Skip to content

Equine-Assisted Learning

Facilitate experiential learning  incorporating equines to promote the development of life skills for educational, professional or personal goals.

EQUINE-ASSISTED LEARNING (EAL) is the broad area of learning incorporating equines. Specially trained or certified professionals may offer three distinct nontherapy, EAL services: equine-assisted learning in education, equine-assisted learning in organizations, and equine-assisted learning in personal development. Whether as individuals or in teams, qualified professionals possess appropriate training, experience, and skill to facilitate EAL activities that provide an environment integrating equine-human interaction, supported by a planned learning experience, to meet identified goals for the participant. EAL participants are exposed to activities that can promote the discovery of critical life skills such as healthy decision making and problem solving, creative and critical thinking, self-awareness and empathy, communication and interpersonal skills, and coping with emotions and stress.

Learning professionals such as teachers, coaches, life coaches, wellness coaches and organizational/leadership development professionals can become credentialed EAL facilitators through PATH Intl. by earning microcredentials in the EAL specialty service areas of education, organizations, professional development and/or mounted EAL. Professionals who achieve microcredentials in all four specialty areas will be granted PATH Intl. Master EAL Facilitator certification. 

Credentialed PATH Intl. EAL Facilitators leverage experiential learning activities involving interactions with equines, mounted and unmounted activities, and the equine environment to optimize the learner’s experience. Credentialed PATH Intl. EAL Facilitators also demonstrate knowledge of equine behavior and handling, human/equine relationships, and design of experiential learning activities involving equines.

What is the Equine-Assisted Learning Course?

As of June 1, 2023, PATH Intl. offers online training and a certificate program for professionals in equine-assisted services wishing to obtain specific training and recognition for competent facilitation of EAL sessions.

A collaboration between PATH Intl. and Strides to Success, a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center, the Fundamentals of Equine-Assisted Learning course is the first step in completing the PATH Intl. Equine-Assisted Learning Certificate program. Learn more about the online course here.

Price for PATH Intl. members: $425

Price for non-members: $499

Upcoming Courses:
  • January 2, 2024, through April 2, 2024
    Course Full
  • March 1, 2024, through May 31, 2024
    Course Full, no waitlist available
  • May 1, 2024, through July 31, 2024
    Course Full, waitlist full
  • June 1, 2024, through August 31, 2024
    Course Full, waitlist full
  • August 1, 2024, through October 31, 2024
    Registration will open June 1, 2024
  • September 1, 2024, through November 30, 2024
    Registration will open July 1, 2024
  • October 1, 2024, through January 14, 2024
    Registration will open August 1, 202

Each course is limited to 15 participants. Once a course is filled, it will no longer appear in the online store.

NOTE: Completion of the online course and certificate program does not constitute a certification in EAL. Individuals who complete the certificate program, however, will become eligible to pursue certification as a PATH Intl. Equine-Assisted Learning Facilitator by establishing microcredentials in one or all of the EAL specialties. The specialties include education, personal development, organizations and mounted EAL.

PATH Intl. EAL Credentials

PATH Intl. offers four EAL facilitator microcredentials:

Steps to become a credentialed PATH Intl. EAL Facilitator:

Complete the Fundamentals of EAL certificate program.

This program requires:

  • Completion of a 13-week online facilitated course on the fundamental principles of EAL within the framework of PATH Intl. Standards. Learners are expected to complete one module of the course per week.
  • Documentation of 60 clock hours of facilitation practice in EAL, including a minimum of 30 hours of group facilitation and 30 hours of one-on-one facilitation and at least 20 hours must be conducted AFTER completion of the online course.

Submit an application and portfolio to fulfill requirements for the microcredential of your choice. Each microcredential requires a separate application and portfolio submission. (See application booklets to learn more about the expectations of facilitators for each speciality.)

Allow 60 days for each portfolio to be reviewed.

Receive notification from PATH Intl. confirming either that your portfolio has been accepted OR additional documentation will be needed to meet requirements.

NOTE: This is not a pass/fail situation! You will receive specific feedback on any insufficiencies found in your portfolio materials and will have the opportunity to resubmit new documentation for the portfolio components found to be insufficient. Reapplication fees will apply.

Proudly share your microcredential!

Earn microcredentials in all four specialty areas to be granted PATH Intl. Master EAL Facilitator certification!

What is the “PATH Intl. Fundamentals of EAL” online course?

How can I sign up for the PATH Intl. Fundamentals of EAL online course? Visit the PATH Intl. store and search “EAL” or click here to view available courses. Each facilitated course is capped at 15 participants. Once a course is full, it will no longer appear in the store. If you see no available courses, sit tight and keep an eye on the PATH Intl. Education eNews—more courses will be on the way!


What is the PATH Intl. Fundamentals of EAL online course? The Fundamentals of Equine-Assisted Learning course is comprised of 13 modules of guided education, activities, equine challenges, handouts and comprehension quizzes on the primary skills, known as core competencies, required to successfully and optimally facilitate EAL sessions. Each course is facilitated by a dedicated faculty member over a 13-week period. The faculty member does regular check-ins to make sure that participants are moving through the course at a pace of one module per week and will also prompt discussion among the group. Course participants will also be enrolled in the EAL Course group on PATH Intl.’s Member Connections platform, through which they are encouraged to network and discuss their EAL activities/programs. After the completion of this course, the learner will be able to:
  1. Facilitate a general EAL session alone or with a certified equine specialist as a co-facilitator, such as a PATH Intl. ESMHL.
  2. Identify appropriate participants and equine for participation in an EAL session.
  3. Design an EAL session using the COASTER model.
  4. Safely and effectively facilitate an EAL session using the COASTER model.
  5. Demonstrate the strategies for the safety of both the client and the equine in an EAL session.
  6. Understand the scope of practice for an EAL professional and when/how to refer a participant to a mental health professional.
Completion of the online course followed by documentation of 60 clock hours of EAL facilitation will result in issuance of a Fundamentals of EAL certificate. Certificate holders become eligible to pursue PATH Intl. Equine-Assisted Learning Facilitator microcredentials.

PATH Intl. EAL Facilitator Skill Areas By Specialty

(Based on the PATH Intl. Core Competencies for Equine-Assisted Learning est. 2015)


Equine-assisted learning in education engages people of all ages in learning processes that focus on academic skills, character development, and the promotion of relevant life skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking skills.


  1. Types of education
  2. How partnering with equines can meet academic standards
  3. The modern-day needs of young and adult learners
  4. Academic readiness
  5. Scope of Practice
  1. Educational leadership
  2. Funding
  3. Assessing needs
  4. Designing experiences
  5. IEP’s, 504 plans, how interaction with equines can be a part of these plans
  6. FERPA compliance within a school setting
  1. Reporting back to the schools
  2. Special considerations
  3. Strategies for working with school and academic goals
  4. Sample activities
  5. Evaluating outcomes
  1. How equine interaction meets the needs of vulnerable students
  2. Strategies for working with students at risk
  3. Sample activities to teach character development, academic and academic-readiness skills
  4. Strategies for working with teachers and their role in the process
  1. Ethical rapport
  2. Equine welfare and safety

Equine-assisted learning in organizations assists members of corporations, organizations, and other workgroups in building effective teams and leaders that enhance work dynamics and performance at multiple organizational levels.


  1. Types of work: consulting, coaching, team building, executive coaching
  2. Change management in organizations
  3. Teams and team building
  4. Leadership
  5. The needs of modern-day employees and executives to be successful at work
  6. Scope of Practice
  1. Managing conflict
  2. Increasing the level of interpersonal trust among employees
  3. Increasing the level of satisfaction and commitment of employees
  4. Increasing employee collaboration and cooperation
  5. Increasing organizational problem-solving
  6. Implementing processes that will improve ongoing organizational operations
  1. Organizational assessment
  2. Ground interaction
  3. Lesson planning and documentation
  4. Finding funding
  1. Assessment of organization’s needs
  2. Designing one time or multi-visit experiences
  3. Evaluating outcomes
  4. Reporting back to the organizations
  5. Special considerations when working with corporate clients
  6. Strategies for working with corporate groups
  7. Sample activities to teach leadership skills, teamwork, communication, and conflict resolution
  1. Ethical rapport
  2. Equine welfare and safety

Equine-assisted learning in personal development assists individuals and groups in discovering new ways to face life’s challenges and opportunities by developing skills in effective problem-solving, decision-making, critical and creative thinking, and communication.


  1. Types of work: consulting, coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching
  2. Transactional Theory or other theories of human change
  3. Self-determination and self-efficacy
  4. Advanced facilitation skills for specific populations
  5. Scope of practice
  1. Appreciative Inquiry or other theories
  2. Empathetic non-violent communication
  3. Skillful reflection skills
  4. Empathetic listening
  1. Goal setting
  2. Visioning
  3. Exploring personal strengths
  4. Defining personal success
  5. Holding clients accountable to their goals
  6. How to overcome barriers
  7. Mindfulness and change
  1. Assessment of client’s needs
  2. Ground interaction
  3. Mounted interaction
  4. Lesson/session planning and documentation
  5. Finding funding
  6. Considerations for special populations
  1. Ethical rapport
  2. Equine welfare and safety

Mounted equine-assisted learning utilizes mounted activities to further facilitate engagement in learning processes.


  1. Types of mounted activities: arena work, trail rides, competition
  2. How partnering with equines can meet personal goals
  3. Self-confidence and autonomy
  4. Scope of practice
  5. Advanced riding skills for specific populations
  1. Correction and feedback
  2. Specific praise
  3. Whats, hows and whys of riding skills
  4. Empathetic listening
  1. Halt to walk transitions
  2. Walk to trot/jog transitions
  3. Trot/jog to walk transitions
  4. Walk to halt transitions
  5. Trot/jog to halt transitions
  6. Safe mounting and dismounting techniques
  7. Emergency dismounts
  8. Goal setting
  9. Holding clients accountable to their goals
  10. How to overcome fear responses
  1. Assessment for appropriateness of mounted activities
  2. Ground interaction
  3. Mounted interaction
  4. Lesson planning and documentation
  5. Finding funding
  6. Considerations for special populations
  7. Precautions and contraindications for riding activities
  1. Ethical rapport
  2. Equine welfare and safety


Yes. Even if you hold a previous PATH Intl. or non-PATH Intl. credential, completion of the PATH Intl. Fundamentals of EAL certificate program is mandatory in order to pursue any of the PATH Intl. EAL Facilitator microcredentials.

Candidates can earn PATH Intl. EAL facilitator microcredentials for any or all of the following EAL specialty areas: education, organizations, personal development and mounted activities. Microcredentials can be earned one at a time and “stacked” as candidates expand their skill sets and establish additional competencies.

In the professional credentialing field, a microcredential is the recognition awarded to an individual who has demonstrated competency of a highly focused scope of knowledge, skills and abilities. Microcredentials, in general, offer a targeted way for professionals to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities they need for their professional development. EAL is such a broad area of EAS that  many professionals choose to provide services related to only one sector of EAL. PATH Intl. offers EAL Facilitator microcredentials for the separate service areas in order to recognize professionals for the specific competencies they possess. The microcredential structure allows professionals to customize their qualifications based on the EAL services they choose to provide, rather than requiring them to learn about and demonstrate competency in areas of EAL which do not interest them, or they do not intend to provide services in. Microcredentials also allow for expedient recognition of professionals as their competencies expand.

Yes. You can count previous PATH Intl. and non-PATH Intl. credentials you have earned towards EAL facilitator microcredential requirements. Review the list of training courses from approved providers to confirm what they can be counted for and complete the prior credit application.

You can choose from any of the approved providers listed on the PATH Intl. website to complete the requirements for your PATH Intl. EAL facilitator microcredential(s).

Once a professional has achieved all four PATH Intl. EAL facilitator microcredentials, they will automatically earn PATH Intl. Master Equine-Assisted Learning Facilitator certification.

There are no renewal requirements for PATH Intl. EAL facilitator microcredentials. Microcredentials recognize demonstrated competency of a highly focused scope of knowledge, skills and abilities have been effectively achieved. For this reason, microcredentials do not necessarily represent ongoing professional development and so do not require ongoing maintenance.

PATH Intl. Master EAL Facilitator certification will be required to be maintained alongside any other PATH Intl. certifications the professional holds. PATH Intl. Master EAL Facilitators will be required to submit 2 hours of core requirement activities, per year, applicable to EAL facilitation techniques in addition to other standard certification maintenance requirements.

I belong to PATH Intl. because PATH Intl. Centers offer tremendous benefits for many special needs, and it's an excellent educational resource.

Judi Nelson

Contact us

Questions? We’ll help you find answers.

Whether you have a question, a problem, an issue or just want to say “great job,” we’re here for you! Reach out and let us know what’s on your mind.