NARHA, 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.
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.