handlers

Learning Curve

Narrated by Kate

To give you a bit of background about me: I started out a “new” horsewoman. I spent my suburban childhood and college years without a single animal companion! (GASP!) The only animals we had in our home were a few fish … and they only lasted a few weeks before my dad tried to clean the tank. (Sorry dad!) I came home from school to an empty fish tank - so, fish were out. On top of that, my parents could never agree on a size of dog they wanted: dad wanted a great pyrenees like he had grown up with, and mom wanted a small dog that didn’t bark or shed… 🤔 (basically she wanted a stuffed toy) - so we never actually had animals.

Meeting horses for the first time was a bit intimidating for me. Honestly - just being on a farm with 6 dogs was a shock to me. But, in a sense I think that helped me in my training abilities. I was a clean slate. We have people of all abilities contact us, some have had horses (like Lisa) for practically their entire life. Others, have spent their life around horses, but have never owned any. Still others, have extensive experience with dogs but want to get involved with horses, and a few are just like me.

I’ll share one of my favorite learning stories, that may help open your eyes to some lessons your trainers have been trying to teach you.


Denver & the Scary Grate

Denver

We were out training in downtown Oxford. It was a gorgeous day, years ago, where we had visitors who were purchasing horses shadow us to get a feel for how we train our horses. We had started writing down our training material but didn’t have seminars available yet. Downtown Oxford has a nice piazza area where you can often hear bands playing and a nice lawn area where students were doing their homework and relaxing in the grass.

Steps are a big deal for horses, we all know that. But, try concrete steps with a grate at the bottom of them for drainage. I want to say we had Denver and Dallas out to train together. Dallas - like the champ he always is - walks carefree over the grate and up the four wide steps to the platform. Denver, starts to follow Dallas, but notices this strange grate and plants his feet. I squat down on the stairs (boo-boo #1) and give him a little pressure to move forward. He resists, so I let up on pressure to let him regroup. His head bobs down to smell the grate and I apply pressure again. He pulls back a bit but I “hold my ground” (boo-boo #2) and keep pressure to see if he will come forward. Sure enough - he caves into the pressure. But, did you notice boo-boo #1 was my squat? He caves into the pressure and jumps towards me. Practically on top of me. … Well… I was in shock. Lisa came over and took Denver so I could stand up and regroup.

Red in the face, I started to think, “there is no way I can handle horses!” I take Dallas from Lisa and she goes back at it with Denver. Remember that key that horses learn in pictures - that is NOT the kind of picture I want Denver using every time he sees stairs. Lisa takes him around the ramped sidewalk, back into the grass (careful to avoid stairs) and talks her way thru doing this again with Denver.

Keep moving, forward motion is always better. If he stops to smell the grate, which he thinks is a big black hole, let him, then turn around, regroup and head forward towards the steps again. Walk NEXT to him, say “step” and continue forward as if there is nothing out of the ordinary. If you are nervous, the horse will pick up on that. If they stop, turn around and try it again.

Low and behold, after giving him a second to smell the grate, turning around to regroup and walking towards the steps again; Denver took a leap over the grate and walked right up the steps. She continued this movement a few more times until the leap turned into a slightly elevated step. We end training on a positive note then walked back towards the trailer.


The Learning Curve

I am constantly learning! I don’t think I know near enough about how horses’ think or perceive the world. I do know for a fact - you can only get better if you practice. Learn from your mistakes, and create ground-rules for what to do in certain situations. Sure, I came into this with the least knowledge of all of us, but I think it has truly made me appreciate the bond I share with all the animals I have “started from the bottom” with. The relationship I have with Denver is quite a unique bond now, because we have made mistakes together and grown thru them. I’m thankful for my learning curve and hope to continue learning from each horse I have the pleasure of training with.

Therapy Horse Handler Certification

SEVEN OAKS FARM MINIATURE THERAPY HORSES
IS DEDICATED TO TEACHING OTHERS AND SHARING YEARS OF KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE.

Creating a handler certification as well as a horse registration program has been a long-time goal of ours. We want to create a standard of excellence across the world of miniature therapy horses and animal assisted activities. Over the past few years, we have been teaching those across the country to replicate what we do; and by using that same material - we are creating a certification program to carry that excellence throughout the industry.

There are still details to work out; but we wanted to share the ideas we have for those who want to stay in the loop during this process.


Overview

MINIATURE THERAPY HORSES 103

This seminar is for those interested in handler certification! Miniature Therapy Horses 103 is available entirely online, so anyone around the world can work thru the materials, quizzes, and become certified as a miniature therapy horse handler.

CVG Airport

What you will receive:

  • In the mail:

    • 100+ page bound student guide and

    • DuPont healthcare training booklets with quizzes.

  • Through email:

    • Secure link with access to lecture videos, YouTube videos, and additional materials. There will be linked tests over each individual section, as well as a final exam.

To receive your handler certification, you will have to:

a) watch the lecture over the section;

b) complete a quiz after each lecture video;

c) watch any additional videos to reinforce the materials;

d) complete quizzes in the additional training series over specialized human resources and healthcare;

e) record videos of handling during visits;

f) provide a background check and;

g) complete a final exam.

After sending in the completed quizzes, background check and passing the final exam; expect an e-version of your Miniature Therapy Horse Handler Certification.

 

MINIATURE THERAPY HORSES 104

This handler certification program is geared for participants who have been through another one of our seminars. We highly recommend finishing either Miniature Therapy Horses 102 or 103, after which you can register for the Miniature Therapy Horses 104 course.

Version 2

Locations:

  • Ohio,

  • California,

  • Missouri,

  • Oregon, and

  • Florida.

This entirely hands-on seminar is to enhance everything you have learned in Miniature Therapy Horses 101, 102 and 103 to give you a full understanding of training and handling miniature therapy horses. You do not need to bring your own horses, all horses will be provided by the host farm.

Details:

  • 1-day Saturday course (dates TBD)

  • 9:00am - 7:30pm

  • Lunch and dinner are provided

  • Question & Answer sessions over meals

  • Limited class size: 10 participants

  • Full day of hands-on training with Lisa Moad & staff

  • Final exam after dinner

The exams will be graded by Lisa Moad and her staff; upon completion and passing of the exam, expect an e-version of your Advanced Miniature Therapy Horse Handler Certification.


INTERESTED?

Name *
Name
Address *
Address
Seminar Preferance *
Please choose which seminar you are interested in (you can pick more than one).
If you are interested in hosting a 104 seminar, please let us know; we would love to connect!