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Interested in Becoming a Therapeutic Riding Instructor?

Learn more about the certification process from NARHA.

By Edited Press Release | 5-Feb-11

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Equine-Assisted ActivitiesNARHA, formerly the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, was formed to promote equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for individuals with special needs. With over 3,500 certified instructors, more than 42,000 children and adults with physical, mental and emotional challenges find strength and independence through the power of the horse each year.

NARHA offers three levels of certification for therapeutic riding instructors: registered, advanced and master. Therapeutic riding instructors who teach at NARHA Centers are required to achieve one level of NARHA Instructor Certification status.

Registered instructors conduct a safe, basic equestrian lesson to individuals with disabilities. An advanced instructor is knowledgeable in horsemanship and understands disabilities and their relationship to therapeutic riding. At the master’s level, the instructor has a strong background in horsemanship and teaching, as well as a thorough knowledge of disabilities. The instructor has the ability to step into any instruction situation in the field of EAAT and take charge effectively. This program is designed for those instructors with career involvement in therapeutic riding.

NARHA also offers instructor certification in the specialty disciplines of driving, interactive vaulting and the recently released equine specialist in mental health and learning. Centers can use driving to offer students the rewards of interacting with a horse or pony while driving from a carriage. Interactive vaulting, often equated to gymnastics on horseback, uses a surcingle to allow riders to perform many movements. It promotes strength, flexibility, balance and coordination as well as confidence, trust, patience and critical thinking. The equine specialist in mental health and learning certifies an individual as the horse handler in any un-mounted mental health or learning session.

In addition to these certifications, NARHA also now offers an international certification.

To learn more about certification, visit the NARHA website.

To find upcoming workshops in your area, visit the NARHA events calendar.

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Reader Comments

sigr    pensacola, FL

11/1/2011 1:27:02 PM


Pat    Great Falls, MT

2/6/2011 8:46:12 PM

I volunteer at Eagle Mount Horse Therapy of GF, Mt. I am not an instructor but help with the duties that surround taking care of 18 horses, 2 donkeys, 1 minni poney and 1 minni donkey. It is definately work but I get so much more out of it than I put in. It is amazing to see how much the children and adults get out of it. I highly recommend volunteering.

Miranda    Lincoln, NE

2/6/2011 4:49:21 PM

I used to volunteer at a therapudic barn, it was very rewarding. The happiness the kids got out of it, and how they learned to better control themselves, and figure out their issues..and they LOVE THE HORSES. They just see it as a BFF, and they seem more willing to explain things to the horses than to people. I definitly recommend people that love horses and want to help others get involved with this kind of stuff.

amy    rockford, IL

2/6/2011 12:20:01 PM

hey cindy im thrilled you live in rockford! just curious where in rockforddo you live?

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