Certification Clinics

Types of Certification

Certifications are different by types and descriptions and not by standards of safety. One is either safe or not, there can not be levels of safety.

  • Full Riding Instructor
  • Riding Instructor Basic
  • Assistant Instructor/Trail Guide/Supervisor
  • Head Wrangler
  • Trail Guide
  • Equestrian Safety Supervisor
  • Participant
  • Clinician

Additional certifications and services available

  • Facility Certification
  • Secure Seat Riding Seminars
  • Equine Liability Workshops

See full descriptions of each type of certification

Attending a Certification Clinic

Instructor certification clinics are 5 days and 40 or more hours. Safety Supervisor and Wrangler/Trail Guide clinics may be shorter and can be customized. The daily schedule is full and there will be reading and other assignments most evenings, so full attention to your time at the clinic is essential to get the full benefit. For example: If you are attending a clinic close to your home please try to delegate your regular duties to others so you can be present all day and concentrate on the evening assignments.

Clinics are hosted by facilities around the country and each individual facility sets its own cost. Some offer meals and overnight accommodations, others do not. Cost per participant ranges from $500 to $900. To get registration information and specific costs please click on the 'schedule' tab and page through the calendar by month. When you find a facility or dates that you are interested in, click on the location and the contact information will pop up. The AAHS office does not have a list of each facilities charges.

All clinics are taught from a standardized curriculum and contain a Secure Seat workshop. Required texts for clinics are Teaching Safe Horsemanship and Secure Seat. Both are authored by Jan Dawson and are available on this website. You may get the books ahead of time or some facilities will have them for you to purchase. Daily schedule includes classroom time, ground sessions/demonstrations at the barn and riding time.

The focus of the instructor clinic is HOW TO TEACH, not how to ride. However, each candidate must take a riding test on a beginner level horse. Once they've gone through the Secure Seat (TM) workshop, most participants claim that thier riding has improved by the end of the clinic. People wanting non-riding certification do not have to ride. There are also written tests and a practical teaching test during the last days.

Topics Covered

  • Negligence law as it relates to the horse industry
  • Who needs insurance and what type of coverage is needed
  • Safekeeping of friends and relatives of students who want to visit the barn, ride a boarder's horse, or wander around the facility
  • What an Equine Activity Statue is and when it does and does not apply
  • Emergency procedures for different riding andnon-riding activities
  • WHat quality riding instruction is and is not
  • Improving teaching methods
  • How to develop and use procedure and staff manuals
  • Teaching specific goals and the integral parts of those goals
  • Efficient methods of instruction
  • Understanding release forms and what they must cover in each state
  • Evaluation and selection of lesson and trail horses
  • How leasing and donated horses affect liability
  • A complete set of exercises that teach measureable skills to riders
  • Recognizing areas of vulnerability
  • How to verify when students are ready for advancement
  • How to avoid accidents on and around horses
  • The origin of a lawsuit
  • What kinds of accidents generate a lawsuit
  • Understanding that preparing to avoid an accident is preparing to defend oneself if an accident happens.
  • Facility safety
  • Hiring staff and staff management


Why Become Certified?

Instructor Certification is important. Why? It documents your credentials. It immediately tells prospective students and clients something about your training. It tells them you are serious about what you do and that you are invested in your profession. It tells them you follow certain standards that are consistent.

The AAHS certification clinic is the only clinic that is designed to teach one person HOW to teach another to ride, and ride safely regardless of discipline. You may be an excellent trainer and/or an excellent rider. The AAHS clinic can also make you an excellent teacher of riding and riding safety. The clinic methods have been tested for more than 20 years, teaching many people to ride in many different locations and on many different, yet appropriate horses.

The clinic emphasis is on overall safety in every facet of horsemanship. Without BEING safe, one cannot teach safety to others. In riding, balance is the foundation for correctness; correctness in riding is the foundation for being a safe horseman. Correct riding is safe riding.

From a safety point of view, certification is the education that may prevent you from learning the hard way- that is at the expense of students. Certification also solidifies the principles that you use without thinking. This way the principles become a real and concrete part of every lesson and every ride.

Some of the philosophies of the AAHS organization come from such noted horsemen as Ray Hunt, Col. K. Albrecht von Ziegner, Paul Kathen, Jackie Krshka, Pete and Tamara Kyle, John Lyons and Jan Dawson.


See our full list of services