About the American Association for Horsemanship Safety (AAHS)

American Association for Horsemanship Safety is a nonprofit, educational association founded in July 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 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 rideEnglish or Western.

AAHS offers a defensible, systematic approach to teaching horsemanship safety.

Why We are Different

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.

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.

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 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.

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. Until you put an extra leg on the horse or take one off, there is only one way to sit on him and be in balance and you are either in balance or not.

Our handbook, Teaching Safe Horsemanship, has been commercially published and received rave reviews throughout the industry. Read reviews about Teaching Safe Horsemanship. It 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. We want our instructors and other staff to understand equine liability so that they do not get caught in a bad situation.

We teach riding instruction, not riding (although nearly every participant in an AAHS clinic has claimed a benefit to his or her personal riding skills). We also focus upon: equine liability and negligence law, facility management and program design. We 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.