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P.A.T.H. Program: (Petrillo Approved Total Horsemanshiptm)

Take the Journey, find your path,
become a Petrillo Approved Total Horsemanship Trainer.
Become a PATH Trainer.

The P.A.T.H. program is designed to teach people whether they are aspiring trainers, already a trainer seeking further education, or just a horse owner who wants to be able to better themselves and their horses. The course will offer hands on training of the student with horses. The student will go away from this course with a balanced understanding of the Total Horse.

P.A.T.H. Program

The P.A.T.H. Program is a 3 part comprehensive instructional program that is a total of 22 weeks in duration. The program is set up in such a way that makes it possible for the student to absorb and master each level before proceeding to the next. Each level is two weeks of training, five hours per day, Monday thru Friday, and then a one week break to master what has been taught and then back for the final two weeks of instruction for that level. There is a one week break between levels.

At the end of the 22 weeks, students should be able to manage, train and even compete with horses on a professional level. The only thing they might lack is the experience which is time in the saddle using the skills and knowledge they have acquired.

Level One: This course is ground work only. The course covers Round Pen Technique and Theory, Equine Behavior, Equine Personality Traits (identifying personality type and developing a training schedule and barn management accordingly.) Equine behavior and equine personality traits play a huge role in training the horse. In this study course we will delve into the study of such in great detail and depth. Understanding equine anatomy and what constitutes the physical and mental well being of the horse, signs of distress, etc., aids the trainer in knowing how far and how fast a horse can be pushed in it's training. The course also teaches how to teach horses to do all ground work such as: clipping, bathing, tying, trailer loading, lunging, free lunging, bridling, sacking out, go forward, ground driving, first saddling, safety, and farrier care. Other topics such as barn management, checking for soundness, checking for pain and pressure points, understanding chiropractic care and acupuncture, herbal remedies, conformation: form to function, tack and saddle fitting round out a very comprehensive and thorough foundation to Level One of the P.A.T.H. program. Once a firm foundation is established in the student's education, training progresses much more smoothly without "holes" that may cause set backs or problems down the road... or "path" as we call it. It is like having a tool box full of tools (and comprehending how to use each tool appropriately) verses only having a hammer or screw driver (and not really knowing what is needed) to get the job done with.

Level Two: This course is designed to teach the rider how to train the horse from its first ride to basic performance skills. How to identify the various horse's potential for disciplines and horse's potential as suitable mounts for showing, trail, or just pleasure. This course covers teaching the building blocks. This is the "how to" portion of the program of installing the cues necessary for higher levels of performance.

Level Three: This course is designed to teach the rider what the more advanced maneuvers are and how to train the horse for them. The course teaches how to finish a horse out in their training. This is a higher end performance course.

Christa Petrillo

Topics Covered:

  • Round pen work– understanding the first 20 steps
  • Teaching the “come to you cue” and the “turn and face you cue”
  • Halter breaking without stress
  • Saddling
  • The first few rides
  • Building the right attitude for a “willing” partner
  • Working with the aggressive horse
  • Fixing head shy horses
  • Ear clipping without a fight
  • Advanced leading and the “go forward cue”
  • How to break a horse from pulling back and teaching to stand tied
  • Trailer loading made easy
  • Rope work and its importance to suppleness
  • Handling the feet for the farrier
  • Softening the shoulders and how to use the shoulders to improve ground manners
  • Controlling the speed of the inside shoulder
  • Understanding the drive line
  • Reverse arc circles and their importance
  • Side passing and diagonals made easy
  • Elevating the shoulders through the withers
  • Keeping the horse straight
  • Starting the turn around
  • Controlling the speed of all gaits
  • Disengagement and hip work
  • Engaging the hindquarters and using them to  get the horse collected
  • Building the straight stop and starting the slide
  • Picking up the correct lead and simple changes made easy
  • Controlling the emotions of both the horse and the rider/trainer
  • Handling problems such as crossing scary objects


Christa Petrillo
Total Horsemanship
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Total Horsemanship I
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The PATH Program
P.A.T.H. Training - Level 1
P.A.T.H. Training - Level 2
P.A.T.H. Training - Level 3
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