EAAT Participant Fund (formerly Riders Assistance Fund)

To assist a participant who would not otherwise financially be able to participate in a therapeutic riding program at a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center without financial assistance. Awards will be for up to $1,000 or up to four sessions per year per participant. Applications are made available early in the year. The deadline is announced at that time. Click here for information.

Disaster Relief

To assist Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) centers (with an immediate need) in funding expenses not normally covered by operating insurance after natural or man made catastrophic disasters. Click here for information.

PATH Intl. Strategic Plan Updates

December 2014

When the current PATH Intl. strategic plan was rolled out in the fall of 2014, the PATH Intl. Board of Trustees and Staff became energized to begin implementing the plan that was created from association member, stakeholder, board and staff feedback. As a result, the staff and volunteers rolled up their sleeves and dived right in to accomplish the goals set forth. A year into the three-to-five year plan, the association is pleased to communicate that many tasks have been completed and even more are well in the works.

One important update we’d like to highlight is the language used for the goals and objectives was revisited by the board and staff and modified slightly to include clearer, measurable purpose for each. There was no change to any of the original intent; however, the improved content is more concise and better defined. To view the new language, download the updated Strategic Plan.

Following is a report on some of the higher priority initiatives.

Goal 1--We are recognized by the EAAT industry, health and wellness community and the public for our excellent and rigorous credentialing in order to enhance the professional credibility of individuals and centers.

In order to move the association forward in its goal of becoming an accredited provider of certification programs, PATH Intl. became a member of the Institute of Credentialing Excellence. The next step was to have an independent analysis performed to assess PATH Intl. compliance with National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA) standards. The NCCA, through its standards, helps to ensure the health, welfare and safety of the public through the accreditation of a variety of individual certification programs that assess professional competency in industries such as healthcare, financial services and education.  

Changes are being outlined that will need to be made to achieve compliance with this program. These changes will be rolled out to the PATH Intl. Board of Trustees and program committees in late 2015.

Continuing Education and Knowledge Management
Goal 2--In order to promote professionalism and support sustainability of EAAT, PATH Intl. connects members to resources, information and networks.

In order to be compliant with the certification accreditation requirements mentioned above, PATH Intl. is looking at how to meet the requirement of separating education and certification testing while still retaining the ability to provide education. To that end, we are continuing to develop and make available education offerings including updating materials and expanding online education offerings.

This past year the webinar delivery platform was upgraded. It offers an enhanced user experience and broader capabilities for the types of webinars that can be offered. Education sessions were video-recorded at the 2014 PATH Intl. Conference and will be edited and made available to members in a webinar format. Additionally, the learning management system Course Webs was upgraded with the hope that the association will be able to make a variety of continuing education more readily available. 

Online curriculum for instructors working with veterans will be developed, made possible by the Department of Veterans Affairs grant.

PATH Intl. continues to have conversations with higher education institutions and other organizations that are preparing our next generation of certified professionals in order to better support them.

Quality Assurance
Goal 3 – Our quality assurance program enables instructors and centers to deliver safe, superior services and programs.

As a first step, A Quality Assurance Task Force was formed. A call for volunteers went out and more than 40 people responded. Ten members were chosen, and they have spent the last year working very hard to look at how to institute association-wide quality assurance. Their final report has been approved by the board and progress will continue to be reported on a regular basis. Look for the roll out of an improved grievance filing process first.

Capacity Building
Goal 4 – Our organizational systems and people power enable us to meet our strategic goals.

The association has reviewed the make-up and size of the board of trustees and the committee structure is continually reviewed.

The region systems restructure efforts to create leadership teams that support the region rep, focus on outreach, some sort of explanation, which really started in earnest with the July 1 fiscal year, are well underway. The support from the PATH Intl. Membership Oversight Committee Region Representatives in making these transitions happen is greatly appreciated.

A detailed technology assessment of internal needs, as well as an external technology scan of better, faster and more efficient solutions to better serve our members is underway.

Community Engagement and Partnerships
Goal 5 – Build strategic relationships and communication efforts that support partnerships, alliances and brand awareness

The association is exploring how to have a greater presence in the area of higher education, working in conjunction with existing higher education members.

Alignment with groups such as the American Hippotherapy Association, American Quarter Horse Foundation, Certified Horsemanship Association, Horses and Humans Research Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, American Horse Council, Horses in Education and Therapy International, and Colorado State University, to name a few, continues to be fostered.

New ways are being explored to engage the research community for focused progress in the EAAT industry.

A detailed, independent web audit resulted in an improved website, easier navigation and enhanced search engine optimization, which helps make PATH Intl. the easiest to find in a variety of web searches. This translates into centers and all information being found more easily by the public.

Focus on exposure and education to national health and wellness organizations continues thanks to the PATH Intl. Medical Outreach Advisory. This year, through exhibiting, many members presenting and EAAT professionals serving on committees, the association had a large, well-received presence at the 122nd American Psychological Association Convention that had an attendance of over 12,000 attendees.

It is challenging to measure success in a strategic plan, especially when our strategic direction is to be recognized as the premier credentialing organization for EAAT. How do you measure “recognized as”? One measurement is to note the number of requests from other national organizations that want to partner with or approach PATH Intl. because they have identified the importance of our standards. Three such recent examples include:

The Department of Veterans Affairs asked us to submit a grant request for their revised Adaptive Sports program.

The New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities asked for the PATH Intl. definition of therapeutic riding and specifically “What kind of planning, documentation and reporting is the instructor expected/required to provide to the individual/family?” They used this information to update their state Medicaid, self-directed care plans.

The association most recently got a request for a proposal to better serve individuals with special needs in the state of Massachusetts, which requires licensing for all riding instructors and riding stables – but has no differentiation between those with and without special needs.

It is this type of activity that will continue to be measured.  And most importantly, these types of opportunities will continue to support the initiatives found in the strategic plan.

Watch for updates along the way as the association moves forward with its plans. Thank you to all members and stakeholders who contributed to the creation of the plan and to those who serve through membership and volunteering to see the plan brought to fruition.

Equine-assisted therapy may help autism, PTSD and pain. Why isn't it used more?

Mark Lieber, CNN
June 18, 2018

Click here for the story.

Something About a Horse: Finding Benefits in Therapeutic Riding

Marina Sarris
Interactive Autism Network at Kennedy Krieger Institute
May 25, 2016

American frontier tales promote the magical connection between a man and his trusty steed. A rider communicates with his horse through words and movements, forming a bond in which each "reads" the other. Horse enthusiasts have said these bonds help people with autism, a disorder affecting social and communication skills, but they didn't have much rigorous research to back them up – until now. Click here to read the story.

PATH Intl. Center Featured in Family Circle

Unbridled Spirit
By Eleanor Gilman
Harnessing her love of horses, Dana Spett created a therapeutic riding school for children and adults with disabilities. Download the story here.

May 2013 - First American Paint Horse Association Therapeutic Riding Scholarship Winners Announced

Through an innovative partnership between the American Paint Horse Foundation and the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.), scholarship assistance is provided to potential instructors of therapeutic riding. Selected from a competitive field, Cindy Salyer of Reno, Nevada, and Kathy Hiberd of Burleson, Texas, have been named the first-ever winners of these unique scholarships.Both women receive $800 scholarships toward completing PATH Intl. certification. Read the full story.

Click on the table to get more information about our world-wide visitors! (Added June 7, 2011)

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The PATH Intl. Code of Ethics sets forth ethical principles for all PATH Intl. members which includes individuals and centers and is binding on all staff. Centers are obligated to ensure that all staff, professionals and volunteers comply with this code. While each of the following codes will apply to all members, the applicability of each code may be determined by the role of the member and the setting.

The practice and preservation of the highest standards of ethical principles and integrity are vital for the responsible implementation of obligations, activities and services provided by PATH Intl. members and centers. All members and centers are responsible for maintaining and promoting these ethical practices. The PATH Intl. Code of Ethics is intended to be used as a guide for promoting and maintaining the highest standards of ethical practice, personal behavior and professional integrity.

The guidelines expressed in the code are not to be considered all-inclusive of situations that could evolve under a specific principle, nor is the failure to specify any particular responsibility or practice a denial of the existence of such responsibilities or practices. The guidelines are specific statements of minimally acceptable conduct or of prohibitions applicable to all members and centers. The PATH Intl. Code of Ethics is designed to be appended to such other codes as may be applicable (such as: medicine, psychology, nursing, social work, etc.).

In recognition of the responsibility inherent in the delivery of services provided by equine-assisted activities and therapies, PATH Intl. asks all members and center personnel to subscribe to the following to the extent permitted by law:

Principle 1

The member respects the rights, dignity and well-being of all individuals (human and equine) and promotes well-being for all involved.

1.1 The member shall promote a holistic awareness of body, mind and spirit in equine-assisted activities and therapies for all involved.

1.2 The member shall be responsive to, and mutually supportive of, the individuals served, including families, colleagues and associates.

1.3 The member shall respect the unique nature of each individual and shall be tolerant of, and responsive to, differences. The member shall not discriminate based on age, gender, race, nationality, religion, ethnicity, social or economic status, sexual orientation, health condition or disability.

1.4 The member shall follow equal employment opportunity practices in hiring, assigning, promoting, discharging and compensating staff.

1.5 The member shall maintain in professional confidence participant, volunteer and staff information, observations or evaluations and shall adhere to all legal requirements.

1.6 The member, in community settings, shall use caution in forming dual or multiple relationships with participants or former participants where there is a risk of a conflict of interest. The member, in clinical treatment settings, shall avoid dual relationships when possible. In situations where dual relationships are unavoidable, the member shall be responsible for setting clear, appropriate and sensitive boundaries.

1.7 The member will understand the sensitive nature of physical touch and use it with caution.

Principle 2

The member accepts responsibility for the exercise of sound judgment and professional competence.

2.1 The member shall accurately represent his/her level of expertise, experience, education and actual practice and provide service only to those individuals he/she can competently serve.

2.2 The member shall engage in sound business, employment and administrative practices.

2.4 The member shall engage in continued personal growth, continuing relevant education and professional skill development.

2.5 The member shall recognize and take appropriate action to remedy personal problems and limitations that might cause harm to recipients of service, colleagues or others.

2.6 The member shall demonstrate objectivity and fairness by interacting with individuals in an impartial manner.

2.7 The member shall accept responsibility for the exercise of sound judgment when interacting with individuals and animals.

2.8 The member shall demonstrate openness to, and respect for, other colleagues and professionals.

Principle 3

The member shall respect the integrity and well-being of program equines and animals whether owned, leased or borrowed.

3.1 The member shall recognize and respect the individual character, nature and physical attributes of each program equine.

3.2 The member shall encourage safe and respectful human and equine interactions, placing equines in activities suited to their temperament and physical ability.

3.3 The member shall support the highest standard of care, maintenance and selection for each program equine, understanding and responding to the equine's need for socialization, play, turnout, time off and retirement.

3.4 When equines are borrowed or leased, the same high standards of equine respect, care and maintenance apply.

3.5 The member shall cultivate a barn and practice environment that supports personal and professional development and is compliant with PATH Intl. standards.

Principle 4

The member shall be truthful and fair in representing him- or herself and other members or centers.

4.1 The member shall be responsible for providing each participant with accurate information regarding programs, services, professional training and credentials, as well as possible benefits, outcomes, expected activities, risks and limitations of the service or program.

4.2 The member shall meet commitments to participants, colleagues, equines, agencies, the equine-assisted activities and therapies community and the community at large.

4.3 The member shall use the PATH Intl. logo only in accordance with the PATH Intl. brand policy.

Principle 5

The member shall seek to expand his/her knowledge base related to the field of equine-assisted activities and therapies.

5.1 The member shall maintain a high level of professional competence by continued participation in educational activities that enhance basic knowledge and provide new knowledge.

5.2 The member shall support the sharing and dissemination of information, the provision of training and conducting of research for the benefit of the profession.

5.3 The member shall demonstrate commitment to quality assurance. The member in clinical treatment settings shall engage in providing and receiving individual or peer supervision and/or staffing consultation on a regular basis.

Principle 6

The member shall honor all financial commitments to participants, personnel, vendors, donors, PATH Intl. and others.

6.1 The member shall negotiate and clarify the fee structure and payment policy prior to the initiation of service and charge in a responsible and reasonable manner.

6.2 The member shall not misrepresent in any fashion services rendered or products dispensed.

6.3 The member shall be truthful and fair in representing him- or herself in fundraising activities.

6.4 The member shall honor all debt obligations.

6.5 The member shall maintain membership in PATH Intl. and pay the appropriate fee as determined by the Board of Trustees. Instructors shall remain in good standing with the annual compliance process for instructors

Principle 7

The member shall abide by PATH Intl. Standards and Guidelines and all state, local and federal laws.

Principle 8

The member supports PATH Intl. in its efforts to protect participants, equines, the public and the profession from unethical, incompetent or illegal practice.

8.1 The member shall present this PATH Intl. Code of Ethics to all staff and personnel, outlining their collective obligation to support it and address any questions or concerns pertaining to it.

8.2 The member accepts the responsibility to discuss suspect unethical behavior directly with the parties involved and, if unresolved, to report unethical, incompetent or illegal acts to PATH Intl.

Approved by NARHA Board of Trustees October 21, 2010
Edited name change to PATH Intl. July 2011



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