Certified Horsemanship Association Honors 2016 CHA Award Winners at the CHA International Conference

One of the highlights at the Certified Horsemanship Association’s International Conference every year is the Awards Banquet on Saturday night when that year’s CHA Award Winners are honored. This year, the following people are the 2016 award winners: CHA Volunteer of the Year—Sanna Roling of Spring, Texas; CHA Partner in Safety Award—Camp Berachah in Auburn, Washington; CHA Clinic Instructor of the Year—Betsy Chandler of Trenton, Georgia; CHA Instructor of the Year—Gerrie Barnes of Conroe, Texas; CHA Distinguished Service Award—Peggy Adams, CHA Past President, of Greensboro, Georgia.

The CHA Distinguished Service Award is a lifetime achievement award for an individual who has gone above and beyond through the years to promote and uphold the mission of CHA. Immediate Past President Peggy Adams has been actively involved with CHA since 1996. As Clinic Staff, she has overseen 36 Standard, Combined, and Seasonal Clinics and is always there to help host sites, Assistant Clinic Instructors, and clinic participants. When Adams was teaching and coaching riding from her farm, PLA HorsePlay, she was a mentor to many. Over the years, Adams has served as a camp director, riding director, and camp administrator. She is a CHA Master Instructor and a Certified Overnight Guide, and has been on the board of directors for 10 years. Adams has always embraced the CHA Certification Program, requiring instructors at her own barn to become certified. She worked for close to 30 years with Girl Scouts in Atlanta in a variety of managerial positions, and she was instrumental in starting three large year-round equine programs.

Every year since 1996, CHA has given the CHA Volunteer of the Year Award to honor the volunteer that has worked hard to help enhance the association and who helps CHA accomplish its mission of educating people about safety with horses. Sanna Roling has been a CHA member for 32 years and has been a life member since 2003. She was certified in 1984, and she has also served as a CHA Assistant Site Visitor. Roling has participated on committees, given CHA-related presentations, helped edit CHA publications, and was one of the original volunteers who worked for countless hours on the CHA Riding Instructor and Trail Guide Manual, along with its current edition, The Equine Professional Manual: The Art of Teaching Riding, which was just published by CHA. Roling’s enthusiasm has also led her to be the first registrant for the CHA International Conference on years she could attend. She is the founder of Dream Catcher Stables, in Houston, Texas, a program providing educational, recreational, and sport programming, including vocational/prevocational opportunities, to at-risk youth and people of all ages with disabilities. Roling has a BS in Biological Sciences from Michigan Tech and a MS in Organic Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which she put to use as an educator and volunteer.

The CHA Partner in Safety Award recognizes an outstanding individual or organization that has helped not only the equine industry and CHA, but the equine community at-large by promoting safety and awareness. The former Camp Berachah in Auburn, Washington, was a CHA Accredited Program Member and Host Site. Camp Berachah began in 1991 with three part-time staff and four family horses and four leased horses from neighbors that provided trail rides for campers and guests. The camp expanded to teaching Western and English lessons for the Christian high school PE program near them and then to offering overnight horse camps, which was a service extended to Recreation Districts. In 1993, the camp started offering equestrian programs throughout the year for children with special needs. Camp Berachah Ministries was just recently bought by Black Diamond Camp, who discontinued the equine programs. Over the years, Camp Berachah hosted 31 CHA Clinics, including Standard, Combined, and Instructor of Riders with Disabilities clinics. These clinics hosted by Camp Berachah allowed the staff to become CHA certified, renew their skills, and provided safety awareness and unity of purpose. The camp also served as a site for nearby equine programs to have their staff certified. Natalie Head, who was the Special Needs Coordinator, Riding Instructor, and Herd Manager for the former Camp Berachah, accepted the award.

The CHA Clinic Instructor of the Year Award goes to a CHA clinic staff person who has shown outstanding service to CHA by conducting meaningful clinics and influencing the careers of numerous instructors over many years. CHA Certified Master Instructor Betsy Chandler is also a Clinic Instructor and an Accredited Site Visitor. She has been certified with CHA since 1986 and has conducted more than 40 English/Western Certification Clinics. Her encouragement for camps to complete full Standards Clinics vs. just a Seasonal Clinic Certification has meant that participants were certified for three years vs. one year and many became long-time active members of CHA. Originally from Charlotte, NC, Chandler is the manager at Heatherfield Horse Park, a full-service boarding and training facility specializing in hunters, jumpers, and dressage in Wildwood, Georgia, near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Each year, CHA recognizes an outstanding individual who has been nominated by their students to receive recognition for their hard work and dedication as the CHA Instructor of the Year. Gerrie Barnes is certified by CHA at Level 4 in Western and Level 1 in English and is an AQHA Professional Horseman. Barnes was named 2012 Horse Person of the Year by the Colorado Horse Council before she moved to just outside of Houston, Texas, the following year to start Progressive Horsemanship. Barnes taught riders at all levels and specialized in ranch horse versatility, Western dressage, trail and obstacle events, and recreational trail riding, before a riding accident required that she close. She now owns her third equine business, New Concepts, which provides consulting services to individuals and businesses. With more than 20 years of experience in the horse industry, she has given clinics and demonstrations, spoken at various industry conferences and horse expos, and has been a judge for versatility ranch horse competitions. Barnes earned her BS in Education with a minor in psychology from Kent State University and a Masters in Counseling from Ball State University. 

For a complete list of past award winners, visit For more information about the upcoming 2017 CHA International Conference to be held in Lexington, Kentucky in October 2017, visit

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces educational horsemanship DVDs and YouTube Safety shorts, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit or call 859-259-3399. To find a certified horseback riding instructor or accredited equine facility near you, visit






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