No Horse Experience - No Problem: Non riders can participate in the theory part of the workshop and audit/observe the ridden exercises.

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


  • $495 for Handlers (costs for workshops may vary with location; price includes Evaluation Phase for praticipants that decide to become AHTENA: EAL Practitioners)
  • $225 for non-riders ($150 day 1 and $75 day 2 -- does not qualify to become a Practitioner)

Qualification for: Basic ATHENA EAL Practitioner

Designed for:

  • Therapeutic riding instructors
  • Riders with an interest in Autism
  • Parents, siblings, friends and family of children or adults with Autism/other neuro-psychiatric conditions
  • Teachers
  • Speech, Occupational and other Therapists


  • Age 16 and older; neuro-typical only (for young adults on the spectrum check with your trainer regarding participation)
  • Must  be able to handle horses and assess potentially dangerous situation with horses

What will be covered in ATHENA℠: EAL 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 ATHENA: EAL and how we have been mentored by adult autists such as Dr. Temple Grandin, University studies into ATHENA, 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
  • Long-lining: How to select and prepare the horse, how to engage with the child, why long-lining works better than leading horses - oxytocin vs. cortisol. 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
  • 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
  • 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 participate as handler, please bring proper horse attire (boots, jeans or other riding pants, gloves etc)
  • Please bring plenty of water to drink and something to snack on.
  • Notebook and pen

Upcoming ATHENA: EAL workshops

To find a Trainer near you for this workshop check out our Trainer listings. To find already scheduled workshops around the world visit our calendar

Quickest and easiest way to get started are our online courses. Check the available ATHENA/Horse Boy Method online courses out here. We strongly suggest that you take Movement Method as well as ATHENA/Horse Boy Method to best serve your clients.