Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on March 29, 2007. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
MSU will host equine therapy certification
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As therapeutic riding programs catch on across the state, Mississippi State University is planning to host a national training workshop for instructors and volunteers interested in improving their skills.
The MSU Extension Service’s 4-H therapeutic riding program will host a national workshop June 7 and 8 for up to 40 people. The deadline for registration is May 1.
The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association’s national certification workshop for registered therapeutic riding instructors will take place at the Mississippi Horse Park. An additional one-day workshop for up to 10 qualified individuals seeking certification will follow on June 9. NARHA offers three levels of certification: registered, advanced and master.
Mary Riley, coordinator for Mississippi State’s 4-H TEAM, or Therapeutic Equine Activity Member, said this is the third national certification opportunity held in Mississippi.
“Involvement in NARHA fosters safe, professional and ethical therapeutic equine activities through education, communication, standards and research for people with and without disabilities,” said Riley, who holds advanced certification.
“Registered instructors demonstrate sufficient knowledge in horsemanship and riding skills,” she said. “They also must be able to structure a safe, meaningful lesson for riders with and without disabilities, and be able to provide feedback appropriate to the cognitive and physical abilities of each student.”
Requirements for taking part in a certification program include 18 years of age or older, current NARHA individual membership, 25 recorded hours of practice teaching under the supervision of a NARHA-certified instructor and current first-aid certification cards.
Carolyn Rhodes, director of Gaits to Success Therapeutic Horsemanship Center in Kiln, is a strong supporter of the need for individual certification and center accreditation. Rhodes, who serves as the president of the Mississippi Therapeutic Riding Association, said the special training helps ensure safety, effectiveness and consistency of services for all the centers throughout the country.
“The need for certification training is vital for dedicated individuals who want to bring the benefits of therapeutic horsemanship to those with disabilities,” Rhodes said. “The lack of certified instructors and accredited centers seems to be more prevalent in rural areas of the country, and the cost can be a deterrent. Having certification workshops at facilities in Mississippi will help address these needs for those wanting to be instructors in our state. The demand is there -- we just need more certified instructors.”
Volunteers gain skills and confidence by taking part in advanced training in therapeutic riding. Registered instructors gain significantly by taking part in the national certification workshop.
The workshop is ideal for individuals wanting to learn about equine therapy activities. For more information on NARHA certification, visit the official Web site at http://www.narha.org.
For more information on the MSU program or on therapeutic riding, contact Riley at (662) 325-3350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.