Equine Specialist

ESMHL FAQ

Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning Certification
The news of the new certification is traveling quickly but we are hearing a number of questions, in order to help clarify we have provided the following FAQs. Visit the ESMHL page to download a copy of the ESMHL certification booklet and complete details on the requirements of the ESMHL certification. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . or call (800) 369-RIDE (7433) with any additional questions you may have regarding the Equine Specialist for Mental Health and Learning certification or the workshop.

Who should take the Equine Specialist for Mental Health and Learning workshop?
How do I get this certification?
What is the practical skills test?
How do I sign up for a workshop and practical skills test?
How do I locate a workshop and pratical skills test?
What does this certification certify me to do?
I am participating in the PATH Intl. Certified Instructor option and would like to buy an ESMHL workshop manual. Can I?
Will the Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning certification be required in the future for all existing PATH Intl. programs that offer EFP sessions?
What about EFL?
I have already attended an ES workshop in the past. Do I need to retake it?
Why should I attend the ESMHL workshop?
How do I get my 60 hours of experience in mental health or learning?
I am a certified vaulting instructor performing EFL. Do I need to gain this certification to continue my interactive vaulting lessons?

1. Who should take the Equine Specialist for Mental Health and Learning workshop?

Anyone interested in learning more about Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) or Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP). This workshop is aimed at teaching equine behavioral and management skills as it relates to EFL and EFP as well as collaboration skills with the mental health or learning professional. It will touch on how to develop curriculums that support treatment plans, volunteer management, equine interaction, your role as an ESMHL (Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning) and much more! While the focus in this workshop is on the Equine Specialist we encourage any mental health professional or learning professional to attend as this workshop is very educational and will help you to work better with your Equine Specialist partner. If you are currently performing EFL or EFP this workshop would benefit you and your program, it will give you new ideas, best practices scenarios, tips for volunteer management, who to accept into your program, and of course how to best focus on proper horse handling and the physical/emotional care of your equine during all EFP and EFL sessions. The workshop is a requirement of the certification so if you wish to become certified as an ESMHL you need to attend this workshop as it will only benefit you!

2. How do I get this certification?

Step 1: Attend a workshop and skills test. The prerequisite to attending a workshop and skills test is to be a current PATH Intl. individual member; there are not any preparatory items to complete. If you plan to complete the skills test after the workshop horsemanship skills are necessary. It is beneficial to have horsemanship skills and experience when attending the workshop but it is not required.

Step 2: Review the portfolio requirements on page 3 of the ESMHL certification booklet and when you are ready mail your completed portfolio to the PATH Intl. office with a $95 fee.

Step 3: The PATH Intl. office will receive your portfolio and within 15 business days sign you up to take the PATH Intl. online CAT and ESMHL exam. Upon completion of the exam and confirmation from the PATH Intl. office your certification will be complete.

3. What is the practical skills test?

The skills test is held on day 4 following the ESMHL workshop. The un-mounted skills test is meant to test your horse handling ability/ground skills as well as how you relate to horses. This test is required for certification and can be taken at any point; the only prerequisite is to be a PATH Intl. member. Please see all details in the ESMHL certification booklet including the skills test criteria. The skills test is good for two years from the time you complete it.

4. How do I sign up for a workshop and practical skills test?

Contact the hosting center for registration fees, deadlines, obtain an application and pay the center directly to attend the workshop and skills test.

5. How do I locate a workshop and practical skills test?

All events are advertised in the PATH Intl. E-news and on the PATH Intl. events calendar on the web site. The events are in a green color and are titled ESMHL workshop and skills test.

6. What does this certification certify me to do?

This certification is meant to certify an individual as the Equine Specialist (horse handler, horse expert) in any un-mounted mental health or learning session.  With this certification you can meet PATH Intl. standards, start up a PATH Intl. EFL or EFP program and PATH Intl. center and offer un-mounted activities with your clients.

7. I am participating in the PATH Intl. Certified Instructor option and would like to buy an ESMHL workshop manual, can I?

No. A benefit to attending the ESMHL workshop is getting the manual. The PATH Intl. Certified Instructor option was created for those that are already familiar with EFP and EFL, if you are you familiar with these sessions you should be able to pass the online exam without the workshop manual. If you are not familiar with these sessions PATH Intl. recommends you attend the workshop in order to pass the online exam.

8. Will the Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning certification be required in the future for all existing PATH Intl. programs that offer EFP and EFL sessions?

Yes for EFP programs only. If a PATH Intl. center is offering an EFP program they will have two years from July 1, 2011 to employ a PATH Intl. certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. This Equine Specialist will be required to be present during all un-mounted EFP sessions. If a PATH Intl. center conducts mounted EFP sessions the ESMHL must be present and directly supervised by a PATH Intl. Therapeutic Riding Instructor (unless the ESMHL is dually certified as a PATH Intl. Therapeutic Riding Instructor). Please see the updated PATH Intl. Standards for Certification and Accreditation manual released in July, 2011, specifically the EFP standards for more information.

8A. What about EFL?

In the new 2011 PATH Intl. Standards for Certification and Accreditation manual members can find EFL guidelines and definitions. PATH Intl. has not yet developed EFL standards therefore PATH Intl. centers can continue to run an EFL program without having a PATH Intl. certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Your EFL programs will need to continue to be supervised by a PATH Intl. Therapeutic Riding Instructor to meet standards if you choose not to employ an ESMHL. It is highly recommended to have a PATH Intl. certified ESMHL for all EFL sessions but not yet required.

However, if a center wishes to start up an un-mounted EFL program and wishes to gain PATH Intl. accreditation for this program they can do so with a PATH Intl. certified ESMHL. In the future when EFL standards are developed the ESMHL certification may be a requirement for EFL programs.

9. I have already attended an ES workshop in the past, do I need to retake it?

No. Your workshop will count towards certification. If you would like to retake it you may do so. The fee is up to the host site and is not set by the PATH Intl. office. You can request to audit the workshop for a discounted fee. Auditing is only an option if you have already taken the workshop once. Your workshop is good until December 31st, 2012 if you took it prior to January 1, 2011. If you take the workshop after this date it is good for two years from the date you took it.

10. Why should I attend the ESMHL workshop?

The PATH Intl. office highly recommends anyone that would like to offer EFL and EFP to attend this workshop. The feedback received after individuals attend this workshop is very positive. Many appreciate the information given in the workshop and find that it provides so much assistance in creating or improving their own EFP or EFL programs. Most participants come home wondering why there are so many individuals performing EFL and EFP without taking the workshop. This workshop will only create more understanding and professionalism within the PATH Intl. industry.

11. How do I get my 60 hours of experience in mental health or learning?

There have been established PATH Intl. EFL and EFP programs in place for many years now. You can locate PATH Intl. centers that offer EFL and EFP sessions using our Find A Center link on the web site. It would be wonderful to gain all 60 hours in an EFL or EFP session. For the 60 hours; they can be collected at any time (at this time your hours do not have an expiration date). They need to be all performed in a PATH Intl. EFL or EFP program (meaning under a PATH Intl. instructor or at a PATH Intl. center). OR you can do 30 in a PATH Intl. program offering equine assisted activities (TRI, Vaulting etc) and 30 in the mental health and learning field in your community like at a group home or special needs learning school etc.

The hours are active hours, just like continuing education hours. This means only the hours you are volunteering/participating in a session or school or group home count. Not the hours you may need to prepare, do lesson plans, prepare horses, read about students etc.

Your hours (including the 20 equine education hours) can be performed at anytime.

12. I am a certified vaulting instructor performing EFL, do I need to gain this certification to continue my interactive vaulting lessons?

No. At this time PATH Intl. does not require anyone to have this certification to participate in EFL, only if you participate in EFP. Please see the EFL guidelines in the PATH Intl. standards manual and offer any feedback you may have to the PATH Intl. office.

 

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