CHA CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS CHA has developed a highly lauded certification process for arena instructors, trail guides, instructors of riders with disabilities, vaulting coach, driving, equine facility manager and seasonal equestrian staff. Riding instructors are evaluated in five areas: safety, horsemanship knowledge and ability, teaching techniques, group control, and responsibility and professionalism. Specialty certifications include evaluation in areas based on the topics of that particular program. CHA's certification process has been continually monitored and refined for more than 40 years, in order to meet the needs of a changing horse industry.

The purpose of CHA clinics is to evaluate the existing knowledge and skill level of the clinic participants and to grant certification at the level that each participant is able to demonstrate his/her proficiency throughout the clinic, not to teach participants how to become an instructor,  trail guide, etc.  Everyone is certain to learn a lot at the clinic through all the knowledge shared by both participants and clinic staff, however CHA Clinic Staff do not certify new found knowledge.

Photo_Instructor_with_mounted_student.jpgTHE BENEFITS OF CHA CERTIFICATION… are numerous and effect not only the individual certified, but also the employer, program manager and the student/client. Certification is a validation of the individual's knowledge and ability and demonstrates to employers and customers that the certified individual has been proven against a respected standard, under independent evaluation. Certification means the individual is committed to professional standards and is proven to be safe, knowledgeable and effective. Additional benefits of CHA certification are insurance discounts, marketing/advertising advantages, increased employment opportunities and the experience of a "hands-on" program that offers critique by teaching experts and the opportunity to network with peers and colleagues. A range of levels of certification is available and certification maybe received at the end of the clinic.

THE CHA CERTIFICATION PROCESS… involves evaluation by two CHA Certified Clinicians, in a multi-day certification clinic held at approved CHA Program Member host site facilities. CHA certification clinics involve written tests, skills demonstrations and participation in workshops on topics such as risk management, teaching techniques, professionalism and herd management depending on the certification. Certification is awarded, if achieved, at the end of the clinic and the level of certification attained (if any) is the sole discretion of the two CHA Clinicians conducting the clinic. Certification is valid for three years from the certification date; the person must maintain annual individual membership in CHA. Instructors may recertify at the end of the three-year certification period by providing documentation of at least 25 hours of continuing education and work within the industry. The only way to raise the level of certification is to attend another CHA certification clinic. Seasonal equestrian staff certification requires a different certification process.

CHA CERTIFICATION CLINICS ARE AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE… Certification clinics are held at program member facilities throughout North America and are an exceptional value. Most host facilities charge from $600-$900 for a certification clinic, which typically includes lodging and meals. Clinic fees always include student manuals, instructor manuals, and CHA membership and certification fees. For a current certification clinic schedule, see Clinics by Date and Clinics by Location on this website.

CHA'S MINIMUM CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS… Instructor candidates must be a minimum age depending on the certification on the date of certification (no exceptions). A candidate for certification must have sufficient experience with horses and people to assume responsibility for the safety and well being of groups of less experienced riders/clients.  Candidates must have strong organizational skills and communicate clearly. Candidates must be able to demonstrate the ability to catch, lead, groom, tack and generally handle and care for horses without assistance.

Photo_Group_Lesson.jpgWHAT TO EXPECT AT A CERTIFICATION CLINIC... Candidates will teach lessons/skills demonstrations on topics assigned by the Clinic Staff, according to the candidate's ability level. When not teaching, the riding instructor candidates will ride in lessons, role-playing as a student. All riding instructor candidates will give oral evaluations of their own lessons, as well as the lessons given by other candidates; clinic staff will also give oral and written evaluations of lessons for safety, group control and effectiveness. Candidates will also be evaluated throughout the clinic on their professionalism, including appropriate dress, attitude and demeanor. Expect long days and evening classroom sessions; participants may also be expected to help with horse chores.

WHAT TO BRING TO A CERTIFICATION CLINIC… will depend on the type of clinic, time of year and the location of the host facility; specific information will be sent to participants after registration, by the host facility. Clothing should be safe, neat and suitable for riding and barn chores. Participants may be required to bring their own riding helmet or wear a helmet provided by the host facility. Participants should be prepared for classroom sessions and note taking, and it may be helpful to bring resources for use in planning lessons (books, poster board, models, charts, etc.). Suitable school horses and all necessary equipment are provided by the host facility; bringing private horses is discouraged (some facilities may accommodate private horses, others will not). It is acceptable for a participant to bring and use their own saddle, provided it is fitted to the horse, in good repair and available for everyone's use during the clinic.

TO REGISTER FOR A CERTIFICATION CLINIC… Browse our website by state or by date for current clinic listings, then contact the host site for registration information. Upon registration, participants will receive appropriate manuals, a course syllabus, packing list and additional information to help prepare for the clinic.