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Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Code of Ethics

Reviewed and Approved by PATH Intl. Board of Trustees 01/22/2024


The PATH Intl. Code of Ethics sets forth ethical principles for all PATH Intl. members which includes individuals and centers and is binding on all staff. Center personnel are obligated to ensure all staff, professionals, and volunteers comply with this code. While each of the following codes will apply to all members, the applicability of each code may be determined by the role of the member and the setting.

The practice and preservation of the highest standards of ethical principles and integrity are vital for the responsible implementation of obligations, activities and services provided by PATH Intl. members and centers. All members and centers are responsible for maintaining and promoting these ethical practices.

The PATH Intl. Code of Ethics is intended to promote and maintain the highest standards of ethical practice, personal behavior and professional integrity. The Code centers diversity, equity, inclusion, and access for all as a vital practice of all members. The guidelines expressed in the code are not to be considered all-inclusive of situations that could evolve under a specific principle, nor is the failure to specify any particular responsibility or practice a denial of the existence of such responsibilities or practices. The guidelines are specific statements of minimally acceptable conduct or of prohibitions applicable to all members and centers. The PATH Intl. Code of Ethics is designed to be appended to such other codes as may be applicable (such as: medicine, psychology, nursing, social work, etc.).

In recognition of the responsibility inherent in the delivery of equine-assisted services, PATH Intl. asks all members and center personnel to subscribe to the following to the extent permitted by law:

Principle 1

The member respects the rights, dignity and well-being of all individuals (human and equine) and promotes well-being for all involved.


1.1 The member shall promote a holistic awareness of body, mind and spirit in equine-assisted services for all involved.

1.2 The member shall be responsive to, and mutually supportive of, the individuals served including families, colleagues and associates.

1.3 The member shall recognize and respect the unique nature of each individual and shall be tolerant of, and responsive to, differences. The member shall not discriminate based on age, gender expression, race, nationality, religion, ethnicity, social or economic status, sexual orientation, health condition.

1.4 The member shall follow equal employment opportunity practices in hiring, assigning, promoting, discharging and compensating staff in accordance with applicable law.

1.5 The member shall maintain in professional confidence participant, volunteer, and staff information, observations or evaluations and shall adhere to all legal requirements.

1.6 The member, in community settings, shall use caution in forming dual or multiple relationships with participants or former participants where there is a risk of a conflict of interest. The member, in clinical treatment settings, shall avoid dual relationships when possible in situations where dual relationships are unavoidable, the member shall be responsible for setting clear, appropriate and sensitive boundaries.

1.7 The member will understand the sensitive nature of physical touch and respect bodily autonomy.

Principle 2

The member accepts responsibility for the exercise of sound judgment and professional competence.


2.1 The member shall accurately represent their level of expertise, experience, education and practice, and provide service only to those individuals they can competently serve.

2.2 The member shall engage in accessible, equitable, inclusive and sound business, employment and administrative practices.

2.3 The member shall engage in continued personal growth, by consistently seeking education in professional skill development. As part of this, DEIA education to learn about implicit bias is highly recommended.

2.4 The member shall recognize and take appropriate action to remedy personal problems and limitations that might cause harm to recipients of service, colleagues or others.

2.5 The member shall demonstrate equity and inclusivity by demonstrating awareness of biases towards interacting with individuals in an impartial manner.

2.6 The member shall accept responsibility for the exercise of sound judgment when interacting with individuals and animals.

2.7 The member shall demonstrate openness to, and respect for, other colleagues and professionals.

Principle 3

The member shall respect the well-being of program equines and animals whether owned, leased or borrowed.


3.1 The member shall recognize and respect the individual character, nature, and physical attributes of each equine.

3.2 The member shall encourage safe and respectful human and equine interactions, placing equines in activities suited to their temperament and physical ability.

3.3 The member shall support the highest standard of care, maintenance and selection for each program equine, understanding and responding to the equine’s need for socialization, play, turnout, time off and retirement.

3.4 When equines are borrowed or leased, the same high standards of equine respect, care and maintenance apply.

3.5 The member shall cultivate a barn and practice environment that supports personal and professional development and is compliant with PATH Intl. standards.

Principle 4

The member shall be honest and  in representing themselves and other members or centers.


4.1 The member shall be responsible for providing each participant with accurate information regarding programs, services, professional training and credentials, as well as possible benefits, outcomes, expected activities, risks and limitations of the service or program.

4.2 The member shall meet commitments to participants, colleagues, equines, agencies, the equine- assisted services community and the community at large.

4.3 The member shall use the PATH Intl. logo only in accordance with the PATH Intl. brand policy.

Principle 5

The member shall seek to expand their knowledge base related to the field of equine-assisted services.


5.1 The member shall maintain a high level of professional competence by continued participation in educational activities that enhance basic knowledge and provide new knowledge.

5.2 The member shall support the sharing and dissemination of information, the provision of training and conducting of research for the benefit of the profession.

5.3 The member shall demonstrate commitment to quality assurance. The member in clinical treatment settings shall engage in providing and receiving individual or peer supervision and/or staffing consultation on a regular basis.

Principle 6

The member shall honor all financial commitments to participants, personnel, vendors, donors, PATH Intl. and others.


6.1 The member shall negotiate and clarify the fee structure and payment policy prior to the initiation of service and charge in a responsible and reasonable manner.

6.2 The member shall not misrepresent in any fashion services rendered or products dispensed.

6.3 The member shall be honest and transparent in representing itself in fundraising activities.

6.4 The member shall honor all debt obligations.

6.5 The member shall maintain a PATH Intl. membership and pay the appropriate fee as determined by the Board of Trustees. Instructors shall remain in good standing with the annual compliance process for instructors

Principle 7

The member shall practice and maintain good-standing by PATH Intl. standards and guidelines and all state, local and federal laws.

Principle 8

The member supports PATH Intl. in its efforts to protect participants, equines, the public and the profession from unethical, incompetent or illegal practice.


8.1 The member shall present the PATH Intl. Code of Ethics in an accessible format to all staff and personnel, outlining their collective obligation to support it and address any questions or concerns.

8.2 The member accepts the responsibility to discuss suspect unethical behavior directly with the parties involved and, if unresolved, to report unethical, incompetent or illegal acts to PATH Intl.