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Horsemanship Safety
Horsemanship Safety offers a defensible, systematic approach to teaching horsemanship safety.

Do You Have A Program That Teaches Students, Step by Step, How To Stay Safe In the Saddle? We Do!
HS offers an efficient and tested method for training instructors and trail guides and for teaching riding. It is the only method designed to teach one person how to teach another person to ride – English or Western.

We concentrate on teaching others to teach beginners and to re-school more advanced riders. Our philosophy is that all riders should be taught the basics--a balanced, secure seat -- first, rather than taught: “hands up, heels down”. Riders often develop bad habits if their first instructor is not competent to teach the basics correctly. If the rider progresses to a more advanced instructor, that instructor, many times, must backtrack and start the student over to fill in the holes in his or her basic seat. Secure Seat © is a quick and proven method for teaching correct basics and it is a trademarked system that is unique to AAHS. There is a Secure Seat © workshop imbedded in every Instructor Certification Clinic.

Our Secure Seat © method of teaching and learning is the only riding instruction method that has ever been accepted by the academic world. Several years ago, it was presented and accepted at the National Symposium on Equine Nutrition and Physiology. We are very involved with several universities and have provided numerous workshops, seminars, and other types of classes in the university environment.

Do You and Your Staff Have the Knowledge Needed to Best Protect Yourselves and Your Facility from Accidents and Possible Litigation? We Do!
We give our candidates the best grounding in equine negligence law of any certification program in the world. We prepare equestrian staff members--trainers, instructors, wranglers, facility owners, camp directors, guest ranch managers and owners as well as seasonal staff-- to understand how lawsuits originate and how to avoid them. Additionally, we prepare them to understand how to deal with a lawsuit should one be brought against them.

Horsemanship Safety is a non-profit, educational association founded in 1995. It answers a need for riding instructor and trail guide certification that relates personal skills to safety and helps insulate instructors, camps, stables and guest ranches from liability suits. AAHS offers a defensible, systematic approach to teaching horsemanship safety.

Can I Attend 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. Call us about Schedules or to arrange a clinic

The main 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 portion of the clinic, most participants claim that their 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.

We also focus upon equine liability and negligence law, facility management and program design. Intertwined in everything is SAFETY.

Our handbooks, Teaching Safe Horsemanship and Secure Seat, have been commercially published and have received rave reviews throughout the industry. Teaching Safe Horsemanship is recommended reading for United States Dressage Federation Instructors and other programs. We also have the most content rich, equine law web site in the industry. The law web site gives AAHS its strong legal base.

All of our clinicians are professionals and most have impressive competition credentials. They come from several different equestrian backgrounds including: competitive trail riding, hunter/jumper, western pleasure, reining, therapeutic riding, and dressage. Each clinician is a competent multidisciplinary rider who believes that correct basics are not discipline specific. There is only one way to sit on the horse and be in balance and you are either in balance or not.

We have different types of certification but we do not call them levels. At AAHS, one is either considered trained well enough to be left alone in an arena or on the trail with a group of riders, or not. We do not say an instructor or trail guide is more or less responsible or is of one level or another. Our Instructor Basic and Full Instructor are distinguished primarily by age, riding ability and experience. We also have a certification for non-riding supervisory personnel, such as camp directors or guest ranch managers, or any person who must be able to walk through an equestrian facility and recognize if proper standards are being followed.

What Types of Certifications AreAvailable At Horsemanship Safety?

Safety-Certified Full Riding Instructor
  •     Must demonstrate independent balanced seat at three gaits and be able to explain aids for each. This rider should be able to ride the horse at all gaits in total harmony, without influencing it in any way.
  •     Must be able to demonstrate side-pass or leg yield, stop and rein back with explanation of aids.
  •     Must be able to write clear, interrelated lesson plans.
  •     Must teach an exemplary practice lesson with appropriate use of assistant.
  •     Must be articulate and able to express thoughts clearly.
  •     Demonstrates superior safety awareness both in a class and around horses.
  •     Must make a 80% on exam including 100% on the Secure Seat skills section.
  •     Must be at least 21 years of age.
  •     Must have at least three years of professional teaching experience.
  •     By the end of the clinic will be able to demonstrate consistently the Secure Seat skills and explain their uses effectively, especially with respect to the 7-7-7

Safety-Certified Riding Instructor - Basic
  • Is able to walk trot and canter with reasonable security and balance.
  • Shows promise as a rider in that communications with the horse, while possibly unschooled or unclear, are not harsh or overly demanding.
  • By the end of the clinic will have demonstrated an understanding of the Secure Seat skills and is able to demonstrate them all in order and explain their use.
  • Can write interrelated lesson plans.
  • Can teach an organized lesson, with demonstrated ability to manage a class and utilize an assistant.
  • Demonstrates superior safety awareness throughout the clinic both in class and around horses.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must get an 80% on the exam including 100% on the Secure Seat skills section.
Safety-Certified Assistant Instructor or Assistant Trail Guide
The designation of assistant preceding any category of certification indicates that AAHS believes that this person needs additional practice and experience before being completely responsible for mounted riders. Must have passed the exam with a score of at least 70%.

Equestrian Safety Supervisor
This is a non-riding supervisory certification designed for those wishing to be able to evaluate their programs or assist with non-mounted activities. It is especially recommended for camp directors and facility owners who need to know that if they walk through the barn and past the arena, they are seeing what they should see.
  • Must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Has passed the exam with a score of a least 75% .
  • Has a high understanding of ground safety principles that keep riders from being injured while working around horses and preparing to ride.
Safety-Certified Head Wrangler
  •     Must be 21 years of age.
  •     Must be able to walk trot and canter with reasonable security and balance.
  •     Is able to write a lesson plan suitable for pre-ride instruction.
  •     Is competent to design and give pre-ride instruction and pre-ride skills tests.
  •     Is aware of the need to evaluate a rider and assign an appropriate horse.
  •     Has superior judgment and cross-country riding experience with an understanding of the hazards of rough-terrain riding in various climates.
  •     Can discuss basic principles of care and feeding of a trail horse.
  •     Must score a 75% on the exam including 100% on the Trail Ride section.
  •     May take a shortened clinic that excludes material not related to trail riding, safety barn management and relevant liability issues.
Safety-Certified Trail Guide
  • Must be 18 years of age.
  • Must be able to walk trot and canter with reasonable security and balance.
  • Is competent in pre-ride instruction.
  • Have cross-country riding experience and an understanding of the hazards of rough terrain riding in various climates.
  • Must score a 75% on the exam. Not responsible for the lesson portion of the exam.
  • May take a shortened clinic that excludes material not related to trail riding, safety barn management and relevant liability issues.
Want To Host A Certification Clinic at Your Barn?
Horsemanship Safety will send a certified clinician to the facility. Each clinician uses the standardized AAHS curriculum which includes the 2 required texts, Teaching Safe Horsemanship and Secure Seat, and a clinic packet of information not covered in the books. Trail Guide or Equestrian Safety Supervisor only clinics may be shorter and have less requirements than the 5-day instructor clinic. Call or e-mail the AAHS office for our Hosting Information packet.

Other Services We Offer:
  • Facility Certification
  • Secure Seat Workshops
  • Equine Legal Conferences
  • Referrals to Attorneys
  • Expert Witnesses
  • Best Business Practices
  • Risk Reduction Programs
  • Lectures and Workshops on Facility Management
  • Customized Programing to Meet Your Facility’s Needs
Make Sure You Have Our "Secure Seat©" Book!
At only $15.95 it is GOLD for anyone seeking to instruct riding students-- or for any horse person wanting to become a better rider themselves! Actual PROVEN "step by step" instructions on how to develop the most balanced and secure seat possible- and thus the safest possible experience on your horse.

What Does Say About The Secure Seat Book?
I have read many books on horsemanship and riding. When I heard of this book and had it sent to my office, I was certain it would contain many helpful tips. What I was amazed-- and thrilled-- to find, was that it was actual STEP BY STEP information on how to keep your seat!! I couldn't put it down. I found myself wishing I could call every instructor and rider on the planet-- and persuade them to read it. It was like a revelation-- so well written, so easily understood, and a MUST for instructors, trail guides, wranglers-- or those who have lost their confidence in riding-- PLEASE buy it-- READ it-- LIVE it... and you'll never regret it. I give this book FIVE STARS!
Ann Pruitt- Director of

Don't Wait for a Lawsuit or the Heartache of an Injured Student or Client! Call Today!
If teaching riding is your business, and if you are an instructor, trail guide, horse vacation wrangler or just want to be a better rider yourself, nothing can prepare you for success in safety better than the American Association For Horsemanship Safety. We believe everyone should be able to defend what they teach and do at their facility. Invest in yourself and your staff today!  We are worth every dime-- you'll never regret it-- and your students and clients will benefit tremendously. Remember: In preparing to avoid accidents you are preparing to avoid lawsuits! Call Jan Dawson Today!

Contact: Jan Dawson 
P.O. Box 39
Fentress, Texas 78622
Phone: 512-557-2950
Website: Click Here To Connect

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