PATH INTERNATIONAL

Member of the Month: Elizabeth Karmann

Elizabeth Karrmann from Green Bay, Wisconsin, is the first PATH Intl. member of the month for September! Elizabeth from Exceptional Equestrians is by no means new to EAAT but a relatively new member of PATH Intl. (first joined In January 2019), she says, “only after realizing I should have joined years ago!”

Elizabeth says her favorite thing about belonging to the EAAT community is, “I love the sense of community you find in an EAAT barn. Everyone is united by the same goals and love for horses.” Her first career was as the equine manager for a therapeutic riding program. "I started volunteering with the local therapeutic riding center as soon as I turned 14. I was a horse-crazy kid desperate for any chance possible to interact with horses. Volunteering with the program was a huge part of my life and my decision to get my degree in animal science.”

She tells us, “In addition to horses, I am also involved in the dog world. I have an Australian Shepherd, Darcy, who loves to participate in agility. My goal this year is to get back into competing with her.” We asked if she could tell us about a favorite horse. “One in particular stands out -- a beefy Belgian/Quarter Horse cross gelding named Achilles. I worked at a summer camp for a few years where he was a perpetual favorite. When that camp closed, I brought him into the therapeutic riding program where I was equine manager. He had a personality as big as his massive girth, and a heart to match. He tested our volunteers’ skills, determination, and patience, but they loved him. That program recently closed, but I was able to bring him into a new program where I took a job... I can’t stand not to keep this guy around!”

And a favorite participant? “We had one group of older riders who came every Monday night. They would help brush their horses before they rode. One gentleman in that group was my favorite- he adored his horse, a Percheron mare named Glory, and he loved to brush and pamper her. I think he would have happily brushed for the whole lesson!”

When we asked Elizabeth to share something she had to learn the hard way she relayed a story we have unfortunately heard fairly often. “I was recently involved with shutting down a long-time therapeutic riding program. It was heart-breaking for everyone involved. The catalyst for this was the sudden loss of the program’s founder and director two years before. She ran the program for 30 years, and poured her heart and soul into it. Unfortunately, her passion for the program was in a way its undoing, since it left us with a huge hole that we couldn’t fill. Transparency, record-keeping, and willingness to delegate duties make future transitions much smoother and give a program a much better chance to survive.”

What's a piece of advice she'd like to share with her fellow PATH Intl. Members? “Never stop learning. The EAAT field, as well as the equine field in general, is constantly changing and progressing, giving us new and better options all the time.”

For the next 50 years of PATH Intl. and EAAT, Elizabeth wishes, “To have the organization and the field continue to grow, and for more people to learn about the amazing power horses have to help and heal.” We asked her to tell us how she feels when she wears her PATH Intl. logo and she said, “Proud! I love when people see and ask about the organization and the work we do, and I’m always happy to share my experiences.” Thank you, Elizabeth! We’re proud to know you and so glad you became a member!

Not a member yet? Join PATH Intl. today! Click here to see all the benefits a membership provides.

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