A Recommended Associate of Intelligent Horsemanship is someone who is Recommended by founder, Kelly Marks to work with other people's horses. The road to becoming an RA is well travelled but many people complete part of the route but never finally complete it. As holders of the Monty Roberts Preliminary Certificate in Horsemanship they can say that they have completed all of the Intelligent Horsemanship Courses and even been examined in them but this does not make them a Recommended Associate. Recommended Associates have been thoroughly assessed well beyond the examination stage to make sure that they are fit to represent Intelligent Horsemanship as an organisation.
If your trainer purports to use Intelligent Horsemanship techniques ASK them whether they are actually a Recommended Associate. It is a sad fact that unscrupulous trainers may seek to give the impression that they are an RA when they are not, simply by omitting this critical fact.
Recommended Associates are taught, examined, experienced, APPROVED, evaluated and insured.
How does someone become a Recommended Associate?
Stage One - By completing all of the Intelligent Horsemanship Courses namely:
The five day Practical Foundation Course
Feeding and Nutrition
The Horse as an Athlete Course
Handling the Young Foal
Providing video evidence of work completed including Join Up and loading work
Completing an assessed Horse Psychology project
Five day assessment and examination (practical and theory)
At this stage, successful candidates are awarded the Monty Roberts' Preliminary Certificate in Horsemanship
Potential RAs must then complete two intermediate courses:
Leading and Loading the Less easy Horse
Handling the Untouched Horse
and complete 10 to 15 case studies within a set period of one to three years. These are full assessed and the candidate may be asked to complete further work/ assessments as required. Ultimately, RAs have to represent the ethos and values of the organisation.
By definition, until someone is formally recommended by Kelly Marks and Intelligent Horsemanship they are NOT a Recommended Associate.
It's also worth noting that learning never stops and that the more years someone has been an RA, the more experience they will have. Horses are the greatest teachers of all and every single one of them is different.