Printed with permission from the Certified Horsemanship Association
CHA Instructor of the Year – Rathel Gincig
A Californian, Rathel began an involvement with horses after graduating from the University of Southern California in International Relations. When she returned from living in Europe for some years as a business and United Nations intern, horses became a permanent part of her life, including many riding lessons, showing in dressage and hunters, breeding and starting young horses.
In the mid 80's she and her husband left their regular jobs to become involved in pastoral work for their church. Rathel’s long time involvement in working with youth ministry eventually linked her interest in horses with helping kids and teens to work on values and build character. Settling in Colorado in 1991, by the mid 90's she was developing programs for kids to be involved with horses at no charge through the church. The program she developed, Whinnian’s Youth Riders, focuses on the relationship issues of foster children and adopted children through the horse-human bond, framing horsemanship as a way to develop relationship, communication and problem solving skills; finding a new way to think and feel about themselves. Whinnian’s works with referrals from local residential treatment facilities, therapists and the community to bring the special gifts of horses into the damaged and neglected lives of children.
“In Colorado I worked for a number of years with a certified riding instructor who ran a marvelous program of instruction and safety,” says Rathel. “Later, when I read about CHA in a horse magazine, I realized that was this instructor’s certification, and became very interested in pursuing CHA certification myself. The affiliation with CHA has opened up a world for me of great learning, information, valuable connections and resources for our riding program for at-risk youth in Aurora, Colorado.”