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Need the definitions of all those acronyms and unfamiliar words? Find them here! For a full glossary, including medical terms, see the PATH Intl. Standards for Certification and Accreditation.

Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law in 1990, which provided the world’s first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities.

American Society for Testing and Materials, an organization that helps establish standards for various items, including components of helmets (see SEI)

A voluntary, entry-level credential for individuals in the equine-assisted services (EAS) profession who provide riding instruction and 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.     

A general description inclusive of horses, ponies, mules, donkeys or miniature horses

Activities that are facilitated by equine professionals and may provide opportunities for participants to experience therapeutic benefits.    

The diverse range of services in which professionals incorporate horses to benefit people. This term is intentionally plural and should NOT be reduced to its singular form. See guidelines here.

An area of non-therapy services comprised of equine-assisted learning in education, equine-assisted learning in organizations, and equine-assisted learning in personal development. Specially trained or certified professionals provide these services.

Therapy is provided by licensed medical or behavioral health professionals working within their scope of practice in counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychotherapy, recreational therapy and speechlanguage pathology. The therapist determines how equine interactions, movement or aspects of the equine environment may enhance the client’s individualized treatment plan with the goals of improving the client’s sensorimotor, cognitive, behavioral, emotional or psychological function for improved health and wellness. Best practice dictates the therapy professionals obtain specialized training focused on the safe inclusion of horses in treatment. 


The horse handler who ensures the safety and well-being of the PATH Intl. center equine and all participants in therapy sessions, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, counseling, psychotherapy and recreational therapy. as well as equine-assisted learning.

Equine-assisted services that engage participants in horsemanship activities, movements around, on, and off the equine or barrel and gymnastics positions and movements on the back of the equine.

This is held between a PATH International Center and a Higher Education Institute, and explains and defines what is required of both parties.

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. The Intl. is always used with a period and never an apostrophe. PATH is always capitalized.

Safety Equipment Institute, an organization that tests and certifies safety and protective equipment, including equestrian protective headgear (see ASTM)

Services that are specifically focused on adapting groundwork and riding experiences to be accessible to individuals and groups with diverse needs. Provided by specially trained and certified equine professionals, therapeutic/adaptive horsemanship helps participants attain individualized horsemanship skills and experience many naturally healthful benefits of horseback riding and other horsemanship activities