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International Conversations on Equine-Assisted Services: The 17th Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International (HETI) Conference

Denver–The 17th Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International (HETI) conference was held this year in South Korea, and PATH Intl. CEO Kathy Alm was honored to be the guest of Yun-Hee Kim, president of the Korea Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, and Woo Nam Kim, CEO of the Korea Racing Authority.

At the conference, 909 attendees participated in person and virtually from 37 countries. Presentation topics ranged from equine welfare to specific services such as psychotherapy and physical therapy, to types of disabilities and diagnoses. Presenters were from around the world, bringing the research and experience from their individual countries. Several of the virtual presenters and panelists (and two other in-person presenters) were PATH Intl. members or from the United States. On behalf of PATH Intl., Alm presented on the optimal terminology published paper followed by a panel discussion.

As PATH Intl. experienced from the process in the United States to come to consensus on optimal terminology, it is a complicated issue, even more so when looked at through the perspectives of different countries, with different cultures and, historically, different usage of terminology. Collectively, the possibility of everyone in the world using exactly the same terms and definitions is not very realistic. However, it was also recognized that the area most negatively affected from an international perspective is research. Without some way to compare and group published research, the impact of the studies proving the efficacy of equine-assisted services is diminished. The conversations will continue on an international level, working to address how organizations such as PATH Intl. can best support the various terminology utilized around the world while making research more accessible and comparable.

Alm said, “Attending an international conference is a good reminder that no matter the country in which you live, no matter the language(s) you speak, providers of equine-assisted services are universally dedicated to bringing equines and people together in ways that … bring joy to everyone involved.”

About PATH Intl.:

The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International® (PATH Intl.®) was formed in 1969 to promote safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted services (EAS) for individuals with special needs. At nearly 750 member centers, more than 66,000 children and adults, including 6,200 veterans, may find improved health, wellness and a sense of pride, independence and fun through involvement with horses. Therapeutic horsemanship at member centers may include hippotherapy, equine-facilitated mental health, driving, interactive vaulting, trail riding, competition, groundwork and stable management. Through a wide variety of educational resources, the association helps individuals start and maintain successful EAS programs. There are nearly 62,500 volunteers, 5,011 instructors, 7,800 equines and thousands of contributors from all over the world helping people at PATH Intl. Member Centers.