Higher Ed Membership

PATH-Intl-higher-ed-logo-smWhat to Know About the PATH Intl. Higher Education Membership

PATH Intl. has an exciting membership for educational institutions that offer education in equine-assisted activities and therapies.

PATH Intl. was founded in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association to promote safe and effective therapeutic horseback riding throughout the United States and Canada. Today, PATH Intl. has over 850 member centers and over 7,300 individual members in countries all over the world who help and support more than 58,000 children and adults with special needs each year through a variety of equine-assisted activity and therapy (EAAT) programs.

The PATH Intl. Higher Education membership offers a flexible membership to meet the needs of a variety of universities and colleges. Depending on your institution’s student needs and profile there are a variety of ways to take advantage of this excellent opportunity. By joining PATH Intl., your students have access to not only exceptional educational resources but also a solid base for networking and success in the equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) industry. In addition, your institution has access to the resources needed to offer PATH Intl. Therapeutic Riding Instructor Certification at the registered and advanced level.

PATH Intl. is constantly seeking to expand and improve its programs and membership which it has done with astonishing success over the past 40 years. Still, PATH Intl. continues to seek new ways to practice and promote EAAT.

As a participating university or college you have the benefits of national recognition and a story for student recruitment, national networking and advertising opportunities and most importantly the opportunity to increase your graduate’s employment opportunities.

Ways Colleges and Universities Can Incorporate Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies Into Their Programs

  • Equine-assisted activities and therapies introductory courses
  • Courses that meet the education requirements for the PATH Intl. Therapeutic Riding Instructor Certification
  • PATH Intl. Therapeutic Riding Instructor Certification as part of the program
  • Equine-Assisted Learning
  • Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy
  • Hippotherapy
  • Research in the equine-assisted activities and therapies field
  • Hands-on practicums with equines

Offering Hands-on EAAT Experience

Many institutions have an equine facility as part of their campus and in many cases it is utilized as part of the equine science or equine studies program.  Incorporating EAAT programs or research at the equine facility allows students to gain valuable hands-on experience.

If the institution does not have an on-campus equine facility, students can obtain hands-on experience if the institution partners with a PATH Intl. Member Center.  PATH Intl. Member Centers offer a variety of EAAT programs and professionals working in the EAAT industry.

For more information about the PATH Intl. Higher Education Membership please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call her at (800) 369-7433 ext. 103.

Center Requirements for Working With Higher Education Students

Whether the institution has an on-campus equine facility or partners with a PATH Intl. Member Center the facility must meet all of the center requirements when students are participating in hands-on EAAT at that location.  A center program must be able to provide a safe facility, therapeutic riding instructors, equines, equipment, volunteers and participants.

A full list of the center requirements can be found in the PATH Intl. Higher Education Application packet.  

A list of equipment needed to conduct a therapeutic riding session can be found in the PATH Intl. Higher Education Resources packet.

A Memorandum of Understanding

It is recommended that institutions working with a PATH Intl. Member Center complete a Memorandum of Understanding.
A Memorandum of Understanding is an agreement between the PATH Intl. Member Center and the university. This agreement represents the interest in and support of therapeutic riding at the highest level.  This agreement designates the responsibilities of both parties and an understanding that by working together each party will provide a high level of educational experiences for the institution’s students.  An example can be found in the PATH Intl. Higher Education Resources packet.


Equine-assisted activities and therapies education offered will vary on the institution’s curriculum and degree programs.  Some institutions will offer one course in EAAT while others may offer an undergraduate degree in therapeutic riding.  Suggested departments and courses where EAAT education may be offered and suggest reference materials for EAAT can be found in the PATH Intl. Higher Education Resources packet.


Institutions are able to incorporate PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification as part of their curriculum or degree program.  There are two levels of therapeutic riding instructor certification available to higher education members and their students, registered and advanced.  PATH Intl. offers other certifications but these are not available to institutions at this time.  

Registered level:  The register level instructor prepares students to become safe, knowledgeable, and effective therapeutic riding instructors.  A PATH Intl. registered instructor must be competent in basic levels of equine management, horsemanship, riding instruction, teaching methodologies and disabilities. Click here for the PATH Intl. Higher Education Registered Level Certification Criteria packet.

Advanced level:  A PATH Intl. Advanced Level Certified Instructor is knowledgeable in horsemanship and understands disabilities and the relationship to therapeutic riding. This instructor is able to conduct safe, challenging and therapeutically effective lessons to individuals with disabilities. He/she is able to demonstrate instruction that shows progression in riding skills in safe, challenging lessons.  Click here for the PATH Intl. Higher Education Advanced Level Certification Criteria packet.

Types of courses or suggestions for courses that meet PATH Intl. certification needs:  

  • Equine Courses
  • Equine Science
  • Safety and Handling/Understanding the horse
  • Equine Psychology/Behavior/Communication
  • Training/Natural Horsemanship/Theories of Training 
  • Equine & Stable Management (history, breeds, care, diseases, tack, etc.)
  • Facility Design and Development
  • Equitation (several skill levels)
  • Historical Perspectives of the Horse-Human Relationship
  • Animal Behavior 


More information about PATH Intl. certification at the registered and advanced levels can be found on the certification page.




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