NARHA News Masthead
In This Issue
Region Conferences
Riding Discipline Bias?
AAEP Good Works Nominations
Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning
The Next Gypsy Angel
Workshops and Certifications
Quick Links


Official NARHA Events 

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Region Conferences  
The NARHA 2011 Region Conferences are on the NARHA website. Check the Region Conferences page for dates and registration information.


February 1, 2011

Riding Discipline Bias?
Not in NARHA's Riding Certification Test
Whoa or Ho. Trot or Jog. Lope or Canter. Hmmmmm.....

Most horses understand these voice commands as well as the rider's natural aids needed to perform them, no matter what they're called. Horses show no bias when it comes to doing their job.
The NARHA Riding Certification Subcommittee stresses that the NARHA certification program and testing also shows no bias. The subcommittee has gathered feedback from certification candidates and recognizes some clarification of the certification process, especially the riding component, may be helpful.
A therapeutic horseback riding instructor needs to know and demonstrate bending, straightness of lines, control of the horse, along with correct posture and balance, body alignment, posting with the motion of the horse, canter leads, and the like. When teaching riders for whom balance is a primary goal, an understanding of these principles is critical. Additionally, these riding skills allow NARHA instructors to evaluate a prospective therapy horse for a program and to appropriately match equines and participants. In order to teach riding and evaluate equines, NARHA's Riding Certification Subcommittee has defined the criteria that objectively demonstrate these important skills.  
Some riding disciplines may spend more time working on these basic principles than others, but the basics are appropriate for all disciplines. After years of riding, no matter the discipline, candidates can benefit from reviewing these basics. It's a good idea to look over the NARHA riding certification criteria for the riding demonstration as you evaluate your riding skills, practice the pattern and review arena skills. Even confident and seasoned riders can benefit from studying the criteria and reaching back to those basic principles as they prepare for NARHA's certification test. The certification environment is often less relaxed than one's home environment, and arriving at the certification test knowledgeable about and fully prepared to meet all criteria ensures a greater level of confidence.
It is the evaluator's job to watch each candidate without bias. Whether an English or Western rider, beginner or advanced rider, the riding criteria is what is being tested, not the type of saddle, equipment or personal choice of discipline. The question NARHA's evaluators answer is:  Has the rider demonstrated knowledge of the skills necessary to benefit riders with disabilities as outlined in the NARHA Registered Instructor criteria. If yes, the candidate will pass the riding portion of the NARHA Registered Instructor certification test.

Click here for information on NARHA's certifications.
Nominate an Equine Veterinarian for AAEP Good Works  
The American Association of Equine Practitioners, a 2010 NARHA coAAEP logonference sponsor, is celebrating the "good works" of veterinarians who are devoting time and expertise beyond the scope of their everyday practice to help horses and the equine community.
To discover the Good Works of AAEP veterinarians, nominate a Good Works candidate or find out how you can get started volunteering, visit For more information on nominating a veterinarian for this program, contact Elizabeth Troutman, publications coordinator, at

The American Association of Equine Practitioners is headquartered in Lexington, KY, which will host the 2011 NARHA National Conference November 9-12.
Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning Certification and Workshops  
NARHA would like to accommodate individuals eager to be certified as Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning by holding more workshops and practical horsemanship skills tests. Help us add workshops for 2011! Workshops will now be offered with the new Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning practical horsemanship skills test if the host site chooses. Host sites can also host the practical horsemanship skills test without a workshop if they wish. This skills test is a requirement for certification.
If you are interested in hosting at a Premier Accredited facility or for more information, contact Tara McChesney at 800-369-7433 Ext 114 or Help get these workshops scheduled for 2011!
Applications Open for the Next Gypsy Angel - Deadline Approaching  
Angel Foundation logoThe American Gypsy Horse Angel Foundation
has announced the opening of applications for the next Gypsy Angel. Applications will be accepted January 1 through February 15, 2011.

Applications are open to any and all applicants, for all types of equine-assisted activities and therapies programs.

The American Gypsy Horse Angel Foundation works in partnership with the American Gypsy Horse Breed Association to place Gypsy horses into EAAT centers. Last spring, the Angel Foundation received 41 applications for the award. Because they received so many highly qualified applicants, the Angel Foundation made the decision to place THREE Gypsy Angels!

The foundation, which only awards horses to NARHA centers, awarded Gypsy Angels to J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center in San Juan Capistrano, CA; Hearts & Horses Therapeutic Riding Center in Loveland, CO; and National Ability Center in Park City, UT.

Please e-mail  for more information and to download the Gypsy Angel application form.
Workshops and Certifications  
Unless otherwise noted, contact Tara McChesney at (800) 369-7433, ext. 114 for further information. All dates are subject to change.

NARHA Advanced Level Certifications
April 29-May 1
Brave Hearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center in Harvard, IL

May 20-22
Three Gaits, INC in Oregon, WI
June 1-3
High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center Inc in Old Lyme, Connecticut

July 15-16
Ride On Center for Kids in Georgetown, Texas
NARHA Driving Workshops and Certifications
Workshop is held the first 3 days, certification is held the last 2 days
April 26-29
Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Longview, Texas

June 2-4
Hands-on Workshop Only
Horse Power in Temple, NH

June 20-22
Demo Workshop Only
Brave Hearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center in Harvard, IL

November 5-9
Gayla Driving Center/U.S. Driving for the Disabled, Inc.

NARHA Vaulting Workshop and Certification
Workshop is held first 3 days and certification is held on the last day
Currently we do not have any workshops or certifications scheduled for 2011. Please contact the NARHA office if you are interested in hosting.

Mentor Training Workshop
March 26-27
Maryland Therapeutic Riding in Crownsville, Maryland

Please visit the NARHA calendar for a list of 2011 Registered on-site workshops and certifications (they are a light teal green color). Please note the list is not complete. There will be more Registered OSWC events added.
Please direct correspondence about this newsletter to NARHA News coordinator. NARHA News is a benefit of NARHA membership. No portion of this publication may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic, scanned or electronic process without written permission from NARHA. NARHA reserves the right to reject, accept and edit submitted material. NARHA News is intended as an information exchange and an opportunity for communication for members in the field of equine assisted activities. The opinions, practices or products presented in NARHA News do not necessarily reflect NARHA policy, imply NARHA endorsementor comply with NARHA standards.

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