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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Ashleigh Hamill at email@example.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.