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Whoa or Ho: Trot or Jog,: Lope or Canter? Hmmmmm.....
Most horses understand these voice commands as well as the rider's natural aids needed to perform them, no matter what they're called. Horses show no bias when it comes to doing their job.
The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Riding Certification Subcommittee stresses that the PATH Intl. certification program and testing also shows no bias. The subcommittee has gathered feedback from certification candidates and recognizes some clarification of the certification process, especially the riding component, may be helpful.
A therapeutic horseback riding instructor needs to know and demonstrate bending, straightness of lines, control of the horse, along with correct posture and balance, body alignment, posting with the motion of the horse, canter leads, and the like. When teaching riders for whom balance is a primary goal, an understanding of these principles is critical. Additionally, these riding skills allow PATH Intl. instructors to evaluate a prospective therapy horse for a program and to appropriately match equines and participants. In order to teach riding and evaluate equines, PATH Intl.'s Riding Certification Subcommittee has defined the criteria that objectively demonstrate these important skills.
Some riding disciplines may spend more time working on these basic principles than others, but the basics are appropriate for all disciplines. After years of riding, no matter the discipline, candidates can benefit from reviewing these basics. It's a good idea to look over the PATH Intl. riding certification criteria for the riding demonstration as you evaluate your riding skills, practice the pattern and review arena skills. Even confident and seasoned riders can benefit from studying the criteria and reaching back to those basic principles as they prepare for PATH Intl.'s certification test. The certification environment is often less relaxed than one's home environment, and arriving at the certification test knowledgeable about and fully prepared to meet all criteria ensures a greater level of confidence.
It is the evaluator's job to watch each candidate without bias. Whether an English or Western rider, beginner or advanced rider, the riding criteria is what is being tested, not the type of saddle, equipment or personal choice of discipline. The question PATH Intl.'s evaluators answer is: Has the rider demonstrated knowledge of the skills necessary to benefit riders with disabilities as outlined in the PATH Intl. Registered Instructor criteria. If yes, the candidate will pass the riding portion of the PATH Intl. Registered Instructor certification test.