behavior—Negligence is an exception in every state’s statutes. Be familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction that effect your program. Know what your community expects from you as a service provider. Build a culture at your facility that is safety aware using training, procedures, and policies. Post barn rules so everyone sees them and can enforce them. Document your safety efforts.
Identifying Risk Scenarios
One technique for prioritizing risk management is assessing the relationship between the likelihood (frequency) of a risk and the severity of the damage if it occurs. Identify the high frequency risks in your program and always be prepared to handle them should they occur. Examples of risk scenarios ranked using frequency versus severity, include:

The Barn Fire—Any barn fire can be catastrophic. However, if you have a disaster and emergency plan in place, it could save lives and reduce the amount of damage.

A Loose Girth/Cinch—This type of tack failure, as well as others, could result in the saddle slipping and/or a fallen rider. Yet, this type of incident is avoidable. Always check if the saddle is off center or if it has moved forward or backward from its normal position before having a rider mount. You can also reduce this risk by adjusting the cinch as needed, adding breast collars for increased stability, and by helping the rider to stay centered on the horse.

Horse Steps on Handler’s Toes—This is one of the most common risks, although it’s often not severe. Teach your horses to be respectful of their handlers’ space and teach handlers to be aware of the potential for crushed toes and to wear proper footwear.

In Summary
Providing clear and consistent messaging to your clients and staff about your safety policies and practices will help build a safety-conscious culture and create a foundation for your horse program’s continued success.

[Author Bio]
Jill Montgomery is CEO of JRAM Enterprises, Inc., Equine Business Consulting. She is also a CHA Certified Instructor, CHA Certified Equine Facility Manager, and a Region 9 Director. JRAMenterprises.com.

CHA’s Further Resources
Webinars: Risk Management in a Horsemanship Program; Risk Management—What You Need to Know About Liability, Contracts, and Releases at CHA.horse/store/categories/CHA_Webinars
Books: CHA Standards for Equestrian Programs
Blogs: Emergency Planning: When It Really Counts, Will Your Farm Be Prepared?; Three Must-See Safety Guidelines for Equestrian Facilities; Three More Important Standards for Equestrian Programs; Safety Standards for Managing Equines Important for Equine Programs and Clients; Horseback Rider Safety Apparel from Head to Toe; and 7 Pieces of Equipment for a Safer Ride at CHA.horse/blog

Secrets of Successful Riding Instructors

Secrets of Successful Riding Instructors
By Sarah Evers Conrad

When riders are asked why they ride, it often comes down to one prevailing answer—passion for the horse. And it also explains why so many riders become riding instructors. It’s important for riding instructors to have that passion for horses and teaching. Riding lessons are often the stepping stone into the horse industry for many participants, which makes horseback riding instructors the lifeblood behind a thriving equine industry. Therefore, it’s crucial for instructors to be able to have successful careers so that there is growth and sustainability within the horse industry as a whole.

Three of CHA’s experts, all who have had successful careers as riding instructors and who have given back to the industry as CHA board members and volunteers, share some of the secrets behind their success.

Various Avenues to Success

CHA Master Instructor and Clinician Tara Gamble of British Columbia, Canada, went out on her own with Tara Gamble Horsemanship in 2009 after working at a variety of facilities. Gamble got her start teaching at age 18 at Birch Bay Ranch in Alberta after 10 years of being a camper. She says she wanted to give back to the ranch that had been such a big part of her life. Gamble was introduced to CHA early in her career because the ranch required CHA certification.

Gamble’s excitement for running the games station at Birch Bay Ranch led her to to one of the most important decisions of her life. “It was at this moment I realized this was my passion, and I was going to become a horsemanship instructor,” she says.

Not only has she been an instructor at a variety of facilities, the past 27 years have seen Gamble serve as CHA President, as Vice President of the Miss Rodeo Canada Board of Directors and a pageant coordinator, as President of the Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF), and as an American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) board member. She also became an AQHA Professional Horseman. CHA has recognized Gamble’s dedication by naming her the 2013 CHA Volunteer of the Year and the 2006 CHA Clinic Instructor of the Year.

Peggy Adams of Greensboro, GA, retired a few years ago from teaching on her farm, PLA HorsePlay. Adams is the current CHA Past President, a CHA Master Instructor, Clinic Staff, and a Certified Overnight Trail Guide. She spent almost 30 years with the Girl Scouts outside of the Atlanta area in a variety of managerial positions, including as the supervisor of the year-round outdoor programs for youth and adults. Because one of the most popular activities for the Girl Scouts was horseback riding, Adams was charged with designing and developing the riding lesson program at three equine facilities.

“Having been a horse enthusiast my entire life, it became my mission to help make sure that campers had an opportunity to be introduced to horses,” says Adams. “Many of our young riders wouldn’t have ever had the chance to ride if not for our programs. It was a wonderful way to take my passion for horses and share it with others.”

Due to her lifetime achievements and her dedication to CHA since 1996, Adams was named the 2016 CHA Distinguished Service Award winner.

Anne Brzezicki, CHA’s Vice President of Regional Relations, is most known for her work as the Director of the Equestrian Program at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and coach of the MTSU Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) teams. She also taught at the University of Connecticut and Virginia Tech, worked for AQHA Professional Andy Moorman, and ran her own business in Tennessee, which was focused on amateurs and youth inside and outside the show arena.

Brzezicki’s first horseback riding teaching position was at the Connecticut 4-H Camps, where she worked with 500 riders every summer for seven years. She says her career chose her. “It was there that I discovered my passion for teaching riders to get the best from their horses rather than to simply look good,” she says.

Due to a hiring freeze, she and another student were allowed to coach her university’s equestrian team when she was a student at the University of Connecticut (UConn). Due to that experience, she was hired to teach at UConn before she got out the door. That position led to her other teaching positions and a lifetime of dedication to college students in equestrian programs.

She is a now a CHA Master Instructor and an Assistant Clinic Instructor, and the 2015 CHA Instructor of the Year. For all of her contributions to IHSA, the organization awarded her with the 2003 IHSA Lifetime Achievement Award. She retired from MTSU last year.

Reflecting on Success

Gamble points out is that the diversity within her career has helped her enjoy a variety of experiences and continuously offers up brand new opportunities. While she gained a lot of experience subcontracting at different barns for lessons for 17 years, transitioning to her own facility was a new challenge that required business, management, and public relations skills in addition to her horsemanship knowledge and experience.

“Going the private route allowed me more control over my client’s and their horse’s needs to increase their satisfaction,” says Gamble, adding that great communication skills, people skills, and organizational skills have been important. She encourages instructors to always keep learning and adding to their experience.

Adams recommends that instructors learn to communicate with students as easily as possible. “This requires the ability to break skills down into easily understandable small steps,” she adds. “Being able to teach with a rider’s learning style in mind goes a long way to achieving success.”

Brzezicki advises instructors to teach respect for the horse and to share their enthusiasm with their students. “Pay attention to what works for your students and what doesn’t, and change what doesn’t,” she adds. “Take advantage of every opportunity to teach and to watch and listen to other teachers. And understand that your students will also teach you every day.”

Common Problems

Some of the common problems that instructors experience include: miscommunications with students, burnout, lack of self care, how to keep up with progress within a discipline, and dealing with fads, and barn drama.

“Keeping a positive attitude through adversity is paramount,” says Gamble. “It’s important to keep a direct, clear line open and check in often with your students/clients. Try to be as proactive as possible and think of potential challenges.”

Marketing Tips

Marketing is an important aspect of running any business. Gamble recommends that instructors become involved in the local horse community and network as much as possible. “I recommend remembering that you are always an ambassador, and your actions are a reflection of your reputation,” she says.

Adams reminds instructors to tell others about their CHA certification and to use this credential in their marketing.

Word-of-mouth recommendations are key for riding instructors to market themselves. People will often market a business that they can stand behind. “Students and customers having a good time with their horses, supporting each other and winning, draws others to your program and makes the best advertising,” says Brzezicki.

Additional methods of marketing that have also been beneficial to Gamble, Adams, and Brzezicki are:

  • Hosting their own websites;
  • Participating on social media platforms;
  • Hosting free or low-cost clinics for local 4-H or saddle club kids; and
  • Helping state organizations with their novice programs.

The CHA Impact

Adams shares that she used the CHA standards to design the programs and facilities for the Girl Scouts. “These industry standards were very useful in helping others understand why we did things a certain way,” says Adams, who adds that both parents and students appreciated that she had the CHA Certification to back up her experience.

“CHA offered me the tools to develop a riding program focusing on safety and progressive skill development for my students,” says Gamble, who has been certified with CHA for 27 years.

Even though she found CHA late in her career, Brzezicki says CHA’s teachings validated what she had been doing in her career and gave her more confidence to help her students who wanted to become riding instructors. It also broadened her network.

“I have found CHA to be the most inclusive, accepting, creative, and helpful set of horse people all dedicated to the progress of their students and other instructors,” adds Brzezicki.

Gamble encourages instructors to familiarize themselves with all of the information, resources, and opportunities on the CHA websites, www.CHA.horse and www.CHA.horse. In addition, many CHA regions have their own websites or social media platforms with additional information. One important resource offered by CHA is the ability for instructors to advertise their businesses on the CHA instructor database.

Additional member benefits that Gamble, Adams, and Brzezicki have found valuable include the insurance discounts, this magazine – The Instructor, the ability to participate at regional and international conferences, corporate partner benefits, products on the CHA online store, and educational materials, such as manuals and DVDs.

“Use the CHA student books and materials with your riders,” suggests Adams. “Have students and parents watch some of the video shorts on the CHA YouTube channel to reinforce topics taught during lessons.”

In Summary

Adams emphasizes the importance of continuing education and certification for today’s instructors. “My advice is to keep learning and challenging yourself to become certified as an instructor,” she says. “This will allow you to see how you stack up with other instructors by having a third-party evaluation of your current teaching skills.”

Brzezicki says that CHA certification is a great resume builder, especially since many employers are looking for certification as a sign that someone has been tested and found to be competent. She says it’s important for instructors to challenge themselves to always work toward higher levels of certification.

Adams recommends instructors serve as mentors to less experienced instructors in order to help the horse industry as a whole. Gamble and Brzezicki remind instructors that it takes time for success to happen.

“This is hard work,” says Brzezicki. “Approach each lesson with positive energy, a plan, and a goal. Look at each student with hope. And if you don’t love it, find another job.”

Gamble sums it up with the why behind why she teaches. “The rewards of teaching are much greater than monetary and have enriched my life immensely,” she says.

Sarah Evers Conrad is the editor of CHA’s The Instructor, and is also published in a variety of equine publications, such as The Horse, Arabian Horse Life, American Quarter Horse Journal, American Paint Horse Journal, USDF Connection, Equestrian, and others. In addition, she helps equine businesses with their marketing through her company, All In Stride Marketing. Visit AllInStrideMarketing.com.

“Being able to teach with a rider’s learning style in mind goes a long way to achieving success.” – Peggy Adams

Julie Goodnight Photo by Whole Picture

Succeeding as a Clinician

By Julie Goodnight

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “clinician” as “a person who conducts a clinic,” with “clinic” defined as “a group meeting devoted to analysis and solution of concrete problems or to the acquiring of specific skills or knowledge.” After decades as a horsemanship clinician and thousands of clinics worldwide, I think these definitions make perfect sense. In the horse industry, a clinician is an expert trainer or instructor who travels to various locations—regionally, nationally or internationally—to teach horsemanship on a one-time basis.
To me, being a clinician is not a career in and of itself but rather the result of a successful career as a horse trainer or riding instructor. And it can help diversify your revenue streams.

To be a successful clinician, you must have:
• Expert ability
• Exceptional communication skills
• Years of experience training horses
• Years of experience teaching horsemanship to people
• An established reputation in your field
• Business sense

Business Model
The purpose of a clinic is to teach, correct any issues, and to improve the performance of the horses, riders, and handlers involved. With experience, you’ll learn which techniques, business models, and clinic structures work best for your teaching methods.
Some horsemanship clinics involve group lessons while others teach back-to-back private or semi-private lessons in front of an audience. Some clinics are discipline, breed, or ability-level specific, while others are open to all niches. Usually there are spectators and auditors.
Administering the clinic requires organization, communication, and attention to details or the clinic will fail—no matter how brilliant the clinician. If your organizational skills aren’t up to par, consider outsourcing.

Here are some ways to structure your horsemanship clinics.

• Find a clinic host that will foot the bill, pay you a flat fee per day, or guarantee a minimum number of riders or a percentage of the profits. The host provides the facility, promotes the clinic, recruits attendees, collects all the money, and—after paying you—makes all the profit (or may take a loss). Pro: This model is easy—just show up and teach. Con: If the clinic is well-attended, the host may make more money than you.
• The clinician foots the bill, rents the facility (or trades for spots in the clinic), promotes the clinic, registers attendees, collects the money, and accepts all risk for profit or loss. Pro: This is the most profitable if the clinic fills and you have total control. Con: More work is involved, and there are no guarantees.
• Combinations of any aspects of the above could be used to structure a clinic, as well as bartering for services, partnering with a promoter, and non-profit or philanthropic partnering (e.g, you teach a 4-H clinic for free in exchange for being able to host a for-profit clinic for adults).
However you structure your clinic, make sure you consider all expenses, including travel, advertising, liability insurance, care of your horses at home, and labor at home and at the clinic. Before you price your clinic, ensure the profit will adequately compensate you while you are away from home.

Marketing Clinics
It’s up to you to convince attendees to take your clinic, but the marketing tools below can help.
• Website—Include all the information people could want or need on your website, such as your bio, your teaching techniques and philosophy, what a clinic is like, policies and procedures, your calendar of events, and registration information. Enter your clinics on free online event calendars (e.g., Eventbrite.com, Wikido.com), and link to your website.
• Social Media—Social media—especially Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube—can raise interest in your programs. Keep your brand active, share your training philosophies, spend time visiting relevant online horse groups and chat rooms, and allow people to get to know you.
• Horse Expos—Speaking at horse expos is the easiest way I fill clinics because it gets me in front of an audience who will then come back a few months later for my clinic.
• Flyers—I send a flyer to be printed at an office store near where the clinic will be held. Then a local volunteer will pick them up and post at places horse people frequent.
• Newsletter—We always include informative articles plus a list of my upcoming clinics and expos. Staying connected to your customers is key.
• Word of Mouth—Followers of your training methods are happy to spread the word if asked. Sometimes we offer a discount off a rider’s own tuition for each rider they sign up.

Sponsorships
No company is eager to invest in a clinician unless they will get a nice return on their investment (ROI). You will have to work very hard for them if you expect to get a deal and maintain the relationship. What you have to offer is influence over the buyer and things like media exposure, arena banners, wearing their logo, product placement, a trailer decal, website exposure, social media posts, etc. The sponsor will want evidence of how your efforts impact their ROI.

It’s important to get a feel for the landscape of sponsorships in the horse industry and to distinguish between readily available product trades and harder-to-come-by cash sponsorships. Product trades should offsets your costs. Some companies may only offer a sales commission, which may or may not be lucrative because you must repeatedly close a sale.

Don’t forget to protect your brand. Taking on too many sponsors, changing sponsors regularly, or endorsing fly-by-night products could devalue it and repel bigger sponsors. One big cash sponsor may be better than a bunch of product trades.

Some categories of products are highly competitive for sponsorships, so sponsors will want exclusivity. Supplements, feeds, tack, saddle pads, pharmaceuticals, and apparel are categories with many brands competing against each other and areas where horse trainers have a lot of influence with the customer.

Tread carefully with exclusivity, because this rules out having other sponsors in that category. To me, exclusivity is like getting married to that company. Think about the long term. Are your values compatible? Is it a brand you can use and stand behind? Can you positively impact the company’s sales and conduct yourself in a manner that the sponsor wants you to? Can the sponsor make a long-term investment in you, or is this going to be a one-time thing?

In Conclusion
It’s important to develop the traits mentioned above to succeed as a clinician. Developing horsemanship clinics can be rewarding and lucrative. Find ways to stand out from the crowd. Develop a loyal following at home, decide on your business model and marketing, and then take your show on the road!

International trainer and clinician Julie Goodnight is the international spokesperson for CHA and a CHA Master Instructor. JulieGoodnight.com.

Laura Jones

Sample CHA Lesson Plan

Tips for Lesson Planning

By Sarah Evers Conrad

Lesson planning is an important part of developing a cohesive and organized lesson program focused on goal achievement and rider progression. According to CHA’s latest manual, The Equine Professional Manual: The Art of Teaching Riding, a lesson plan is “a clear, flexible, and individualized teaching aid for conducting a class or a short-term instructional session.”

Each lesson plan is based on the individual needs, interests, and abilities of the students involved in that lesson. It should always focus on safety and be specific, sequential, and progressively build on the student’s skill level.

Why Lesson Plan

“Lesson plans make you organize your thoughts, arena, focus, and energy,” says CHA Master Instructor Tara Reimer, who owns Cloud 9 Ranch in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada, with her husband, Derek. This CHA Clinician, Region 2 Director, and 2013 CHA Instructor of the Year teaches Western, English, jumping, and vaulting, while also training horses at the ranch. “A lesson plan keeps you on track time wise.”

CHA Master Instructor Cheryl West is a USDF Bronze Medalist, CHA Standard, IRD, and Equine Facility Management Clinician, and director in Region 8. She owns and operates West Equestrian in Sand Springs, OK; teaches at Stormwalker Ranch; and gives clinics nationally.

“A well-thought-out lesson plan allows you to have a creative lesson for your riders,” says West. “It gives you the ability to teach to the lowest level, but allows you to be prepared for those riders who catch on a bit quicker or even a bit slower.”

Since West works with a variety of instructors, having a lesson plan ready means that another instructor can fill in and use her plan if West needs to miss a lesson. It also creates a record of skills, attendance, and horse usage.

CHA Certified Instructor Donovan Dobbs of Dobbs Horsemanship in Ozark, MO, considers a lesson plan a map that guides the rider to a specific goal. Dobbs teaches riding lessons, starts and trains horses for a variety of disciplines, offers horsemanship clinics, and serves as the Missouri representative for Region 9.

Parts of a Lesson Plan

The Equine Professional Manual advises each lesson plan should include the following sections:

  • Destination, which refers to the lesson’s main goal, aim, or objective
  • Preparation, such as the number of students and horses, assistants, equipment, tack, how the arena will be set up, etc.
  • Explanation of the new subject or skill to be taught, which includes a step-by-step progression highlighting key points and phrases of that lesson
  • Demonstration by an instructor or student who can perform the skill mounted or unmounted
  • Application of the new skill by students, either as a group or individually
  • Observation and Correction by the instructor as students try to master the new skill
  • Repetition of the skill by students, which sometimes is done via games, patterns, etc.
  • Conclusion of the lesson with a summary, review by the students, and a cool down for the horses
  • Evaluation by the instructor to see if the new skill was achieved, what the strengths/weaknesses of the lesson and teaching techniques were, and what changes to the lesson are needed

Creating the Lesson Plan

Each riding instructor will have their own methods for creating a lesson plan. West, Dobbs, and Reimer start with a general list of skills students learn in their lesson program.

Dobbs uses his master list and general lesson plans as a basic blueprint to develop individualized lesson plans based on the students in each lesson. He focuses on general topics with an overall goal for each rider per lesson. Each lesson with Dobbs focuses on that overall goal until it is achieved.

He likes to cover at least two or three points under that goal, although he may be able to cover more material beyond those if time allows. Dobbs keeps lesson plans to one page or less and never works more than five lessons ahead.

Both West and Reimer use the levels provided by CHA.

“I create goals at each level,” says West, adding that next she focuses on the aids or part of the rider she wants to focus on.

She always includes a pattern of some kind, even if it’s just one that has the rider ride in and out of cones or poles. To create her lesson plans, West reviews old lesson plans, articles, books, and websites that have patterns from several disciplines, including dressage, jumping, and western riding.

Each of Reimer’s lesson plans addresses the natural aids of weight, voice, legs, hands, and energy. In addition to the lesson plan, she always has a progression plan for how students should progress through the skills.

Reimer recommends instructors write out lesson plans, and if they end up teaching more than planned, to revise the lesson plan afterward. In addition, she gains invaluable insight for lesson planning by asking for feedback on the lesson from her students afterward.

Mistakes to Avoid

One of the biggest mistakes West sees in lesson planning is not including how to do the activity. “It’s important to the rider to understand how its done, not just what,” says West. “Tell the rider specifically how to use each part of their body and when.”

Reimer warns not to overcomplicate the plan. “Some students really struggle with left and right or memorizing patterns, so keep patterns simple, and repeat them several times,” she adds.

Dobbs reminds instructors not to get so focused on what they want to teach that it affects the effectiveness of their teaching. “Keep it simple and flexible,” he says, adding that there are many ways to complete a goal. “The instructor should not get too frustrated if circumstances get you away from your lesson plan. Remember, we are dealing with horses and people with minds of their own. It should never be a one-size-fits-all program.”

After the Lesson

Taking notes on the lesson plan can help with future lesson plans. “We always write notes on each student after the lesson on what they succeeded with and what they could work on, or the next possible step,” says West. “We also will note how horses rode, any issues, or if the plan was changed.”

Reimer shares that her notes, which she archives for two years, are detailed enough that if another instructor has to step in, then they will know each rider’s strengths, weaknesses, and skill level.

However, while details are important, says Dobbs, he warns that too many can be problematic. “Some lesson plans I have seen have so much going on that I even got confused,” he adds.

Reimer’s final piece of advice is for instructors to think back on how they learned all that they know. “Don’t expect your students to learn it any faster,” she says, especially if they only ride once a week. “It took me trying to learn piano as an adult to appreciate muscle memory and retention of the skill from one week to the next.”

While lesson planning is never an exact science, being organized and fine-tuning what works for you and your lesson program can make the time invested well worth it. And CHA’s various resources, including advice from fellow members, can always improve any lesson program.

Sarah Evers Conrad is the editor of CHA’s The Instructor, and is also published in a variety of equine publications, such as Horse Illustrated, The Horse, Arabian Horse Life, American Quarter Horse Journal, American Paint Horse Journal, USDF Connection, and others. In addition, she helps equine businesses with their marketing through her company, All In Stride Marketing. AllInStrideMarketing.com.

For more on lesson planning and to see a blank sample lesson plan and several additional completed sample lesson plans, you can purchase CHA’s The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding from www.CHA.horse/store.

  • Pull Sample Lesson Plan from Equine Professional Manual from pg. 191 and 192
  • Show the cover of The Equine Professional Manual—The Art of Teaching Riding

Drill Team Maneuvers

Teaching

Tack Room

Lessons getting stale? Tired of traveling in the same circles? Try doing mounted drill team work with your riders! You can do drill team maneuvers with two riders or more. It develops rating skills in your riders and helps them learn the true meaning of teamwork. For extra enthusiasm, let the riders pick the music and choreograph the pattern. There are numerous maneuvers you can make with drill team riders, from basic school figures to fancy wheels and pass-throughs. Drill team patterns can be done for all levels of riders and may be done at the walk, trot or canter. We recommend starting at the walk and reserving canter movements for only the most advanced riders.

Kathy Reimer,
BC Canada

CHA Asst. Clinic Instructor

Rainbow reins, the multi-colored rubber reins made popular by pony club, are helpful teaching tools for young riders because the instructor can easily tell the student what amount of contact she should have by saying, “Put your hands on green.” But rainbow reins can be expensive so we just use colored electrical tape to mark our reins for the same effect!

Amy Habak,
Wheeling, WV

CHA Asst. Clinic Instructor

Herd Management

Horse Lingo

Never a farrier around when you need one? Try scheduling your farrier to come once a week, rain or shine, during your busy season and keep the herd on a rotating schedule. Not only will this make things easier for you, but also if you have problems in-between shoeings, you can get the horse fixed up and back in service quickly.

Holly Fox,
Davis, CA

CHA Asst. Clinic Instructor

Fishing and horses are two sports that just don’t mix all that well. And while horses are known to have a condition called FOUNDER, that is not to be confused with a tasty, but funny looking fish known as a FLOUNDER! Founder is a layman’s term for the serious and sometimes life-threatening disease technically known as LAMINITIS. Laminitis can be caused by many things known and unknown, such as over-eating grain, excessive weight, excessive stress, etc., and manifests in a an inflammation of the laminae of the hoof. The laminae are the highly vascular connective tissue between the inner structure of the hoof and the hoof wall. Since this is a closed space, inflammation and swelling causes severe pain and distress for the horse. A foundered horse needs immediate medical attention and the rehabilitation will be a joint effort between a skilled farrier and your vet.

Joanne Young,
Houghton, NY

CHA Clinic Instructor

Teach the 3 Different Ways that People Learn

Teaching

Tack Room

A good reminder for instructors, as we approach the busy teaching season, comes directly from the newly released CHA Instructor’s Manual. People learn in three different ways: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. The auditory learner will benefit most from the explanations that accompany any effective lesson, while the visual learner will learn more from the demonstration. A kinesthetic learner will learn best from actually practicing the motor skills. All of us learn in all three ways, but typically individuals will favor one method over the other two. For this reason, it is important to make sure all of your lessons present information in all three ways. Remember, that for a visual learner, a poor demonstration may leave a lasting impression of the wrong thing. For this reason, it important for the demonstration to be very good and you should avoid demonstrating the wrong thing or how not to do something. (The new Instructor’s Manual is now available by calling the CHA office; it is a valuable tool for instructors and trail guides).

A bit frequently seen in tack rooms everywhere is the “Tom Thumb snaffle” or western snaffle. This is a shanked bit with a jointed mouthpiece. This bit is commonly misunderstood and believed to be a very mild bit, because of its jointed mouthpiece. In fact, the bit can be quite harsh since the jointed mouthpiece allows the bit to squeeze the chin of the horse, an action referred to as the “nutcracker effect.” Additionally, when the shanks come together from a pull on both reins, the jointed part pushes up into the roof of the horse’s mouth, which is a highly sensitive area. This bit is definitely a leverage bit and is not a direct pressure bit like a snaffle. Horses using this bit will frequently open their mouth to try and escape the pressure. The bit definitely has its use, but if it is a mild bit you are looking for, this isn’t it.

Herd Management

Horse Lingo

Funguses and skin disorders are common problems in the summer, especially when the same grooming equipment is used for a large herd. Brushes and grooming tools should be disinfected regularly through out the season. Place the brushes in a five-gallon bucket and soak in a mix of bleach, detergent and water. Allow the brushes to soak for at least an hour, rinse VERY thoroughly (to avoid skin irritation caused by the bleach and detergent) and allow the brushes to dry in the sun. Disinfect brushes and grooming tools every time a horse shows signs of a skin disorder or on a routine basis, weekly or monthly. Whenever a horse shows signs of a skin disorder, be sure to disinfect and isolate his brushes and tack, so that it does not come in contact with any other horses.

Stride Vs. Step: a stride refers to one complete cycle of all four feet during the gait. For instance, the canter (or lope) is a three beat gait and one stride of the canter includes all three beats (the outside hind, then the inside hind and outside fore as a diagonal pair, then finally the inside fore). A step is the action of one beat during the stride. So one step in the canter stride would be when the leading fore leg moves forward as the final beat of the canter stride.

Are There Thief Horses in Your Barn?

Are There Thief Horses in Your Barn?

By Doug Emerson

At some point, all professional horsemen realize that they can’t keep forever every good horse that ever walked into the barn. Buying and later selling horses is an unavoidable part of the horse business. There is no doubt about it, becoming fond of your horses is a terrific benefit of being in business. However, your affection and familiarity can also be a financial tie down that will ruin your business. It’s not always easy to accept, but the profitable horseman understands that horses in his or her barn are assets; they aren’t pets.

From a business viewpoint, all horses are either appreciating in value or depreciating in value. The horses in your barn are either generating income as: lesson horses, brood mares, stallions, or are inventory for sale. With no revenue or potential revenue source attached, all other horses are ongoing operating expenses. With no revenue offset, the horse becomes a financial dependent on your business’s welfare roll.

Not only is it an operating expense, it is also an opportunity cost. Think about it, if a horse occupies a stall and generates no income or has little or no potential for future income, it is a thief horse. Unlike a horse thief, a thief horse steals your potential to earn profit from the space and resources it occupies. That stall could be used for:
Boarding
Horse for training
Lesson Horse
Brood Mare
A speculation horse “bought right”
An empty stall for attracting the next opportunity
In economic terms, there is an opportunity cost for every decision you make in your equine business. An opportunity cost is defined as the cost of something in terms of an opportunity foregone. Said a different way, unlike Yogi Berra’s classic line, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it”, every fork in the road you come upon requires a choice. The road you choose is the path you follow. The road not taken is your opportunity cost since you cannot travel two paths at the same time. Choosing the more profitable path that fits your business vision is the correct choice to make every time.

It’s the right time of year to consider whether or not you have any “thief horses” in your barn and if you do how to find a new home for them. Just like any business, the horse business requires that assets produce revenue. A manufacturer or retailer has the opportunity to mothball equipment and machinery in storage if a future need should arise. The cost of storage is relatively cheap and is a good option to have assets available for future use. Obviously, mothballing your horses in a warehouse is not a choice for the professional horseman. While the manufacturer’s machinery can be put back into service easily with a dusting and a few drops of oil, our equine friends require consistent feeding and care along with conditioning.
What are the solutions for finding a new home for your horses that no longer fill the job intended for them at your farm?
Find a buyer who doesn’t need the performance out of the horse that you are expecting. There are many buyers that don’t need a Ferrari; they’re looking for a Chevy.

Donate the horse to a good home as a companion horse. Even if performance or soundness is an issue, horses with good manners are always in demand as pasture buddies for other horses. Giving away a horse may at first seem to be a poor business practice, but as you analyze the costs of maintenance, instant relief from the expenses is worth the sacrifice of marginal sale proceeds.

Maintain ownership and lease to beginner riders who want to care for and love a horse of their own. The lessee gets the horse she has always wanted; you get some relief from your overhead expenses.

As a business owner, if your assets are non-producing, then it’s up to you to make changes. Undeniably, it’s easy to become emotionally attached to good horses. But, when horses can no longer fill the job description in your equine business plan, the right thing for you to do as a professional horseman is to find a new job for them where they will still be loved and appreciated.

About the Author: Doug Emerson trains, consults and coaches professional horsemen and horsewomen struggling with the business half of the horse business. You can reach him and receive free eblasts by visiting www.ProfitableHorseman.com or by calling (716) 434-5371.

Benefits of the Cross-Under Bitless Bridle

Benefits of the Cross-Under Bitless Bridle

By Dr. Robert Cook

I am proud that my company, The Bitless Bridle Inc. is sponsoring CHA. Our objectives are so compatible that the ‘marriage’ might have been made in horse heaven. For 57 years, I have been a veterinary surgeon and teacher, with a research focus on the horse’s head. Eight years ago, my research spawned a product and I became a salesman. I declare this conflict unashamedly as I know that I am doing more to help horses and riders now than at any previous time.

Before you assume that the product is snake-oil, please read an independent opinion from Dr. Jessica Jahiel’s newsletter archives that contains the quote, “By giving up the use of the bit, you don’t sacrifice any control…” (read)
See also her article “What is this new Bitless Bridle?”.

The cross-under bitless bridle (CBB) is painless and it eliminates the fear and nervousness responsible for most of the hundred or more behavioral problems caused by the bit (click here). Without a bit there is also no impediment to breathing, so the horse performs more willingly and accidents caused by fatigue are less likely. Because a bitless horse can stride in time with its breathing, the gait is more rhythmic and graceful. It is also more efficient because the CBB doesn’t interfere with the energy-saving ‘head bob’. As bits frequently cause painful bone spurs on the bars of the mouth and problems such as headshaking (facial neuralgia), the CBB avoids both of these serious side-effects.

The mode of action of the bridle is simple but subtle. At no time can rein pressure be anything but trivial as it is always well distributed. For signaling to slow or stop, intermittent tension on both reins hugs the whole of the head. The greatest pressure, such as it is, occurs across the bridge of the nose, with less pressure on the chin and cheek, and least pressure on the poll. As seen in the line drawing for steering, tension on one rein (black arrow) nudges one half of the head (white arrows).

The longer stride of the horse translates into greater speed. Obviously, this is of special relevance to the racehorse, but other horses also walk and trot faster. The more energy-efficient stride promotes greater stamina. Freedom from pain allows a horse to focus on the job in hand, engendering confidence and courage. Absence of oral pain means that the horse’s neck is not tense. Consequently, the back too remains flexible and stiff, choppy gaits are avoided. Elimination of bit-induced head shaking allows a horse to perform better in dressage, show jumping and all other disciplines. Removing a steel rod from a sensitive body cavity eliminates a major physiological confusion. A bit triggers dominance of the digestive mode, whereas what is needed in the exercising horse is the respiratory and cardiovascular mode. Problems such as a gaping mouth, protruding tongue, excessive salivation and repeated swallowing are eliminated when the oral foreign body is removed (www.bitlessbridle.com/pathophysiology.pdf).

The key to success with a bitted bridle is ‘good hands.’ The term describes the minimal use of hands and, therefore, the minimal amount of pain. The less a rider depends on hand aids, the more her performance and that of her horse improves. The ultimate of ‘good hands’ is no bit at all. By definition, therefore, the CBB guarantees ‘good hands’ and focuses the rider’s attention on communicating by seat and legs, balance and breathing. It makes for better riders. It also avoids the need for riders to constantly correct a resistant horse. Instead they ride a compliant horse and can foster that harmony and partnership which is the goal of good horsemanship.

The bit – incorrectly viewed as necessary for control – frequently causes loss of control and a host of negative side-effects. For example, bit-induced pain triggers bolting. A horse that defends itself from the bit by placing it between its teeth or under its tongue deprives the rider of all control. Bit-induced problems such as bolting, rearing, bucking, and rushing or refusing jumps, are causes of serious injury to the rider or even sudden death. Bit-induced fear can be the cause of a horse becoming aggressive (biting & kicking) in the stable. A bitted horse may become dangerous at the moment of mounting. Hair-trigger responses to the bit or over-reaction to bit aids are to be avoided in an animal as powerful as a horse.

The CBB is easy to fit, versatile and universal (read more). It can serve as a bridle, lead halter and lunging cavesson. It is usable on all sizes, types and temperaments of horse and by riders of all ages and experience. It is a particular boon for handicapped, young or novice riders as they cannot hurt their horse. Apart from limitations on use of the CBB for certain competitions, currently imposed by FEI rules, there are no contraindications for its use in any discipline.

Grab Hands

“Grab Hands”
It drives me crazy to see people lead a horse by holding onto the halter, instead of using a lead rope. This action is both dangerous and poor horsemanship. Wrapping your fingers around a halter can very quickly and easily turn into a dislocated shoulder, by the horse throwing his head or spooking. Additionally, horses don’t much care for hands in their face and grabbing the horse by the halter positions the handler far too close to the horse’s head and front feet. This close proximity to the horse’s head can lead to claustrophobia on the horse’s part (which may in turn lead to a pull-back problem) and puts the human in a dangerous position which may lead to being butted by the horse’s head or run over. Not to mention how easy it is for the horse to throw his head and get loose. Whenever you handle a horse, use a lead rope and hold the rope 6-8″ below the halter, so as not to crowd the horse’s head and front end.

Who’s in Charge Anyway?

“Who’s in Charge Anyway?”
Julie Goodnight, Master Instructor and Clinician, Poncha Springs, CO

Many people mount up on their horse and no sooner is their seat in the saddle and their foot in the stirrup than the horse just walks off, with no cue from the rider. In short order, the horse, which is by now used to making decisions unauthorized by you, is walking off before you sit down and then when you put the foot in the stirrup to mount. We tend to want to blame the horse at this point: my horse won’t stand still for mounting, when we have effectively trained the horse over time to not stand still for mounting by condoning his unauthorized decisions. A horse should stand perfectly still when you mount, as you adjust the saddle and get settled and should wait for you to actually cue him to walk before he goes any where. Allowing a horse to walk off at any time without a specific cue to walk, is teaching the horse that he can do what he wants, when he wants. When I am teaching a group lesson, I like to explain to the riders that your horse may try to walk off when the horse in front of him walks, but to make him stand until he is patiently awaiting y our signal. This is a great exercise for both the horse and rider. If you ride your horse with awareness and control, he will learn that he has to wait for a directive from you in all things and at all times.

Emergency Dismount

I am the Riding Director at a horseback riding summer camp. Over the winter, I like to go through the program and re-evaluate our policies and procedures. My question is concerning our current emergency dismount. Presently the dismount goes as follows:

1) Make a “butterfly” with your hands so the reins are just resting on your thumbs.

2) Put your hands on your horse’s neck (not touching the saddle)

3) Bring your feet out of the stirrups, swing legs three times and jump off using your horses neck

4) If possible, bring your horse’s reins over his head and hold them (under shanks with right hand, extra rein in left hand)

First off, can you see anything wrong with this dismount? We have been using it for 30 years but, I know that doesn’t automatically mean that it’s right. I am considering changing the last part (#4): Instead of bringing the reins over the horse’s head, leaving them over the saddle horn and holding the reins under the shanks with the right hand. That way, if the horse is spooking, he can run away without getting the person stuck to him, causing rope burn or getting the reins around his legs. I would like to know what you think of my change and of our current emergency dismount. Thank You! Sincerely, Jennifer Willey Hi Jennifer, This is somewhat of a controversial subject. Whereas many of us used to teach the emergency dismount, in the past few years it has gone out of favor. Many people feel (myself included) that you increase the risk of injury to the rider by practicing the emergency dismount and also that it is often better for the rider to remain mounted than to bail off a moving horse. If it is truly an emergency worthy of an emergency dismount, it is probably not a real controllable situation. In my experience, I have seen too many sprained ankles and pulled muscles from practicing it, not to mention the aggravation the horse goes through at being repeatedly mounted. I have also had riders that were far too quick to jump off a moving horse and though I have not had any serious injuries this way, it is only by luck. On the other hand, my son (13 y/o), who is prone to ride bareback and bridle-less out in the pasture, was taught the emergency dismount from GaWaNi PonyBoy (a popular Native American clinician) and uses it frequently. I am very glad that he learned it. PonyBoy teaches the Native American technique of rolling off the horse. I have not seen his presentation on this particular topic, but you might want to check it out. He has a website at www.ponyboy.com. As for the specific question on your technique, the only thing I can see is that we do not recommend that the rider hold onto the reins at all, for the risk is too great of pulling the horse onto you if you lose your balance. While it would be nice if everyone remained in control of their horses, if an emergency dismount is truly warranted, it is likely the rider needs to get away from the horse (a horse being stung by yellow jackets comes to mind). I was glad to see you mentioned taking the feet out of the stirrups and you might want to emphasize it more by making that its own step. It is amazing how often people forget that one really important step. I know of one lawsuit where that was the cause of injury, the rider tried to do an emergency dismount but forgot to take his feet out of the stirrups and suffered a badly broken ankle. It is refreshing to hear of someone improving written policies. Just the fact that you have written policies indicates how well run your program is. Since I spend a great deal of time traveling around the country giving lectures urging professionals to establish written procedures, it is great to hear when people already have them, let alone, updating and improving them! It is a testament to your dedication to safety. Keep up the good work!

Beginning Teacher

I’ve had my certification for about a year now, (English-1, Western-2. Trail-2), but haven’t really taught much, so I am a little intimidated about taking formal students. Foremost, I want my students to be safe. What are some of the most common ways beginner students get into trouble? Also, the facility I’ll be working at doesn’t have an arena yet, but does have designated “arena” areas. Do you have any tips to mitigate that issue? I also want my students to have fun. What are you favorite games for small lessons? Most of my lessons will be individual, and I plan to cap them at three riders. Thanks so much, I appreciate any advice you have.

– Logan

Logan,

Even though you have not had much experience, you must have good communication skills and horse sense if you received Level 2 instructor and trail guide. That tells me that you probably are okay on knowledge and ability, you just need experience to gain confidence. With each lesson that you teach, you will gain this valuable experience.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “Good judgment comes from experience, and a whole lot of that comes from bad experience,” Mark Twain. This statement is all too true in the horse business. But the fact that you are Level 2 certified leads me to believe you have had enough experience to make good judgments. That’s how beginners get into the most trouble: poor judgment; either on the part of the individual or the instructor.

Part of having good judgment includes using only the safest of horses; having qualified and complete supervision; using safe equipment and inspecting all tack before each use; having safe facilities; developing solid lesson plans; establishing and rehearsing emergency plans; and finally, imagining the absolute worst case scenario that could happen with horses and plan for that contingency.

Honestly, every time I look back on a horse wreck that I was involved in, I can find a way it could have been foreseen or prevented. Of course, the more experience you have, the easier it gets to make good judgments. But if you think it through, you’ll prevent many incidents.

As for your question about the open riding area, it is a lawsuit waiting to happen. CHA standards mandate that riding arenas are of suitable size for the activities performed (which in your case is beginner riding lessons—so you need a minimum of 32 linear feet of rail per horse); with a minimum 3’6” high fence made of wood, plastic or metal; good footing; free of hazards; as level as possible and regularly inspected and maintained. Since you are CHA certified, you have an obligation to uphold these standards because knowingly disregarding them makes you appear to be negligent.

The good news is that although beginner riders must start in a confined area, the space you need to teach a maximum of three beginners is quite small. It is only 96 linear feet of rail; or a square pen of only 24’ X 24’. That’s only 8 twelve foot coral panels and if you found some used panels, it would probably cost you less than $500. Put in a post at each corner (you could even use metal T-Posts if you had to) and you’ve got yourself a beginner arena for small group lessons.

Looking for ways to make your lessons fun, like playing games, it a wonderful idea and it meets the second of the three mandates for a good CHA lesson: Safe, Fun & Effective. There are many ideas on the CHA website (www.CHA-ahse.org) in the Q&A section on how to make lessons fun, including many games. With beginners, the main thing you are teaching them is position and control, so your games should focus on building and reinforcing those skills.

Logan, I am confident that with your commitment to safety and excellence, you are going to be a great instructor and keep your beginners safe. Get your arena in order, make sure your horses and equipment are top notch and keep your eagle eye focused on your students and their safety and before you know it, you’ll be giving advice to other new instructors on how to build a successful lesson business. Good luck!