Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Master Level Instructor Certification is the highest certification level an instructor can achieve through PATH Intl. This program is designed for those instructors with career involvement in therapeutic riding. A PATH Intl. Master Level Instructor has a strong background in horsemanship and teaching, as well as a thorough knowledge of disabilities and their relationship to therapeutic riding. He or she has the ability to step into any instruction situation in the field of equine-assisted activities and therapies and take charge effectively, with the support of the operating center board or the center management. He or she is also capable of training other therapeutic riding instructors.

PATH Intl. Master Level Instructors are looked upon as role models, and will embody the spirit of PATH Intl. while promoting the dignity of the entire therapeutic horsemanship team.

Characteristics of a PATH Intl. Master Level Instructor

  • Has thorough knowledge of PATH Intl. Master Level Instructor Certification criteria.
  • Maintains professional demeanor in all areas of the equine-assisted activities and therapies industry.
  •  Is able to communicate positively and effectively in a variety of situations and with a variety of people.
  • Demonstrates superior interpersonal skills.
  • Teaches effectively to a group or an individual, using creative and tailored approaches to maximize students’ understanding.
  •  Makes effective use of time and resources.
  •  Demonstrates ability to recognize problems and identify solutions.
  • Demonstrates responsibility.
  • Is aware of personal and professional limitations.
  • Demonstrates critical thinking, as well as intuitive and analytical reasoning.
  • Recognizes own biases and suspends judgmental thinking.
  • Strives to maintain a sense of humor.
  • Is open to constructive criticism and can effectively give constructive feedback.
  • Demonstrates ability to progress a rider to the realistic pinnacle of his/her ability.

Applicant Criteria

  • Must be a current PATH Intl. Instructor member and certified as a PATH Intl. Advanced Level Instructor.
  • Must be at least 25 years of age.
  • Must be a member of another equestrian organization outside of PATH Intl..
  • Must have a minimum of four years of involvement with a PATH Intl. Center.
  • Must have at least 400 hours of experience teaching equine-assisted activities.
  • Must document at least two years of service to PATH Intl.

For information and forms, visit the TRI certification page.

horse-child-kneelingThis is the second level of certification.  A Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Advanced Level Certified Instructor is knowledgeable in horsemanship and understands disabilities and their relationship to therapeutic riding. This instructor is able to conduct safe, challenging and therapeutically effective lessons to individuals with disabilities.

PATH Intl. Certified Instructors who wish to progress to the Advanced level must meet a specific set of criteria (see below), and can be certified at the Advanced level through practical evaluations and written examinations at a PATH Intl. Advanced On-Site Certification.  These on-site certifications can be found on the PATH Intl. Events Calendar; dates are determined by PATH Intl. Centers. The on-site certification can range from 1-3 days depending on the number of certification candidates.

There is no workshop offered at the Advanced level, although some PATH Intl. Centers offer prep courses (also listed on the PATH Intl. calendar). These prep courses are designed by PATH Intl. Centers and offer candidates an opportunity to prepare for the Advanced certification testing. Candidates are responsible for finding their own resources in order to prepare themselves for Advanced certification.

Instructors must evaluate whether or not they meet the criteria for the Advanced level prior to applying at this level. For information and forms, including criteria, visit the TRI certification page

One of the most effective and comprehensive ways to prepare for Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) therapeutic riding instructor certification is through attending a PATH Intl. Approved Training Course (ATC). These carefully screened training sites have developed an extended, intensive curriculum reviewed by PATH Intl. for content and relevance. Each ATC combines lecture series and hands-on application of concepts to provide a thorough foundation of competency in therapeutic riding instruction. ATCs are an effective method to prepare for both PATH Intl. Registered and Advanced therapeutic riding instructor certification.


NOTE: While many PATH Intl. centers offer instructor training courses, only those listed below are identified as Approved Training Courses. In some cases, training courses are offered through colleges or universities and may take several months or even years to complete. Others are offered at PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Centers and may last a few weeks to several months. Instructors interested in an Approved Training Course may contact the Approved Training Course directly to obtain information on course fees, schedules and entrance requirements.

811 Pemberton Hill Road
Building #4
Dallas, Texas 75217
(972) 412-1099

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
36 Town Woods Rd
Old Lyme, CT 06371-1142
(860) 434-1974

St. Andrews University "Ride Like a Knight"
9167 Hast Rd
Laurinburg, NC 28352
(910) 277-7363

Therapeutic Riding at Centenary
400 Jefferson St
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
(908) 813-1984


Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) International Instructors can be certified at the Registered level through the following methods:

Method 1:  Attend and successfully complete a PATH Intl. Approved Training Course.  
For additional information please refer to the section on Approved Training Courses below.

Method 2: 
Complete a multi-step educational process that includes the following:

  • PATH Intl. Pre-Certification Self-Assessment online course
  • PATH Intl. Online Standards Course
  • PATH Intl. Instructor Self-Study online course
  • Current CPR and First Aid certification  
  • Completion of 25 teaching hours under the guidance or direct supervision of a PATH Intl. Certified Instructor or someone approved through the PATH Intl. office
  • Video yourself demonstrating the riding pattern and instructing a class of at least two students with disabilities

To find a detailed description of this method, please see the International Certification Application Booklet.

5Interactive vaulting, like carriage driving, is a fast-growing equestrian sport for both therapeutic and recreational purposes. Often equated to gymnastics on horseback, vaulting uses a surcingle to allow riders to perform seven standard movements (called compulsories of vaulting positions) and many freestyle movements on the back of a horse on a lunge line. The therapeutic value of vaulting is immense, as it promotes strength, flexibility, balance and coordination through the physical moves; as well as confidence, trust, patience and critical thinking as participants must learn routines and develop the skills necessary to perform these on a moving horse. Traditionally, all three gaits are used, though the intensity of the speed and movements can be easily adjusted for therapeutic programs.

6If you are interested in utilizing this exciting and unique discipline in your program and would like to become a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Certified Vaulting Instructor, you may read the certification booklet below and attend a PATH Intl. Interactive Vaulting Workshop to learn all the necessary skills and precautions. After participating in the PATH Intl. Interactive Vaulting Workshop and practicing the skills taught, you may be ready for certification. You can sign up to attend a vaulting certification, which is conducted at a host site, once you have completed all the following prerequisites:

  • Attend PATH Intl. Interactive Vaulting Workshop within a two-year time frame
  • Completion and documentation of 30 lungeing hours and 20 Interactive Vaulting Teaching hours
  • Current certification as a PATH Intl. Registered Level Instructor
  • 21 years of age
  • Application materials complete with fee paid

Once you have met these requirements, the Interactive Vaulting Certification process will consist of the following components:

  1. Lungeing test - Candidates will have 20 minutes to show their ability to warm up, work the horse in both directions in side reins at all three gaits, and cool down. Immediately following the practical component, candidates will be asked to evaluate their horse and their lungeing performance. As safe and correct lungeing is the basis for interactive vaulting, candidates who do not pass this portion will not be permitted to continue testing.
  2. Vaulting positions on the vaulting barrel - Candidates will have 15 minutes to teach the vaulting position movements to an uneducated vaulter, with an emphasis on safety and empathy for the horse. The candidates will then perform the vaulting position movements themselves on the barrel.
  3. Interactive vaulting lesson - Candidates will have 20 minutes to teach a lesson to three vaulters. All three gaits should be shown and use of the barrel is required. Focus should be on safety, consideration for the horse, teaching new skills and fostering interaction within the group. Candidates will receive profiles on the vaulters and the horse the evening before they are scheduled to teach. A lesson plan should be provided to the evaluators.

8At the conclusion of the certification each candidate will be notified of results and given written and oral feedback from the evaluators in a one-on-one setting.

***Please refer to the PATH Intl. interactive vaulting specialty standards in a current version of the PATH Intl. Standards and Accreditation Manual. These very detailed standards address some of the most important safety concerns for interactive vaulting. In addition, they contain information about what is needed to start interactive vaulting program.

*PATH Intl. acknowledges that both spellings "lungeing" and "longeing" are correct and used in the literature when discussing use of the horse on a circle. PATH Intl. uses the spelling "lungeing" in all documents.


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