Certification Courses

Horse Boy Method 1: The 6 Stages – how and why they work.

Duration: 2 day (aprox. 6h per day)

Cost:

  • $1500 for Riders and Handlers (costs for workshops may vary with location; price includes Evaluation Phase for participants that decide to become Horse Boy Method Practitioners)
  • $495 for non-riders ($250 day 1 and $250 day 2 — does not qualify to become a Practitioner)

Qualification for: Basic Horse Boy Method Practitioner

Designed for:

  • Therapeutic riding instructors
  • Riders with an interest in Autism
  • Speech, Occupational and other Therapists or Teachers with a horse background

Requirements: 

  • Age 16 and older; neuro-typical only (for young adults on the spectrum check with your trainer regarding participation)
  • Must  be able to comfortably ride at walk and trot.
  • mount 15.2 hand horse on trail ride without mounting block.
  • mount 15.2 hand horse bareback by being boosted by other participant.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28 or lower. Calculate here: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm
  • Exceptions: If you are an extremely experienced horseman/woman but are not able to perform a requirement listed above due to an injury or other condition contact us. If you can provide proof of your background with horses (e.g. evented at prelim in college or run a riding stable for 10+ years etc.) we might be able to approve you to be certified as Horse Handler. If approved you will receive a certificate as Horse Handler and can still offer Horse Boy Method to your clients.

What will be covered in Horse Boy Method 1?

  • Theory and basic neuro-science: How the autistic brain works, how to switch off the cell danger response, how to provide oxytocin, how to open up the learning receptors in the brain
  • Evolution of Horse Boy Method and how we have been mentored by adult autists such as Dr. Temple Grandin, University studies into Horse Boy, and the specific science of our Methods
  • Environment: How to set up the perfect YES environment to aid communication, how to eliminate bad sensory triggers, how to make sure you have the right human/empathetic environment, how to deal with hazards
  • Sensory work: How to serve clients, how to pick the right horse, how to pick the right environment
  • Backriding: How to select and prepare the horse, how to engage with the child, why backriding works better than leading horses – oxytocin vs. cortisol
  • Rule-based Games and Perspective-Taking: how to work in the saddle with the child to build the brain, how to teach families to take these games home and do them without horses
  • Academics: How to introduce basic literacy, numeracy, and science; how to develop these to the higher grade levels
  • Long-Lining: How to get the oxytocin effect when the person is too big to share the saddle with you or if the child wants to ride with a parent/caregiver who cannot ride; how to prepare the horse for this
  • Self-Advocacy: How to use the long-lining horse to help adolescents and adults begin to teach you rather than the other way around, and how they therefore learn to “find their voice”

What to bring

  • If you ride, please bring proper riding attire (boots, jeans or other riding pants, helmet, gloves etc)
  • Please bring plenty of water to drink and something to snack on.
  • Notebook and pen

Horse Boy Method 1: The 6 Stages – how and why they work. Read More »

Horse Boy Method 2: Preparing & Creating the Back-Riding Horse

Duration: 2 day (aprox. 6h per day)

Cost:

  • $1500 for Riders and Handlers (costs for workshops may vary; price includes Evaluation Phase for participants that decide to become Horse Boy Method Practitioners)
  • $495 for non-riders ($250 day 1 and $250 day 2 — does not qualify to become a Practitioner)

Qualification for: 1* Star Horse Boy Method Practitioner

Designed for:

  • Therapeutic riding instructors
  • Riders with an interest in Autism
  • Equine professionals

Requirements: 

  • Completed Horse Boy Method 1 as Rider
  • Age 16 and older; neuro-typical only (for young adults on the spectrum check with your trainer regarding participation)
  • Must  be able to comfortably ride at walk, trot, and canter.
  • Must be able to go on fast trail ride at walk and trot over steep banks and slopes

What will be covered in Horse Boy Method 2?

In this 2 day workshop we cover our proven system of preparing a safe, sound and fit back-riding horse that you can rely on when working with children with autism. It is important that you follow a system of lunging, in hand and ridden work to ensure safety of everybody involved. This course goes step by step into how to make your horse a back-riding horse. This system works for any type of horse and you will see us working here with backyard cowponies, Warmbloods, Iberians and crosses in between. 

  • Theory and basic rules of collection according to the Old Masters: We use the La Gueriniere, Oliviera, and Steinbrecht approaches 
  • How to muscle the horse’s back through lunging
  • How to show the horse how to carry himself and how to show the rider classical contact through introduction to shoulders in and travers
  • How to eliminate the three points of resistance on the horse (jaw, poll, and quarters) without force
  • How to make the horse easy off the hand and leg through count down exercises at walk and trot
  • How to achieve the smooth canter transition and the smooth transition from canter to walk
  • How to backride over natural country without losing the horse’s balance
  • How to answer any questions the horse might ask while backriding
  • How to teach the horse neck-reining for easy one handed riding
  • How to negotiate steep banks and slopes at the trot one handed using the seat to balance the horse

What to bring

  • If you ride, please bring proper riding attire (boots, jeans or other riding pants, helmet, gloves etc)
  • Please bring plenty of water to drink and something to snack on.
  • Notebook and pen

Horse Boy Method 2: Preparing & Creating the Back-Riding Horse Read More »

Horse Boy Method 3: Creating your environment and team, setting goals, creating activities to address behaviors and academics, working with IEPS, and make inclusion possible.

Duration: 5 day (aprox. 6h per day)

Cost:

  • $2100 (costs for workshop may vary; price includes Evaluation Phase for praticipants that decide to become Horse Boy Method Practitioners)

Qualification for: 2* Star Horse Boy Method Practitioner

Designed for:

  • Anybody that has taken HBM2 and wants to offer multi family Playdates at their facility

Requirements: 

  • Completed Horse Boy Method 2
  • Age 16 and older; neuro-typical only (for young adults on the spectrum check with your trainer regarding participation)

What will be covered in Horse Boy Method 3?

In this 5 day course you learn the really difficult stuff. How to address and change dysfunctional behaviors. How to teach really effective social skills. How to create neuroplasticity that last. How to really teach academics. How to do what schools find the most difficult task of all – creating real inclusion.

When you reach this level you begin to operate on a level that goes way beyond the therapeutic while at the same time upping your skills for creating well-being. Centers that have gone through Horse Boy Level 3 often find themselves in demand as adjunct campuses for schools, and regional mental health services, and therefore find access to greater funding and staffing. If you want to go further than being just a therapeutic riding center, and becoming part of your local educational and mental health authority, then this is the gateway course.

Workshop Schedule

You can take Horse Boy Method 3 as a 5 day consecutive course or you can break it up into modules which can be done either with a physical instructor or via Zoom and other online tools with direct feedback from instructors and evalutators.

Day 1: The Physical Environment

Learn how to make-over any environment – both indoor and outdoor – for the maximum sensory and therefore and emotional/intellectual optimization. Often the environment that practitioners are trying to work in are so sensory-negative that real learning is impossible. We show you in really practical steps, how to create superb environments with very little budget. No matter the location.

Day 2: The Human Environment

Creating the right Human Environment is perhaps the biggest challenge. It is no secret, that riding centers, schools, and therapy centers often attract very controlling personality types, that work against the goals of well-being and learning. Sometimes without even realizing it. Getting past this both in yourself and learning to manage and optimize the other personalities involved in the environment is a crucial skill if you want to be successful. We teach you very practical skills in both identifying and adapting the various personality types in your environment so that from the client’s point of view the people around them are at their best. Obviously this requires continual management. We introduce you to the skills required for this.

Day 3: Behaviors

Although we are not trying to fix people and indeed we recognize and celebrate the gifts of neuro-difference, it is also true that some behaviors can be so challenging that they threaten the client’s and the families’ well-being. How to address these challenging behaviors and gradually shape them into more functional responses is a real art form. Among other challenging behaviors you will learn to address are: aggression, meltdowns, toilet training, turn taking, waiting, personal hygiene and more.

Day 4: Academics

There is no debate anymore among educational scientists, that movement is essential for learning. However, most educational programs still separate times of movement from times of learning and still try to deliver learning while sitting. i.e. They go run outside, then they go sit and do math. It is now proven that it’s far more effective to teach during the moving sessions, not after them. But how to deliver this?

This is one of our specialties. We work all over the work, not just with therapeutic riding centers, but with schools, universities, and corporate institutions (neuro-typical as well as neuro-different) to provide cutting edge strategies for moving while learning.

We will show you how to teach basic math and science, and then much more complex, pre-college modules as well such as statistics, and advanced geometry and more.

Day 5: Inclusion

This is the holy grail for most learning facilities. There is much talk about the need for inclusion, but in reality most places simply put the neuro-different people in a corner, while teaching the neuro-typicals in another corner and call this inclusion, when it is anything but. We have designed modules that are now considered a gold standard for schools and other learning centers in many countries. Each educational module we show you has specific guidelines for how to include people of different cognitive abilities as well as different learning styles in the same group exercises, so that everybody participates and everybody learns and no-one has to sit in a corner or participate in something they don’t really understand. On Day 5 you will learn through practical exercises as well as analysis how to make inclusion work.

What to bring

  • Please bring plenty of water to drink and something to snack on.
  • Notebook and pen
  • It is also good to come with plenty of examples of where you tried and succeeded or failed to address behaviors, academics or inclusion.

Horse Boy Method 3: Creating your environment and team, setting goals, creating activities to address behaviors and academics, working with IEPS, and make inclusion possible. Read More »

Horse Boy Method 4: Advanced Back-Riding – Canter work, stabilizing the seat, and rule based games

Duration: 2 day (aprox. 6h per day)

Cost:

Qualification for: 3* Star Horse Boy Method Practitioner

Designed for:

  • Therapeutic riding instructors
  • Riders with an interest in Autism
  • Equine professionals

Requirements: 

  • Completed Horse Boy Method 3
  • Age 16 and older; neuro-typical only (for young adults on the spectrum check with your trainer regarding participation)
  • For advanced riders able to collect a horse in the canter and able to jump a 3′ course comfortably
  • Must be able to go on fast trail ride at canter over steep banks and slopes

What will be covered in Horse Boy Method 4?

This course is for very advanced riders only. It is about how to train the Terra a Terre into a horse and how to optimize the Rule Based Games at the canter. 

To keep somebody else’s child up there safe is a lot of responsibility. You will get the best results with children usually at the canter, but you cannot sacrifice your or their safety just to get a canter. 

Because of that we will ask you to jump a 3′ course as part of the workshop. This will show us that you have a certain level of independent seat and are most likely able to make the right judgement calls to keep a child safe up there with you at a canter.

  

What will be covered in Horse Boy Method 4?

  • Theory
    • Recap HBM 1 & 4 (Overview & preparing the back-riding horse)
    • Why the canter work works so well for getting communication with autistic kids
    • The Oxytocin connection – creating the bliss/trust hormone through collection
    • Why work at the canter?
    • How does it help the child?
    • How does it improve cognition?
    • Why collect the canter?
    • Why the terre a terre (canter in place)
    • Transition (walk to canter and halt to canter) why are they important, how do you get them, how do they help the child
    • Recap why soft transitions help child in day to day life as well as on horse back
    • Leg yield, shoulder for and sitting to the inside
    • Cantering the horse off the inside leg vs the outside leg. Why is the inside leg more effective?
    • Why walk trot countdowns but canter count ups
  • Lunging & being lunged at the canter
  • Ridden work & in hand
    • Recap count downs
    • Reprise of basic in hand plus in hand half pass and renvers
    • Ridden countdowns and walk canter transitions
    • Introduce canter count ups (demo)
      • 4s to all the way around the circle with downward transitions first though trot then walk then halt
      • Then down to 2s,1s and terre a terre
      • flying change demo
    • Canter count up exercise through trot 4s then all the way around
    • Beginning the terre a terre (canter in place)
  • Canter trail ride with Freddy one handed
    • Walk trails and prep trails
    • small obstacles
    • banks
    • Stepping over small logs
    • Bending around trees
    • Terre a terre on trail
  • Being lunged no reins no stirrups, no hands at 3 gaits on big moving warmblood
  • Ridden work
    • Redo canter count ups
    • Slow canter = not losing stick contact with other person
    • Finding the terre a terre one handed with Freddy
  • Jumping lesson (jumping a grid of 3’ jumps) to stabilize the seat
  • Rule based games – playing tag (and other games) with Freddy one handed at canter with lots of walk to canter transitions

Horse Boy Method 4: Advanced Back-Riding – Canter work, stabilizing the seat, and rule based games Read More »

Movement Method 1 & 2

Not every person want’s to ride. Even people that do like to ride sometimes may not feel like riding on a given day for a whole variety of reasons, both physical and mental.

One of the limitations of horse professionals is that they themselves are so horse obsessed, that it’s hard for them to think beyond the horse when addressing a client’s needs. Therefore, when a client does not wish to ride, the professional has no other tools at their disposal and often tries to force the riding onto a client, which has very negative effects on the client’s learning and well-being.

To address this we offer Movement Method which gets the same positive brain and body effects as Horse Boy Method, while using play equipment, the natural environment and even furniture in a room.

If you learn Movement Method alongside Horse Boy Method, your toolbox for serving clients is infinitely greater and you can show parents, therapists, and caregivers exercises to do at home, that will keep the client’s brain developing at a much faster rate, than if they simply relied upon equine therapy sessions to achieve these goals.

To learn all about Movement Method, visit KidsMustMove.com

Movement Method 1 & 2 Read More »

ATHENA Horse Training for Human Development and Growth

In the process of working with dozens of therapeutic riding centers around the world, we identified two key areas of struggle that the centers desperately needed to address.

The first struggle was that their horses were often under-trained, under-muscled, and suffering from old injuries, arthritis and so forth, so that even if they were quiet enough for clients to work with they could not impart well-being to a client because their own well-being simply wasn’t there. More than that the horses were actually in pain, suffering and board. And while the centers were doing their best to treat the horses as well as they could, they found themselves in a vicious cycle of horses being sour, and handlers often getting bitten, stepped on and so on as a result.

The second struggle was human. Many clients, especially adults and most particularly, clients who had come from high risk careers, such as wounded warriors, often felt disempowered and patronized by the approaches and options presented to them during sessions.

ATHENA Horse Training for Human Development and Growth addresses both these struggles simultaneously. On the horse side it shows you how to involve your clients in the training and maintaining of your horses’ body and mind, in a way that benefits and even rehabs the horse, while at the same time empowering the client and teaching them real equine skills.

The program shows how to teach your clients to use lunging for topline muscle on the horse, long-reining to teach collection, in hand work to impart suppleness of body and mind (horse yoga if you will) and fitness work so that not only do the horses start to feel, move, think and act at their best (despite whatever weakness and old injuries they may have come with) but the client simultaneously learns skills, sees the therapeutic effect they are having on the horse, and understands how they are creating a horse that can help others like them.

The ATHENA program is invaluable if you are planning to work with older horses, start younger horses, maintain already well trained horses, and if you are going to work with human populations such as wounded warriors, adults with trauma, and at-risk-youth. It is one of our most rapidly growing areas of work.

To find out more details, check out ATHENA-equine.com

ATHENA Horse Training for Human Development and Growth Read More »

Certification Process

Once you have completed Horse Boy Method 1 or any of the follow up courses, you are eligible to become a Horse Boy Method Practitioner.

To become a Horse Boy Method Practitioner you will need to submit certain videos and case studies, as well as equipment lists and details on your horses and team to us.

The process is easy and doesn’t take too long. We are happy to guide you of course through the process.

Contact us if you have questions about the Certification Process or want to schedule a Certification course.

Also check out our online courses on NTLS.co and sign up for a free Membership to download our E-Book .

Certification Process Read More »

en_USEnglish