Certified Horsemanship Association Site Accreditation is a process in which equestrian programs and facilities are evaluated on compliance with CHA Standards for Equestrian Programs. With an increasing awareness of safety and liability issues, both on the part of equine establishments and the consumer, accreditation of programs is an idea whose time has come. We are in an age where expectations of the consumer are more demanding and government regulations are increasing. Programs interested in CHA Site Accreditation demonstrate their dedication to quality in equestrian programs, and we applaud them for their willingness to adhere to the CHA standards.
While the focus of accreditation is on safety practices at the facility, the operation of its program, the management of the equestrian establishment, and in some cases, specific equestrian activities, there is no guarantee that the participant will be free of inherent risks associated with equestrian activities. However, accreditation does indicate to the public that the riding establishment has voluntarily invited comparison of its procedures and practices to standards in this document and has been found to be in compliance with all mandatory standards and at least 80% of recommended standards.
The intent of this information is to familiarize you with CHA's Site Accreditation Program and help you prepare for a Site Accreditation visit. If you have questions on this program, please contact the CHA Program Director at pbarger@CHA-ahse.org
PURPOSE OF SITE ACCREDITATION
The purpose of the CHA Site Accreditation Program is multi-faceted.
- To educate facility owners and program operators in the administration of key aspects of equestrian program operation, particularly those related to participant safety.
- To establish guidelines for needed policies, procedures and practices.
- To identify safety practices that are considered basic to the wide variety of horse-related activities and facilities.
- To ensure that facilities are reasonably safe.
- To assist the public in selecting equestrian establishments that meet industry-accepted standards.
ELIGIBILITY FOR SITE ACCREDITATION
Equestrian programs, including camps, colleges, schools, private or public boarding or training operations, recreational riding programs, driving programs, vaulting programs, trail ride operations, and outfitters may seek accreditation by CHA. To become a CHA Accredited Facility, a site must complete all of the following requirements:
1. Apply to CHA for Site Accreditation. Site, Program, and Management of Equines Standards apply to all programs seeking CHA Site Accreditation. Accreditation for additional equestrian activities that are conducted at the facility—Driving, Equine Facility Management, Riders with Disabilities, Trail, Vaulting—must also be requested.
2. Pay all program membership and CHA Accreditation fees.
3. Schedule two CHA Site Visitors for an onsite visit of the facility and program, typically during normal operations. Visitors typically are volunteers, but may receive a stipend. The facility is responsible for their travel expenses.
4. Prepare for the site visit by doing a self-assessment of the Standards For Equestrian Programs and any materials received from CHA following the accreditation application. Creating a notebook with copies of all necessary documentation is an excellent technique to facilitate the visit.
5. Address any concerns, conduct training, and prepare necessary materials and written documentation. The site should be able to demonstrate that new procedures are fully incorporated into its daily operations. All routine facility maintenance and upgrades to the facility should be completed prior to the day of the site visit. It is expected that the operation be at its best on the day of the site visit.
6. Demonstrate 100% compliance with mandatory standards and at least 80% compliance with recommended standards during the site visit.
SITE ACCREDITATION PROCEDURES
To start the CHA Site Accreditation Process, print out the Site Accreditation Application Form, complete it, and send it to the CHA office along with the $125 application fee. Once your application and fee have been received, you will receive the following materials:
1. Your Site Accreditation cover letter.
2. A letter to be returned to the CHA Corporate Office when the Site Accreditation date and visitors are confirmed.
3. Your complimentary copy of the CHA Standards for Equestrian Programs.
4. A list of Frequently Asked Questions
5. List of current CHA Site Visitors
6. The Site Visitor Code of Ethics
Once you return your visit confirmation letter with your visit date and names of your Site Visitors,, they will receive your paperwork and you will prepare your facility and documentation for the site visit. On the day of the visit, the Site Visitors verify compliance with each standard listed in CHA Standards for Equestrian Programs. Site Visitors do not award or deny accreditation. They simply check-off standards on the Accreditation Score Sheet, write explanations where needed, and send completed forms to the CHA Office. The CHA Program Director reviews the paperwork, scores compliance, and awards or denies accreditation. CHA Office will notify the site of the results. Each Accredited Site must maintain annual membership in CHA and submit an annual statement of compliance to maintain CHA Sitee Accreditation.