PATH Intl. Community Connections Day on Wednesday, November 6th

Attendees are welcome to attend up to four of the following presentations: choose a full day of PATH International Equine Services for Heroes presentations or mix and match presentations with the other great topics listed below. The cost is $55 for PATH Intl. members and $65 for non-members for the full day.  

9:30 to 11 a.m.

A1 (an Equine Services for Heroes session) – Boots in the Arena: Equine Assisted Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Combat Trauma presented by Eva Usadi (Begins at 9 a.m.)

Trauma rarely happens in isolation. In combat, trauma occurs in the context of a cohesive, disciplined, closely-knit unit. Disruption of unit cohesion often results in impaired interpersonal relationships and, if untreated, increases the risk of substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide. Using a filmed EAP session with a warrior, this presentation will demonstrate the importance of being able to verbally process the client's experience so that it can be integrated. It will also show how the horse’s capacity to reflect underlying intention and emotion is critical to the healing process.

Eva J. Usadi, MA, BCD, is EAGALA-certified and has presented nationally and internationally. Ms. Usadi has extensive experience in the field of trauma, especially combat trauma. She spent seven months working at Ft. Drum, conducted EAP sessions with warriors at an inpatient Military Wellness Program in NY, and works with active duty and veterans in her private psychotherapy practice in New York City, where she is active in the veteran community. She is certified in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and trained in Sensorimotor psychotherapy,Yoga and Thought Field Therapy (TFT).

A2 – Branding Your Way to a Successful, Sustainable Center presented by Arlene Alen, the Marketing Community

Have you started a new center or has your center been focused for a few years as a start-up and now needs to raise money to become financially sound in the long term? Learn how to market and brand your center to successfully meet this challenge.

Arlene Alen is vice president/director of marketing and development for Horses with H.E.A.R.T., Inc. in Chino Valley, AZ, and serves on the PATH Intl. Board of Trustees. She is a founding principal in The Strategic Resource Group, dedicated to assisting nonprofits in achieving successful sustainability.

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

B1 (an Equine Services for Heroes session) – Hooves for Heroes (Equest) presented by Susannah Denney & Jeff Hensley

Check back soon for description

B2 – Instructor Enrichment presented by the Instructor Community

This interactive presentation will focus on increasing morale and reducing burnout and frustration for these valued professionals who dedicate long hours not only teaching and supporting participants but filling out endless paperwork. Join this positive and supportive learning opportunity for your valuable instructors and management.

B3 – Equine-Facilitated Learning Community Interactive Discussion

Equine Facilitated Learning is a broad an often grey category of work for our industry.  Join us for this special event where we will discuss many of the initiatives within PATH Intl. to give a framework to this emerging methodology.  We will cover a basic definition of EFL and what other definitions are out there, what type of professionals are included in this category, how does an EFL session differ from EFP and how do we define the scope of practice. We will also review some of the information collected from a survey on EFL distributed to the PATH Intl. membership and review other resources available through PATH Intl. to support you in your efforts to offer EFL programs.

12:30 to 1:30 p.m.


1:30 to 3 p.m.

C1 (an Equine Services for Heroes session) – Rainier Therapeutic Riding Veteran's Program presented by Debbie Fisher & Elisia Mutter

Join Rainier Therapeutic Riding for a deep dive into therapeutic horsemanship for America's Heroes. Looking through three case-studies of real-life warriors,  instructors, administrators and volunteers will gain insight into the Riding Through Recovery model. Warriors returning home with PTSD, TBI and other combat-related injuries are very different than the traditional therapeutic riding client. This approach uses the horse as therapist, and empowers the therapeutic riding instructor to guide participants through program activities and create opportunities for experiential learning, healing and connection. This model helps the therapeutic riding instructor stay within the scope of his/her training while guiding our nation's heroes to a place of healing and wholeness.

Debbi Fisher, Co-Founder and Program Director, PATH Instructor and ESMHL, founded Rainier Therapeutic Riding in 2010. After 30 years as a military wife and mother to two children serving our country, she has intimate knowledge of the challenges our military families face. With the help of her instructor team, Debbi developed the Riding Through Recovery curriculum published in 2013. Currently Debbi sits on the Equine Services for Heroes committee for PATH International. Debbi comes from a lifelong background in horsemanship and currently competes in Extreme Mountain Trail and loves packing out into the wilderness.

Elisia Mutter, Executive Director, PATH Instructor and ESMHL, arrived at Rainier Therapeutic Riding in 2010 and brought a background of business management, horsemanship skills and a passion for horses helping humans heal. In 2013 Elisia published the Riding Through Recovery Curriculum and finds fufillment in helping centers gain confidence in working with wounded warriors. Currently Elisia sits on the Equine Services for Heroes committee for PATH International. Elisia comes has over 17 years of experience as a professional in the horsemanship industry and competes in dressage and extreme mountain trail when she is not working with RTR.

Rainier Therapeutic Riding is currently the largest program serving active-duty and veteran service members in the nation. This Premier Accredited Center is the first, and currently the only PAC to serve exclusively wounded warriors and their families. It is part of Rainier Therapeutic Riding's mission to promote the growth of therapeutic horsemanship for America's heroes and ensure all interested warriors can feel the healing power of the horse.

C2 – Expanding Your Therapeutic Horsemanship Program presented by the Instructor Community

Both large and small programs are often faced with many issues including handling unsoundness, dealing with limited herd numbers and/or volunteer forces and growing a center’s programming to reflect the expanded scope of therapeutic horsemanship. Share ideas and learn new ways to create programming that offers safe, meaningful opportunities for participants, as well as enriching experiences for our horse partners.

C3 (an Equine Services for Heroes session) – SADLES Veteran's Program presented by Cher Meyer

Check back soon for description

Cher Meyer, L.C.S.W., M.S.W, C.F.M  is a strong advocate for children and families which is demonstrated in her experience in providing counseling, forensic services and adoption home studies. She is certified as a neutral professional in collaborative practice for alternative dispute resolution. She is an experienced parenting coordinator and has served on task force committees for the development of parenting coordination in the state of Florida and is a member of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar. She is a licensed mental health therapist and EAGALA as an equine-assisted mental health professional which complements her clinics license as an LCSW in the State of Florida.

3 to 4:30 p.m.

D1 (an Equine Services for Heroes session) – Veterans Panel moderated by Jeff Hensley

Check back soon for description

D2 – Billing for EAAT 101 presented by Dr. Joahn Hall

Navigating the medical model for centers to bill for medical services can be confusing. This presentation focuses on incorporating equine therapies in the standard medical model and includes information on medical providers as a referral source, performing the service, reporting and billing for the service; which includes consideration of the place of service. This model is designed for the physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, behavioral therapists, PATH Intl. certified instructors and PATH Intl. centers. 

D3 – Equine Nutrition presented by Kelly R. Vineyard from Purina Animal Nutrition

Learn about feed, forage and selecting what’s right for your program. Discover the real facts behind common equine nutrition myths.

Kelly R. Vineyard, MS, PhD, is a research equine nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition where she conducts research to discover and develop innovative horse feed products.


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equisure headercrop

Therapeutic RidingTherapeutic DrivingInteractive VaultingEquine Services for HeroesEFP-EFL

Additional Sponsors

AdequanEQUUS FoundationMarkel Insurance CompanyCavalloRIDE TV