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Therapeutic/Adaptive Riding Instructor

Therapeutic/Adaptive Riding is an activity in which the student performs mounted and unmounted work on or around the horse. Help build participants’ skills in and out of the arena by becoming a PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor. Certifications for the PATH Intl. Therapeutic Riding Instructors at the CTRI, Advanced and Master levels are for equine-assisted services professionals providing riding instruction of therapeutic value to riders with disabilities. This includes mounted or unmounted work ethically partnering with an equine.

Certification Options

Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor​

The PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI) is a voluntary, entry-level credential for individuals in the equine-assisted services (EAS) profession who provide riding instruction of therapeutic value to people with disabilities. This may include mounted or unmounted work ethically partnering with an equine. PATH Intl. CTRIs have met established criteria and standards of practice in the field. They have demonstrated their knowledge of disabilities, equines, teaching and human-animal interactions necessary for effective performance as an entry-level therapeutic riding instructor. 

This certification program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence.

Application Deadlines & Testing Windows


Applications accepted through November 11, 2022 for February 4-19, 2023 testing.

Applications accepted through March 17, 2023 for June 3-18, 2023 testing.

Applications accepted through June 16, 2023 for September 9-24, 2023 testing.

APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED through September 16, 2023 for November 25-December 10, 2023 testing. 


Accepting applications through October 27, 2023 for January 20-February 4, 2024 testing.

Accepting applications through February 9, 2024 for May 4-19, 2024 testing.

Accepting applications through May 10, 2024 for August 3-18, 2024 testing.

Accepting applications through August 9, 2024 for November 4-19, 2024 testing. 

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Steps to Certification

  • You must be 18 years of age or older
  • Proof of current adult and child CPR and first aid certifications (100% online courses are acceptable)
  • Complete the PATH Intl. Standards course and exam (score valid 1 year)
  • Locate a supervising instructor in the certified professional directory holding PATH Intl. CTRI certification (or higher). Look for certified professionals listed as a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor with a PATH Intl. Status of “Certified” and a Candidate Supervision Status of “Eligible to Supervise CTRI Applicants”

    Learn about how PATH Intl. defines the difference between a mentor and a supervising instructor here.

    A PATH Intl. Status of “Certified” means that the certified professional holds current PATH Intl. certification on the date the directory is viewed. Applicants should confirm the date through which the certification will remain current directly with the certified professional. Hours supervised by a certified professional after the date their certification expires will not be accepted.

    A Candidate Supervision status of “Eligible to Supervise CTRI Applicants” means that the certified professional has earned the CTRI credential and PATH Intl. has confirmed they have completed the requirements necessary to supervise CTRI applicant teaching hours. A Candidate Supervision status of “undefined” means that certified professional has not been confirmed by PATH Intl. to have completed the requirements necessary to supervise CTRI applicant teaching hours.

    A PATH Intl. Mentor status of “true” means that certified professional has completed the PATH Intl. Mentor Training course. A PATH Intl. Mentor status of “false” means that certified professional has NOT completed the PATH Intl. Mentor Training course. Regardless of their mentor status, they may or may NOT have completed the requirements necessary to supervise CTRI applicant teaching hours.

PATH Intl. CTRI Certification Costs:


Participating Member

Professional Member

Professional Plus Member

Higher Ed Member

  • Purchase and submit a CTRI application: $150 for Professional or Professional Plus members and $250 for Participating members or non-members.
  • Application materials must be submitted together and at one time (additional charges may apply if you submit your application in parts). These materials include:
    • Application paperwork (parts 1-5)
    • Video demonstrating your riding skill instruction and communication skills. Review the Part III Video Preparation and Self-Assessment Activity to prepare for filming your video. Applicants can instruct any rider of their choosing but, for the applicant to successfully demonstrate the instructional skills necessary to meet expectations for the video demonstration, the rider should be competent enough to perform ALL of the riding skills required to perform the riding pattern.
    • Photocopy of your ID
    • Proof of current adult and child CPR and first aid certifications (100% online courses are acceptable)
    • Proof of your passing score of the Standards exam
    • Signed PATH Intl. Certified Professional Code of Ethics
    • Please allow 60 days for your application to be reviewed
  • Once your application has been reviewed and accepted, you will receive a letter via email, authorizing you to participate in the examination.  This authorization will be valid for one year, during which time you will need to schedule your examination at a Pearson Vue center. You can find testing centers near you by going to and searching for the CTRI Certification.
  • Download the CTRI Candidate Handbook for free.
  • PATH Intl. does not recommend any singular resource or pathway to prepare for certification. There are an abundance of resources and training programs available to the public to obtain the necessary competencies.

Application acceptance rates:

2022: 71% acceptance rate

2023 (as of June 30): 69% acceptance rate

  • Upon approval of your application, complete payment for the certification exam ($525 for Professional or Professional Plus members and $650 for Participating members or non-members) to receive an Authorization to Test letter
  • Read the PATH Intl. Certification Testing Code of Conduct. Candidates are expected to conduct themselves ethically in their preparation for the certification exam. Any behavior through which a candidate may benefit from knowledge of or exposure to current or previous exam content is strictly prohibited and grounds for disciplinary action. Such behavior may be reported and investigated through the PATH Intl. Grievance Process.
  • Sit for a PROCTORED & CLOSED BOOK Certification Exam at a Pearson Vue testing center. Candidates will have 90 minutes to complete the 85-question, computer-based exam.
  • Get a preview of how the exam will appear and learn how to navigate the exam administration platform by touring the demo at
  • Upon earning a passing score on the certification exam, candidates are considered by PATH Intl. to be certified and qualified to teach therapeutic riding lessons unsupervised. Certificants will receive an official results letter and instructor certificate from PATH Intl. within 6 weeks of passing the certification exam.
  • Candidates will have one year from the date of their Authorization to Test letter (received following payment of the exam fee) to complete the exam.
  • The purpose of the CTRI exam is to determine proficiency of foundational competencies in therapeutic riding instruction. The exam consists of 5 content areas* with multiple-choice questions comprising the following percentages of the exam:
    Equine Handling: 13.75%
    Participant and Volunteer Management: 23.75%
    Lesson Management: 27.5%
    Risk Management: 22.5%
    Riding Theory: 12.5%
    *Exam Blueprint Effective March 2022
    The content areas encompass the CTRI criteria as follows:
    Equine Handling – Equine Management section
    Participant and Volunteer Management – Therapeutic Riding Instruction and Teaching Methodology sections
    Lesson Management – Therapeutic Riding Instruction and Teaching Methodology sections
    Risk Management – Teaching Methodology and Disabilities sections
    Riding Theory – Equine Management and Horsemanship sections
  • The exam consists of 85 multiple-choice questions, 80 of which are scored and 5 of which are unscored questions in beta test. The unscored questions will not be identified as such and are intermingled with the scored questions. Only the candidate’s answers to the 80 scored questions factor into their overall exam score.
  • Candidates must earn a minimum of 250 out of 300 possible points to receive a passing score. Exams are scored immediately and examinees will receive a report before they leave the testing center confirming whether or not they have received a passing score.  This report is not considered official issuance of PATH Intl. CTRI certification. PATH Intl. will formally issue CTRI certification to candidates within 45 days of successful completion of the certification exam. The report provides diagnostic information about the candidate’s performance in each of the 5 content areas. The content areas will be described as “Needs Review”, “Competent” or “Mastered”. Because the content areas are broken down into smaller sections, the difference between “needs review” and “mastered” can be a relatively small number of items for areas of the exam that do not have as many questions as others. As diagnostic data is reported in smaller sections, it becomes more difficult to make accurate inferences regarding your score and performance. Consequently, the diagnostic information is provided largely to serve as a guide of where to focus future exam preparation for candidates who need to re-take the exam.  For passing candidates, it can be informative for the areas of the exam they excelled at but is otherwise not intended for other uses or inferences.
  • Candidates who receive non-passing scores may retake the exam once per testing window while in possession of a valid Authorization to Test letter. The full certification exam fee must be remitted before the candidate will be permitted to register for a retake. A maximum of 5 exam attempts are possible during the one-year validity term of Authorization to Test letters.
    Pass rates:

    2020: 100% pass rate for 19 exams administered

    2021: 97.8% pass rate for 136 exams administered

    2022: 76.7% pass rate for 249 exams administered

    2023: 67.3% pass rate for 318 exams administered

    2024 (as of May 19, 2024): 64.4% pass rate for 149 exams administered
    Total number of examinees (as of May 19, 2024): 769

    Total number of instructors certified through the CTRI certification process (as of May 19, 2024): 658

PATH Intl. uses scaled scoring to report candidate scores on the CTRI exam. Scaled scoring allows for conversion of scores from one scale to another. A common example of scaled conversion are the temperature scales of Fahrenheit and Celsius. Freezing occurs at a temperature of 32° on the Fahrenheit scale, but on the Celsius scale freezing occurs at the temperature of 0°. This does not mean that there are two different freezing points, there are just two different ways of reporting it.

Certification Bodies often use scaled scores to report candidate scores because the passing percentage (or the number of test questions) that a candidate must answer correctly to pass may change as the certification exam develops over time. Evolution of an exam can mean that the difficulty of exam questions changes over the course of exam development. Therefore, it would not be fair if candidates testing in some years had to obtain an 80% to pass an exam comprised of less difficult questions while candidates testing in other years had to obtain an 80% to pass an exam comprised of higher difficulty questions. As a result, PATH Intl. conducts passing score studies for each version of the exam that is developed to ensure that the passing percentage is adjusted, or scaled, to account for differences in exam difficulty. Consider the following graphic:

There are three scales shown above. The raw score scale indicates the actual number of questions that the candidate must answer correctly to pass the exam. The percentage scale shows the raw score converted to a percentage of the exam that the candidate must answer correctly to pass the exam. Finally, the scaled score scale shows how the raw score and percentage score are converted to another number as a gauge of competent knowledge. For example, suppose a candidate must answer 64 of 80 test items correctly to pass the exam. This converts to a percentage score of 80%. PATH Intl. would scale that number to 250 for the candidate’s exam report. Every score above and below the passing score would also be scaled similarly.
To pass the CTRI exam, candidates must obtain a scaled score of 250. The actual passing score (raw score and percent score) was determined via a passing score study conducted on a single version of the exam. Passing score studies look at the characteristics (such as the difficulty of the test questions) of a specific version of the exam and use the methodologies of Angoff and Hofstee to determine the point at which a group of qualified subject matter experts feel a point higher would represent more than competent knowledge and a point lower would represent a lack of competent knowledge. Subsequent versions of the certification exam are always statistically equated to the previous version and the raw scores required to pass are adjusted as necessary.

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International® and Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI)® are PATH Intl. registered trademarks and may not be used without PATH Intl. permission. Use of the PATH Intl. CTRI certification mark is restricted to professionals holding CTRI certification in good standing. “Good standing” means that the certified professional has demonstrated adherence to the two-year renewal cycle and is actively maintaining their certification per the requirements defined on the PATH Intl. website. Professionals must cease use of the PATH Intl. CTRI certification mark if and when their certification is no longer in good standing. Professionals found to be in breach of this policy will receive cease and desist notices from PATH Intl.Disciplinary proceedings may be initiated if professionals not in good standing continue to use the CTRI certification mark following issuance of cease and desist notifications.

PATH Intl. CTRI Candidate Handbook

Part III Video Preparation and Self-Assessment Activity

PATH Intl. Certified Professional Code of Ethics

PATH Intl. CTRI Application Paperwork Tutorial

CTRI Application Purchase and Submission Tutorial

Submitting Your Application

Glossary of Terms

Build on your foundation

Advanced Riding Instructor Certification​

A PATH Intl. Certified Advanced Therapeutic Riding Instructor must demonstrate riding and teaching ability, knowledge, and, above all, safety while teaching equine centered lessons to all abilities. A PATH Intl. Advanced Therapeutic Riding Instructor is able to conduct an effective, safe equestrian lesson and demonstrate instruction that shows progression of riding skills for riders of all physical, cognitive and riding abilities.


Master Riding Instructor Certification​​

PATH Intl. Master Instructors have a strong background in horsemanship, teaching and a thorough knowledge of a variety of physical, cognitive, intellectual and emotional disabilities and their relationship to therapeutic riding and other equine- assisted activities and therapies. They have the ability to step into any instruction situation in the field of equine-assisted activities and take charge effectively, with the support of the operating center. They are also capable of training other therapeutic riding instructors. PATH Intl.

Master Riding Instructor Certification is the highest level an instructor can achieve through PATH Intl. This program is designed for those instructors with career involvement in therapeutic riding and other equine-assisted activities and therapies. PATH Intl. Master Instructors are looked upon as role models and subject matter experts in the industry.

PATH Intl. Master instructors embody the mission and vision of PATH Intl. and promote dignity of the entire therapeutic horsemanship team.