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 dis-empowered 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.