Accreditation with HSA


There are now three main streams available at our clinics:

  • Riding instructors
  • Trail Guides
  • Instructors of Horse Handling

Our accreditation processes cover safe procedures and systems, the Codes and Guides which exist in Australia for different areas of teaching and supervising those interacting with horses, and stretches across all disciplines: English,Western, natural horsemanship, “Australian stockman” and other styles of riding and interacting with horses.

We include in the clinics the materials linked to a unit of competency from the SIS10 Training Package: SISOEQU010 Identify hazards, assess and control risks in horse handling and riding activities.

The assessment process is carried out in 3, 4 or 5  day clinics (The time you are involved depends on the areas where you are already working or those you want to be involved in: eg it could be both instructor and trail guide, or one of these or the other, or just teaching horse handling etc.)

Our assessments all involve working with horses and people (including having the other participants role play beginner riders)  working with groups of clients as well as 1:1 teaching, and are relevant to the sole operator (teaching riding, running clinics etc.) as well as those working in Equine Assisted Learning – who want a safety linked accreditation – as well as those working in a team in a riding school, educational institution or trail riding business.

The clinics usually involve up to 12 people from diverse backgrounds. (This is one of our strengths – it is a great networking opportunity). They always have a lot of practical input, with most of the days spent with horses and other participants, going through the types of situations you will find yourself in when working with your clients (from complete beginners through to more advanced riders/handlers). The clinic costs for each type of qualification can be found in the ‘Clinics/Future Clinics’ section.

All accreditation with HSA must include a first aid certificate (currently this is HLTAID011 Provide first aid ) which is widely available throughout Australia, through many providers. Note, this is not part of our clinics.

 Riding Instructor

Sometimes we have younger people attend our courses (16 -17 year olds ) who want to make a start in their journey as instructors/trail guides . They can only receive an ‘Assistant’ level in both these area,  which potentially can be upgraded when they turn 18 if they have passed all elements of the  assessments during the  clinic processes. Sometimes these people need to return to a clinic at a  later date if they need to demonstrate their skills have developed sufficiently to meet our requirements. we call them:

  • ASSISTANT INSTRUCTOR: Minimum age 16. Can assist in a lesson under the direct (visual) supervision of a qualified instructor.  (This means that they should NOT run a riding lesson on their own). Includes the principles of Workplace Health and Safety in their actions, understands basic daily care and safe handling of horses, simple concepts of minimal environmental impacts, follows instructions, and can walk, trot/jog and canter/lope independently on a beginner level horse.

The full  ‘instructor‘ accreditation is broken down into three groups:

  • Introductory Instructor: Minimum age 18, qualified to provide foundational instruction to beginners, with a strong emphasis on risk management, planning and communication. These people must be able to assist a group of beginners to mount their horses, and help them to control the horses, keep them in line, through activities where the horses walk and turn and stop. They must understand the principles of teaching basic trotting skills, and how to canter. They must effectively supervise their riders’ dismount and departure from the horse areas. They should work in an environment which is under the oversight of a more experienced instructor who makes the overall decisions about what is taught at what level and to whom, which horses are used and is responsible for  the management of the horse program..
  • Instructor Minimum age 18. The instruction at this level includes the skills of teaching and supervising riders in groups and/or individually in the areas of: mounting, correct position and control at walk and trot/jog and canter/lope.  These people are expected to ride competently themselves and have the ability to communicate good riding skills and theory to their clients as they progress through the fundamentals of riding. This level also includes the abilities to supervise others around horses, transport horses in floats, apply first aid for horses (including giving injections) and manage herds in a structured environment.
  • Senior Instructor (minimum age 25- as these people are considers leaders and role models in the industry) (previous skills plus): This qualification demands a higher level of personal horsemanship and an ability to develop your riders’ skills with a greater emphasis on horsemanship theory, including balance of horse and rider, form and style etc. e.g.  English: schooling figures, jumping, dressage movements; Western: reining, improving the seat and skills related to performance events.   The content of the theory will depend on the discipline followed by the candidate.  This includes problem solving in horse behaviours, skill development in groups of riders, and horse theory, including knowledge of basic anatomy, physiology and conformation.


The Trail Guide accreditation is one level only (other than an assistant, who must have good personal riding and horse handling  skills but may not be ready to take responsibility for others out on a trail ride). The Trail Guide accredited by HSA can manage a tourist on a short  ride through to day rides and overnight rides. The assumption is made that very few people now go trekking with pack horses, carrying everything with them. The common trend is for longer rides to stop over are pre-arranged accommodation, yards etc.  Hence the Trail Guide has similar responsibilities whether on long or short rides. Our accreditation in this area covers the duty of care of Trail Guides and their abilities to look after and advise their clients, and make good decisions about terrain, tracks, weather, horse behaviour, emergency procedures, etc. We do not cover issues related to camping over night and provision of long term requirements and needs of clients.

  • ASSISTANT TRAIL GUIDE: Minimum age 16. Can assist in a trail ride, under the direct visual supervision of a qualified trail guide. Includes the basics of Workplace Health and Safety, basic care and safe handling of horses, an understanding of the principles simple minimal impact, and the ability to walk, trot/jog and canter/lope independently on a beginner  lead the front of the ride and help with horse management issues.  They are not expected to help clients with their riding needs.
  • TRAIL GUIDE : Assistant Trail Guide skills plus: Minimum age 18. Qualified to provide foundational instruction to beginner riders, with a strong emphasis on risk management, planning and communication.  The instruction at this level includes assisting riders as they mount their horses, and teaching control at walk and trot/jog.  Includes the abilities to supervise others around horses and manage herds in a structured environment.  PLUS trail riding skills include an awareness of the added responsibilities and risks of riding in the open, allowing for changing weather conditions, use of roads and tracks, track maintenance, planning for contingencies and management of groups of riders outside of the confines of an arena. The Trail Guide must be able to mount and dismount in the open unassisted and lead a mounted rider when on horse back themselves.

Those involved in EAL or just teaching horse handling/ground work, can obtain a purpose built accreditation, Instructor of Horse Handling, which has its focus on supervising /teaching others when they are interacting with horses in non riding activities.

All clinics cover things like Safe Work Australia’s Guide to managing risks when new and inexperienced persons interact with horses, and when in NSW we look at their specific Safe Work Code. Also at all clinics we consider the AHIC Code HorseSafe, and touch on general Work Safe requirements for all businesses, and the new national Adventure Activity Standards for Trail Riding (for those involved in this area).