Standards Manual

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The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Standards for Certification and Accreditation details voluntary standards for the equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) industry, precautions and contraindications to therapeutic riding, a glossary of industry terms and sample forms.

History and Development of Standards

From the organization’s inception in 1969, members have focused on the establishment of industry guidelines for the practice and teaching of EAAT, to ensure that our centers and instructors maintain the safest, most ethical and most effective programs possible for the thousands of people participating in EAAT. The commitment of our founders and early leaders to quality center accreditation and instructor certification has become a cornerstone of the organization. PATH Intl.’s goals and objectives have continued to place emphasis on the importance of these programs, and our staff, volunteers and Board are always working to ensure our standards stay up-to-date.


The purpose of these standards is to educate program directors, program personnel/staff and the public regarding best practices and procedures followed within the therapeutic riding industry. These standards are voluntary, but provide the basis for PATH Intl. instructor certification and center accreditation. It should be understood that each standard or each part of every standard may not be applicable to all therapeutic riding programs. Further, these standards do not include every practice or procedure that might be desirable for or implemented by a program since the services, conditions, facilities and objectives of all programs are not identical. PATH Intl. does not suggest or infer that those who do not follow all of these standards or recommendations engage in unsafe practices.

The PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center status may be achieved only by those member centers that satisfy eligibility requirements and voluntarily implement PATH Intl. center and program standards. Programs outside of these definitions or criteria are not subject to our standards and are not considered for accreditation.

While PATH Intl. requires all accredited centers to participate in regular visits and membership renewals, PATH Intl. does not claim to verify complete and continuous adherence to all standards at all centers. Nor does PATH Intl. warrant, guarantee or insure that compliance with these standards will prevent any or all injury, loss, or litigation that may be caused by or associated with any person’s use of facilities, equipment, horses or other items or activities that are included in the content of these standards, nor does PATH Intl. assume any responsibility or liability for any such injury or loss.

Further, PATH Intl. hereby expressly disclaims any responsibility, liability or duty to member programs, directors, program personnel/staff, and to clients/participants and their families, for any such liability arising out of injury or loss to any person by the failure of such member programs, directors or program personnel/staff to adhere to these standards or guidelines.

Purchase a printed copy of the PATH Intl. Standards for Certification and Accreditation manual from the PATH Intl. Store

Standards Feedback

PATH Intl. welcomes comments and feedback on its current standards. Comments/feedback can be emailed to the PATH Intl. office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by using the Membership Standards Feedback form, attention PATH Intl. Programs and Standards Oversight Committee. The comments/feedback may be directed to another committee for review when additional expertise is required.  Please note that the submitters contact information is required as reviewing committee may need additional information and feedback.

The reviewing committee will make one of the following recommendations to the Programs and Standards Oversight Committee:
1. That the standard needs to be amended with no change in intent and written into the next version of the PATH Intl. Standards for Certification and Accreditation.
2.  That the standard needs to be amended but changes the intent of the standard. The process for developing a new field test standard is implemented and can be found in the PATH Intl. Standards for Certification and Accreditation.
3. That no action to amend the standard is required.

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