AHA, Inc. Horse Handling Clinic Series

The following are One Day Horse Handling Clinics to be offered to facilities interested in improving horse handling skills. In addition, facilities can customize courses with faculty according to facility needs. Each clinic takes place in the arena and may start in the barn for tacking up and practicing horsemanship skills. These are hands-on clinics structured to give the participants practical experience for training and conditioning horses for hippotherapy and other equine disciplines. A practical demonstration is performed by the AHA, Inc. Faculty with guidance for participants to practice the specific skills. The format is similar to other horse clinics specific to their discipline. 

There is no power point or classroom learning. All learning takes place in and arena and barn. 

Leading  1 

Leading  2 

Long Lining  1 

Long Lining  2 * 

Intermediate Long Lining * 

Advanced Long Lining * 

Leading  1 – Open to all who desire to become horse handlers for hippotherapy as well as any person interested in how to lead a horse correctly from the ground. This clinic focuses on developing a solid foundation and connection with the horse during leading. The handler will learn safe leading techniques throughout the equine environment and during treatment to produce quality movement in transitions, changes of direction and school figures while the horse is used in therapy. 

Leading  2 – This clinic is an extension from Leading Part 1 and involves learning to produce dynamic movement, manipulate movement to enhance adaptability for the therapist, maintain quality of movement through exercises to increase horse’s engagement, transition within gaits and improve flexibility and strength through linking school figures and obstacles. 

Long Lining 1– Open to all who desire to learn how to long line and have taken the leading series or are accomplished producing quality movement while leading horses. This course focuses on developing a solid foundation in long lining. 

This clinic includes how to start a horse in long lines, safety considerations, and basic maneuvers. This course gives the participant practice in the arena for handling techniques to enhance the connection in long lines and also how to maneuver a horse during transitions and basic school figures with quality movement. This basic course also enables the handler to create quality of movement of horses used in therapy. Safety and emergency procedures are demonstrated. 

Long Lining  2* – This clinic is an extension of Long Lining Part 1. Horse handlers learn how to produce higher levels of hind quarter engagement for the horse in long lines and develop and refine their handling abilities to produce more dynamic movement in school figures, manipulate movement to enhance transitions, and refine the level of connection with the handler and the horse. Participation in mock emergency situations and working with a variety of horses for experience will be reinforced. 

Intermediate Long Lining * – This clinic is an intermediate course where participants continue to develop connection, frame and quality of movement with a variety of horses. Handlers work toward attaining and maintaining a solid connection with the horse, creating a frame, and developing self -carriage. Further, evaluation of horses being led vs long lined , both from the ground and on the horse, will be included. Training and conditioning progression for horses will be discussed. Mock treatment sessions may also occur. 

Advanced Long Lining* – This clinic is an advanced course where participants will begin to introduce lateral movements in long lines to create endurance, strength and conditioning for their horse. Handlers will work toward attaining and maintaining a solid connection with the horse and maintaining a frame. Arena work will include safety, movement transitions, school figures and the steps to developing self-carriage in the horses while working on lateral movement. Participants will be given a chance for problem solving training errors and working with a variety of horses each at their own level of training. *Participants must have taken Longlining Part I and receive faculty permission to attend. 

Faculty for the clinics:

Ruth Dismuke Blakely, MS, CCC-SLP, HPCS***

Karen Gardner, MOT, OTR, HPCS

Lisa Harris, PT, HPCS

Leslie Lautenschlager, OTR/L,

*** Leading Clinics only