HSA clinics are designed as an opportunity for those already experienced in the industry to gain certification. Clinics have a focus on assessments of your existing knowledge and skills, but have a training and professional development side to them. There is always a mix of people from different disciplines and backgrounds and this provides a wonderful opportunity to broaden all our horizons as we discuss the issues which arise.
Assessments will be fair and will reflect the general industry standards in Australia.
There are different levels covered at the clinic:
There is an Instructor of horse handling (only) certification for those only teaching groundwork. This one is particularly relevant to those involved in Equine Assisted Learning.
The introductory instructor essentially only teaches the basics of walk and trot (walk and jog) both to groups or 1:1; normally those needing only the preliminary experiences, often their clients are one-off riders. This covers just the fundamentals of how to manage a horse and communicate with it in a safe environment. These people must be able to assess horses as suitable for those new to the experience and understand how to keep their riders safe. There is a great need in the industry for this level of instructor… i.e. this is primarily about working with beginners and very basic routine activities.
An Instructor is one who can teach the skills of riding through to intermediate levels. We believe our instructors should know how to look after horses as well as teach, as they need to care for the horses in their programs. Also often their clients come to them with questions. So participants also need to know horse first aid (how to recognise the vital signs, common illnesses, give an IM injection, etc.) and the practical side of managing horses: experience in worming, hoof care, feeding, rugging, floating and all the usual things to do with owning horses.
There is also the senior instructor level (minimum age is 25) where you are teaching more advanced/refined skills, including the theory relevant to their chosen discipline. This is for those who run clinics or who work full time in teaching others across a broad spectrum, or who coach the more advanced riders. (If you are not ready for this at your first clinic, you can get the basic level then come back at a future clinic for 1-2 days at a reduced rate to show us how you can now work at the more advanced level.)
There is also a trail guide certification for those running any type of trail ride.
Some of the clinics cover all the certification areas , but note that some of our clinics focus on trail guide only, and others only provide instructor qualifications. If a clinic has limits to what it covers it will be clearly stated in the registration forms.
What if there are gaps in my knowledge or experience?
The clinics may show us gaps in a subject… If that happens we find ways for participants to fill those gaps after the clinic with no extra fees from us…For example, if you were not current with your experience as an instructor and everything else was fine- i.e. we see you can teach, manage a group, you work safely, and fulfill all our requirements but just have not done a lot of this lately, we would just make you ‘provisional’ until you gained your current experience (e.g. you could teach some lessons at home or at a riding school and keep a log book as you practice and then send us the evidence so we could upgrade you to full instructor ….)
Background on Clinics
Our clinics consist practical sessions daily in which we assess the skills involved in teaching horsemanship to others. We concentrate on safety, risk management and effectiveness in delivery of information; be it assisting an individual rider connect with their horse, or managing a group as you help them with skill development, to just ‘directing the traffic’ and keeping beginner riders safe, as they learn the basics. There are also evening sessions where we look at risk management principles applied to the horse instructor role, and the laws, codes and guides which exist in Australia which are relevant to your work.
Horse Safety Australia accreditation is now well known across Australia and accepted as a process which effectively assesses those responsible for the safety of clients as they interact with horses in all types of situations.
Who should attend a clinic?
Clinics run primarily for those already set up in the industry, who want recognition for what they have been doing. However, those starting out as instructors/guides/trainers also benefit from a clinic, as they discover tried and tested systems of managing horses and people, and how to be effective in keeping their clients safe and happy while teaching them skills.
Everyone, including those who run our clinics, benefit from up to 5 days of networking (the length of the clinic depends on the qualifications you need), sharing ideas, and seeing how others deal with the universal problems of teaching horse riding and managing riders and horses.
What do clinics cover?
Clinics are practical, ‘hands on’ processes which cover everything from a client approaching a horse, the first mount (or first interactions with horses for those only doing groundwork), managing an individual or group of clients for their first time on or near a horse, and teaching the basics, through to teaching groups more complex skills effectively, as well as covering more advanced theory levels in all disciplines.
Why be accredited ?
As early as 2003 the Australian Horse Industry Council’s voluntary Code of Practice for horse activities required that instructors/trainers /clinicians/guides to be accredited if they taught riding, or managed those new to horses. Now both the (national) Safe Work Australia Guide and the SafeWork NSW Code related to horses require you to have a recognised accreditation if you are supervising or teaching people when they are beginners interacting with horses in your workplace.
Accreditation with HSA requires that you hold a current (basic) recognised First Aid Qualification (HLTAID011 Provide First Aid)- which you will need to obtain separately.
What does a HSA clinic cost? (These are 2023 prices)
The cost depends on the qualifications you choose and are run over 4 – 5 days and nights :
- Riding Instructor ONLY (all levels) $2300
- Trail Guide ONLY $2300
- Riding Instructor (all levels) AND Trail Guide $2450
- Instructor of Horse Handling ONLY $2090