National - General

Click here to register2020 PATH Intl. Conference Re-imagined Webinar Series

Registration Is Open for the October Disabilities Webinar Series!

Prefer to register by hard copy?
Click here for the fillable form,
then return by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To carry on with making valuable education available to members that we’d originally planned for the PATH Intl. Conference, this year PATH Intl. will provide three different webinar series through fall and winter. Each series will feature a unique area of focus and will be presented by the experts whose abstracts were chosen for the international conference! The choice of series will include program (September), disability (October), and administrative (January). Each five-week series will include one webinar per week and require no travel!

Member discount price: Only $149 for each full five-session series!
Standard price: $199

October Disabilities Series Presentations

Cerebral Palsy: A Refresher and the Value of Adaptive Riding, Carol Hobbs, PT - 

10/14/2020 1:00pm MST, 1.5 DE

Welcome to a brief refresher course on cerebral palsy! This webinar will cover some of the motor effects in our clients and the most beneficial interventions—including, of course, adaptive riding. The majority of the time will be spent in lecture based on literature review and professional experience, but there will also be a bit of time to work in small groups comparing and contrasting two different clients with cerebral palsy and the best interventions for each of them.

Learning Objectives:

1) List three effects of cerebral palsy on the child.
2) Describe, in broad terms, the normal motor development of a child.
3) Provide three treatment strategies for the client with cerebral palsy, including the expected benefits of each.

Biography: Carol Hobbs, PT, has been a practicing physical therapist since 1985 and spent three years in the pediatric sector. She has been adjunct faculty at a local university since 2015.  

Horses and Education as Arthritis Therapy (HEAT Study), Dr. Sharon White-Lewis, RN

10/20/2020, 1:00PM MST, 1 DE

The quality of life for adults and older adults is negatively impacted by arthritis pain, stiffness, and decreased function. Equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) provides unique movements to the rider’s joints and muscles, improving pain, range of motion and quality of life and has improved outcomes in balance, gait, strength, functional mobility and spasticity for older adults, stroke, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis patients. This study measured the effects on patient’s joints, pain, quality of life, muscle and cartilage before and after either arthritis education or EAAT. This new and innovative treatment for arthritis has much promise.

Learning Objectives:

1) Learners will analyze how EAAT improves pain, range of motion and quality of life for arthritis sufferers.
2) Learners will describe the challenges in biomarker evidence associated with arthritis research.
3) Learners will describe the mechanisms associated with physical and psychological improvements from EAAT in arthritic adults.

Dr. Sharon White-Lewis has been a funded researcher for over 20 years with a recent focus on equine-assisted therapy research for arthritic adults. She is a licensed healthcare worker who now conducts university-supported research. She has published this study, a concept analysis of horses as healers, and a systematic review of EAAT targeting physical symptoms in adults. All publications are in peer review papers. Currently, Sharon is collaborating with eight countries to continue with a fully powered research study based on this original arthritis study.

Risk Assessment and Response for Equine-Assisted Therapy Professionals, Dr. G Thomas Manzione, LPC, BCPC, CAC III, NCAC II, ESMHL; and Jaclyn Manzione, MS

10/30/2020 1:00PM MST, 1 DE

Equine specialists in mental health and learning professionals, along with other certified professionals, will be informed as to how to assess mental health clients for potential risks relating to participation in equine-assisted therapy sessions and explore appropriate responses to occurring escalating behavior and crisis. General information regarding constructive ways of relating to those dealing with a major mental illness will be offered. Specifics to those with personality disorders will be presented.

Learning Objectives:

1) Learn how to assess a mental health client (before, during, after) for potential risks relating to their participation in equine assisted psychotherapy.
2) Learn how to appropriately respond to escalating behavior and crisis.
3) Learn about the personality disorders as represented in the DSM-V and speak to the safety concerns for both the client and the equine in this diagnostic category.

Dr. G Thomas Manzione holds a PhD degree and is a certified PATH Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, a licensed (LPC) and certified (CAC III) behavioral health care professional in Colorado with over 25 years of experience as both a psychotherapist and chief administrator for various mental health organizations. Their clinical background includes treating adolescents, adults and families challenged by a variety of psychosocial and mental health issues. They are known for their work with both forensic clients and clients with co-occurring disorders.
Jaclyn Manzione has a master’s degree and is a PATH Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, a certified Equine Gestalt Coaching Method practitioner and a registered psychotherapist (NLC) in the State of Colorado. They provide professional equine-assisted coaching to clients of a nonprofit organization serving homeless, displaced youth in crisis. They are the scientists who conducted a recent research project that examined the relationship between a specific equine-assisted psychotherapy method used and changes that occurred in the feelings and emotions of their clients. 

Behavior: What’s the Function? Dr. Andrea L. Suk

11/2/2020 9:00AM MST, 1.5 DE

Are you seeking additional strategies to help your EAAT participants become more independent? Do you wonder how participant behavior is affected by the environment and people around them? Is your praise to EAAT participants really effective? Andrea Suk will present on a variety of specific behavioral strategies that can be utilized in the EAAT environment. Her presentation will include frequent opportunities to practice strategies in a hands-on learning environment. Reinforcement, praise, chaining, shaping, goal-attainment, preference identification and error correction are just a few examples of what attendees will learn during the session. All reviewed behavioral strategies have been identified as effective for teaching individuals with disabilities to learn new skills and change problem behaviors. Session participants will leave with numerous strategies that can be immediately implemented within the EAAT environment.

Andrea L. Suk joined the Zarrow Center in 2016 as a Doctoral Sooner Scholar. Andrea obtained her bachelor’s degree as a learning behavior specialist from Bradley University. She has taught in both Illinois and Arizona as a high school special education teacher where she also quickly developed the role of preparing students for careers after graduation. Upon completing her master’s degree in transition through the University of Kansas, she became a transition specialist in Texas. During this time, Andrea completed over 150 transition plans for students in both high school and middle school settings. Andrea has received distinct recognition for her leadership as the ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering mentor group for high school students) mentor of the year in Phoenix, the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year (Glendale, Arizona), and is a Target Grant Field Trip recipient.

Teaching Riders With Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and Myalgia, Julie Freeman

12/4/2020 10:00AM MST, 1 DE

Misconceptions about pain can be a major roadblock to effective interventions. Learning how the nervous system experiences pain gives us guidelines for teaching riders who are in pain.

Learning Objectives:

1) Learn the history of chronic pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, myalgia
2) Gain an overview of the nervous system and muscular system
3) Explore four common beliefs about how the nervous system processes pain
4) Receive general teaching guidelines  
5) Set an intention

Julie Freeman is a professional anatomist and is a certified yoga therapist, a board-certified practitioner of complementary and alternative medicine, a licensed massage therapist, certified in reflexology and holds a master of acupressure. As a professional anatomist, PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding and Driving Instructor and yoga therapist, Julie works with equine professionals to help them understand the science of the body, exploring how the body is connected to its parts.

Annual Meeting & Uniform Terminology Consensus Panel

November 6, 2020
Terminology panel at 10:00 a.m. and annual meeting at 11:00

The PATH Intl. Annual Meeting typically held at the international conference will be held virtually November 6 allowing access to all members! The meeting will be preceded by a panel discussion with the EAAT Baseline Definitions Work Group. The annual meeting and panel discussion will be free for all members and registration information will be available soon!

2021 and 2022 Conferences

Please stay tuned for updates as details will follow for the newly reimagined opportunities we'll be presenting for this fall. And save the date for next year's conference when we can all be together again, October 14-16, 2021, in Charlotte, NC, AND St. Louis in fall of 2022!


We have had many wonderful sponsors and exhibitors over the past years. Their participation is what makes it possible to host these fun and educational events and allows us to award scholarships to dozens of deserving attendees. We want to sincerely thank them for their support.

More information will be coming soon about possible exhibitor and sponsor opportunities.


The James Brady Professional Achievement Award recognizes the contributions made to the field of equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT). The award is presented in the name of James Brady to recognize a professional who has made contributions in the creation or development of industry-advancing ideas, initiatives, programs or events, and the winner will demonstrate a sustained and lasting contribution to the EAAT industry, both within and outside of PATH Intl. Click here for criteria and forms. 


Do you know of an outstanding PATH Intl. Instructor or Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, a hardworking volunteer, a dedicated volunteer veterinarian or dependable equine deserving of many carrots and hugs? We want to hear about them! Each year PATH Intl. honors riders, certified professionals, volunteers, volunteer veterinarians, equines and contributing professionals from each region at our awards ceremony—they are, after all, the backbone of and the reason for our incredible organization! 

Nominations for regional award categories (credentialed professional, volunteer, equine, veterinarian) must be submitted by December 1, 2020. This is to ensure that regional winners are notified in time for the 2021 region conferences.

Equestrian of the year awards (child/youth, adult/independent adult and PATH Intl. Equine Services for Heroes) are national awards, and the nomination deadline for this category is May 28, 2021.

Click for nomination forms.

Click here to registerPATH Intl. Conference Re-imagined Webinar Series

Registration Is Open for the JANUARY Administrative Track Webinar Series!

January Administrative Series Presentations

How to Make Social Media an Effective Part of Your Overall Marketing Plan with Tom Tholen

1/7/2021 11:00 am MST, 1 CE

When it's properly managed, social media might be the answer to the age-old marketing challenge of delivering on the "Fast, Cheap and Good" scale. When social media is not properly managed. nightmares of every variety can strike. Learn how major companies are making sure social media can take traditional marketing plans to a whole new level.

Learning Objectives:
Attendees will learn how leading companies integrate social media into their traditional marketing plans. Creating pathways and providing linkage to tools, measurement devices and leading edge techniques ensure attendees will keep pace with a rapidly developing part of marketing outreach. 

Critical Thinking to Direct Your Center's Future with KC Henry

1/12/2020, 9:00 am MST, 1 CE

Everyone thinks we are focusing daily on exactly what we should be doing. However, our instincts, daily pressures and often distorted or uninformed actions can lead our programs to go off track. Learn how Critical Thinking can be a game changer - for fundraising, board function, sustainability, staff teams, volunteers and for students. Shoddy thinking is costly. Excellence can be intentionally cultivated.

Every aspect of your organization needs to be guided by critical thought:
board functioning and development
student progress
volunteer program
center internal and external communications
succession plan
strategic planning
staff and program goals

Attendees will have a chance to vote by show of hands on the area they see as the most challenging issue at their center at this time. We will take that topic (for instance "fund-raising" ) and use it as our model for providing specific examples of how to apply critical thinking process at their center.

Assess to achieve "You will get what you measure."
Change your team's habits!

o Practice mind sharing
o Establish standards
o Work in incremental steps
o Establish clear benchmarks
o Regularly assess your progress and the results
o Ensure accountability

Evaluation of team progress:
o Are we reaching our benchmarks?
o Is it achieving the benchmarks and the desired out comes?
o Do we need to re-direct - a new vision or plan?
o Celebrate success!

Agenda for your Brain sharing meeting:
1. Establish a problem solving team
2. Clearly define the issue
3. List the possible solutions (options)
4. Evaluate the options.
5. Select an option or multiple options.
6. Clarify how to track and evaluate implementation.

In a fast moving world where there is an increasing demand for instant results it is easy to lose sight of the key things that contribute to center success. Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating the thoughts that direct our actions with a view to improving the results. You can perfect this art into all of your daily work - and also make it part of your center's culture. This focus will have a dramatic impact on your program’s future.

How to Develop a Functional Board with Lynn Petr

1/19/2020 11:00 am MST, 1 CE


Succession Planning and Land Transfer: Improve Your Chances for Success! with Boo Martin and Margo Dewkett

1/27/2020 11:00 am - 1:30 pm MST, 1 DE

It is inevitable . . . someday you will leave your leadership position. Beginning with a well-conceived plan, closely monitored execution, and flexibility to adapt to change are the keys to success.

Try not to leave your organization’s future to chance or your exit plan vulnerable to sub-optimal planning. Boo and Margo will highlight ways to weave a leadership transition strategic plan with organizational needs, such as: stakeholder relationships, personnel development, organization culture and stability, and land transfer if needed.

They will explore common challenges organizations are likely to face during a leadership transition and possible land transfer, as acquiring land during a leadership transition presents unique organizational challenges. They will focus on ways to prevent turmoil, confusion, and productivity problems as well as the impact of cultural and stakeholder issues that may arise during the transition. This presentation spotlights:

• Developing a leadership team that will champion and lead transformational change during the pre- and post-leadership transition and possible land transfer.
• A leadership transition plan that can be executed within a fitting timeframe.
• Ways to maintain and develop stakeholder relationships and relate to personnel needs.
• Methods that align long-term strategic objectives during a leadership transition for the future.

Handout: Succession Planning and Land Transfer

Margo Dewkett is the former founder, executive director, and head instructor of a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center, Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center of East Texas, Inc. located north of Longview, Texas. Her knowledge and proficiency are based on twenty-eight years in the field of equine-assisted services (EAS) and more than forty years as a professional equestrian. A PATH Intl. Master Certified Instructor and Driving Instructor – Level II, Margo is also a mentor and evaluator. A frequent presenter at PATH Intl. annual conferences, Margo’s equine-training techniques were featured in the PATH Intl. 2010 STRIDES issue and her business strategies in a 2012 issue. Margo has received numerous recognitions crediting her accomplishment. The 2013 EQUUS Humanitarian Award honored Margo’s years of dedication and commitment to the EAS field. Margo co-authored the peer-reviewed Comprehensive Guide to Equine-Assisted Actives and Therapies, published in 2016. Margo retired her executive position at Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center in June 2016. Margo now spends most of her time in the Rocky Mountains hiking, taking pictures of wildlife and nature, studying geology, and painting.


Planning for Prosperity - Build or Enhance Your Fundraising Plan, with Dana Butler-Moburg, The Shea Center
Friday, February 5th, 2021 at 10am MST, Length 1hr CE

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Famous words that ring true for any enterprise that needs funds to fuel the mission. A solid development plan - or taking it up a notch on your current development plan - will enhance the viability of any program to raise the dollars they need to serve their community. Learning the basic principles of how to create a development plan will lead to increased funding and support for your program.

Learning Objectives:
1. Know what the elements of a development plan are and why they are important.
2. How to form a basic plan - what are the components. If you already have a plan, how do you enhance what you're doing.
3. Leave knowing how to make the next steps and what will follow on those steps.

Do you have a talented equestrian at your PATH Intl. center? Do you admire a particular instructor or an equine specialist in mental health and learning? Does a special horse, mule or mini that has a priceless attitude call your center home? Do you know of a volunteer or veterinarian who generously gives time at a PATH Intl. center?

Now is the time to submit an award nomination for these special individuals and animals.

2021 PATH Intl. Awards Process

In 2018 as part of the strategic plan and from member input, staff reviewed processes related to the international conference, and one of the areas reviewed was the PATH Intl. Awards Program. We understand that time is a resource that many member centers do not have enough of, and we have heard that is one reason centers do not always nominate for the awards program. Because all of our equines, volunteers, veterinarians and credentialed professionals are deserving of recognition, the nomination forms were streamlined into a short form so member centers can nominate in less time. In 2020 all award nominations will be scored, and in the event of a tie, the winners will be selected randomly out of those with the highest tied score. Also recognizing that travel to the PATH Intl. Conference and Annual Meeting may pose financial worries and that family and friends are not always there to share in the excitement, the regional awards will be presented at the regional conferences. This may be more convenient and less expensive for the award winners, families and friends to attend. International winners in all categories, including the equestrian winners, will be honored at the international conference.

Below is a summary of the 2021 process:

  1. The awards nomination form for the equines, volunteers and veterinarians will be scored based on criteria, experience, and ranking of attributes as indicated on the form.
    • The regional winner will be based on the highest score.
    • In the event of a tie for regional winner, the winner will be selected by random from those tied with the highest score.
  2. The awards nomination form for the credentialed professional will be scored with criteria such as being a member in good standing, minimum length of certification/service, contribution to program and adhering to PATH Intl. Standards/code of ethics and ranking of attributes.
    • The regional winner will be based on the highest score.
    • In the event of a tie for regional winner, the winner will be selected by random from those tied with the highest score.
  3. The nominators of regional winners will be asked to submit reference forms that include essays for consideration in selection of the international winner. Regional winner reference forms will need to be submitted by May 28, 2021 to be considered for the 2020 PATH Intl. award in their respective category.

Nominations for regional award categories must be submitted by December 1, 2020. This is to ensure that regional winners are notified in time for the 2020 region conferences.

Equestrian of the year awards are national awards, and the nomination deadline for this category is May 28, 2021

Here is a summary of the required criteria for the 2021 PATH Intl. Awards Nominations:

General Nomination Criteria:

  • Nominating centers must be current center members in good standing.
  • Only one nomination is allowed per center per category.
  • In the Equine, Veterinarian and Volunteer categories, the center is not eligible to submit a nomination if they had a regional winner in that category in 2020.
  • The nominee is ineligible if they have won a PATH Intl. award in their respective category in the last five years.

Equestrians of the Year Criteria:

  • The equestrian participates in an equestrian activity at a PATH Intl. Member Center in good standing and has a disability/special need.
  • The adult equestrian must be at least 18 years old as of January 1, 2021
  • The PATH International Equine Services for Heroes equestrian nominee must be at least 18 years old and a military veteran or currently enlisted in the military.
  • The youth equestrian must be at least 4 years old but under the age of 18 as of January 1 2021.

The Equestrian of the Year is not a regional award. The equestrian awards will have reference essays judged by a panel of volunteer judges to determine the winner in each category.

Equine of the Year Criteria:

  • The equine’s previous experience has added value to his/her services in the field of EAAT at the nominating center.
  • The equine has an excellent attitude for work in the field of EAAT.
  • The equine’s contributions are significant to the nominating center.
  • The equine has good relationships with the participants with whom he/she interacts with at the nominating center.

Volunteer of the Year Criteria:

  • The volunteer has been active in the center’s program for the entire year prior to this nomination and is still active at this time.
  • The volunteer is not paid for his/her time at the center.
  • The volunteer’s contributions to the center are of the highest quality.
  • The volunteer is reliable and consistently follows thought with his/her commitments
  • The volunteer’s contributions have helped enhance the ability of the center to provide equine-assisted activities and therapies.
  • The nominee has a long history of volunteer service, either at the center or elsewhere in the community.

Veterinarian of the Year Criteria:

  • The veterinarian volunteers at least a portion of his/her time or products to the nominating center.
  • The veterinarian is currently licensed in his/her state or county of practice.
  • The veterinarian demonstrates compassion and respect for participants and clients.
  • The veterinarian demonstrates safe, ethical and humane treatment of equines.

Credentialed Professional of the Year Criteria

  • The credentialed professional is a current PATH Intl. member in good standing
  • The credentialed professional holds a PATH Intl. certification or EFP or EAL credentials.
  • The credentialed professional has a minimum of two years’ experience in their respective field.
  • The credentialed professional demonstrates excellent teaching, facilitating or other related skills.
  • The credentialed professional demonstrates compassion and respect for students, clients, staff and volunteers.
  • The credentialed professional demonstrates safe, ethical and humane partnering with equines.
  • The credentialed professional adheres to all applicable PATH Intl. Standards, guidelines and code of ethics.

Additional information for the credentialed professional to be submitted will include credentials, certifications, and experience information, and the nominator will be asked to rank certain attributes of the nominee.

Please be sure to follow the instructions described on the nomination form, and fill out the form in its entirety.
If you have questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (800) 369-7433.


Click here for the PATH Intl. James Brady Professional Achievement Award criteria and forms.

Equestrians of the Year - Deadline May 28, 2021
   Sample Nomination Form

Regional Awards - Deadline December 1, 2020

Equines of the Year
   Sample nomination form

Credentialed Professionals of the Year
   Sample nomination form

Volunteers of the Year
   Sample nomination form

Veterinarians of the Year
   Sample nomination form



2021 PATH Intl. Conference and Annual Meeting - POSTPONED

Due to meeting space capacity limits set by the host conference hotel in response to social distancing specifications, PATH Intl. leadership has determined the conference could only be held at a financial loss, which would mean redirecting resources from other member benefits. The space in Charlotte has been secured for 2023 when we can gather to learn and network as we enjoy—together as a community.

We apologize for the inconvenience; we are disappointed too. We understand many of you have already budgeted to attend. We weighed that factor while also considering recent member survey data showing the majority of respondents unwilling or hesitant to travel in the fall. The health and welfare of the PATH Intl. membership is always our top priority, making your safety the biggest concern.

The association also recognizes members’ commitment to their professional development and need for quality CEUs to maintain their certifications. To that end, this fall we would like to develop and offer a relevant education format to meet those needs.

Then we will plan to see everyone in St. Louis, MO, October 28-30, 2022 and Charlotte, NC in 2023. We cannot wait to be together again!

Due to meeting space capacity limits set by the host conference hotel in response to social distancing specifications, PATH Intl. leadership has determined the conference could only be held at a financial loss, which would mean redirecting resources from other member benefits. The space in Charlotte has been secured for 2023 when we can gather to learn and network as we enjoy—together as a community.

We apologize for the inconvenience; we are disappointed too. We understand many of you have already budgeted to attend. We weighed that factor while also considering recent member survey data showing the majority of respondents unwilling or hesitant to travel in the fall. The health and welfare of the PATH Intl. membership is always our top priority, making your safety the biggest concern.

The association also recognizes members’ commitment to their professional development and need for quality CEUs to maintain their certifications. To that end, this fall we would like to develop and offer a relevant education format to meet those needs. Please complete this short, two-minute survey to help PATH Intl. align your education needs with our offerings.

Then we will plan to see everyone in St. Louis, MO, October 28-30, 2022 and Charlotte, NC in 2023. We cannot wait to be together again!

Congratulations 2011 Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Exemplary Award Winners!

(Click on the name to read the bio below)


2011 PATH Intl. Adult Equestrian
Recognition Award
Shellie Muzzey
Region 9
Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped
Hailey, ID


2011 PATH Intl. Child Equestrian Recognition Award
Milee Huffman
Region 3
St. Andrews Ride Like a Knight
Laurinburg, NC
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)


PATH Intl. Independent Adult Equestrian Recognition Award
Lara Oles
Region 10
National Ability Center
Park City, UT
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)


PATH Intl. Youth Equestrian Recognition Award
Carly Renguette
Region 6
Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program
Racine, WI


PATH Intl. Horses for Heroes of the Year
Ryan Ohrmundt
Region 7
BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding & Educational Center
Harvard, IL
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)


PATH Intl. Sis Gould Award
Corie Brooks
Region 11
Santa Rosa, CA
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)


PATH Intl. EFP/EFL Recognition Award
Martha McNiel
Region 11
DreamPower Horsemanship
San Martin, CA



PATH Intl. Equine of the Year Award
Region 5
Therapeutic Animal Partners
Columbia, TN
Sponsored by American Quarter Horse Association


2011 PATH Intl. Volunteer of the Year
Recognition Award
Jacob O'Brien
Region 4
Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center
Augusta, MI
(Premier Accredited Center)


2011 PATH Intl. Instructor of the Year Recognition Award
Trudy Chapman-Radley

Region 10
Horses with H.E.A.R.T.Chino Valley, AZ
Sponsored by Purina 


2011 PATH Intl. James Brady
Professional Achievement
Mary Jo Beckman


2011 PATH Intl. President's Award
Heather Hoff


2011 PATH Intl. Volunteer Leadership
Recognition Award: Programs and Standards
Michael Kaufmann
Green Chimneys, Brewster, NY
(Premier Accredited Center)


2011 PATH Intl. Volunteer Leadership
Recognition Award: Membership
Tracy Weber

2011 PATH Intl. Volunteer Leadership
Recognition Award: Education
Pat McCowan

2011 Region Award Winners

Region 1

Equine of the Year Tabano Ben
T.H.E. FARM (Tewksbury Hospital Equestrian FARM)
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Tewksbury, MA
Instructor of the Year Jonnie Edwards

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)

Old Lyme, CT
Volunteer of the Year Deborah Welles
High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Old Lyme, CT
Region 2 Equine of the Year Shugs Gray Lady (Lady)
Circle of Hope Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Barnesville, MD
Instructor of the Year Doria Fleisher
Melwood Recreation Center Equestrian Program Nanjemoy, MD
Volunteer of the Year NA

Region 3 Equine of the Year Sadie EQUI-KIDS Therapeutic Riding Program
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Virginia Beach, VA
Instructor of the Year Kelsey Redfearn Gallagher
Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Clifton, VA
Volunteer of the Year Patty Revels
Astride With Pride, Inc. Bedford, VA
Region 4 Equine of the Year Dan's Red Sun (Dan)

Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)

Augusta, MI
Instructor of the Year Tammy Porter
Discovery Riders, Inc.
Zanesfield, OH
Volunteer of the Year Jacob O'Brien
Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Augusta, MI
Region 5 Equine of the Year Valentino Therapeutic Animal Partners
Columbia, TN
Instructor of the Year Lynne Evans
Saddle UP!
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Franklin, TN
Volunteer of the Year Elleene Morgan
Dream Quest EFP & TR, Inc. Bethlehem, GA
Region 6 Equine of the Year Stormy River Valley Riders
Bayport, MN
Instructor of the Year NA

Volunteer of the Year Kathy Jo Hanson
River Valley Riders Bayport, MN
Region 7 Equine of the Year Big Mac
Exceptional Equestrians of the Missouri Valley, Inc.
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Washington, MO
Instructor of the Year Jennifer Ann Lamoreux
One Heart Equestrian Therapy, Inc. Colo, IA
Volunteer of the Year Joan Castell
Main Stay Therapeutic Riding Prrogram
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Richmond, IL
Region 8 Equine of the Year Peanut Hearts and Hooves, Inc.
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Sherwood, AR
Instructor of the Year Anita Sepko
Riding Unlimited
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Ponder, TX
Volunteer of the Year Randy Hurt
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
McKinney, TX
Region 9 Equine of the Year Hercules Changing Rein, LLC
Graham, WA
Instructor of the Year Lisa Hanson
Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center
Oregon City, OR
Volunteer of the Year Bill Postlewait
Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped
Hailey, ID
Region 10 Equine of the Year Tulip National Ability Center
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Park City, UT
Instructor of the Year Trudy Chapman-Radley
Horses with H.E.A.R.T., Inc. Chino Valley, AZ
Volunteer of the Year Cheri Bashor
TREC, Therapeutic Riding & Education Center
Pueblo West, CO
Region 11 Equine of the Year Tulips DreamPower Horsemanship San Martin, CA
Instructor of the Year Maxine Freitas
(PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center)
Santa Rosa, CA
Volunteer of the Year NA



Mary Jo Beckman
When it comes to working with PATH Intl., there isn’t much that Mary Jo Beckman hasn’t done. She started as a volunteer in 1994 and is now a certified master instructor as well as a driving instructor. She is a PATH Intl. lead faculty and evaluator, preparing future instructors for certification. She is also a lead visitor, ensuring that centers meet PATH Intl. standards for accreditation. She has served on numerous committees and serves on the board of directors for Therapeutic Riding Association of Virginia.

But perhaps the thing that we know Mary Jo best for and what beats closest to her heart is her work with PATH Intl. Horses for Heroes. Herself a retired Navy Commander, she co-founded the Caisson Platoon program with Army Command Sergeant Major Larry Pence, which provided therapeutic riding lessons at Ft. Myer, VA, for wounded military and civilians receiving treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The program started as “recreational” therapy, but the results were so impressive that after only four sessions, it became one of the physical therapy options available to those at Walter Reed. It is now in its sixth year, with Mary Jo conducting each lesson as the instructor.

After connecting with the Caisson Platoon, learning about the work at ROCK in Texas and inspired by Mary Woolverton’s work with Vietnam War veterans, Mary Jo became focused—some might say obsessed—with providing EAAT services to veterans. She was not content to provide therapeutic riding experiences to veterans at Walter Reed. She envisioned providing EAAT to veterans of all ages throughout the United States. Through much work with the PATH Intl. Horses for Heroes Task Force, Mary Jo’s vision became reality in 2007, and today there are approximately 90 centers around the nation working with their local VA offices to provide services, and more than 125 additional riding centers have inquired about how to start a program. There are more than 260 members on the Horses for Heroes list-serve, two high-quality international pre-conference workshops and a number of regional workshops and educational events. She regularly connects with Veterans Affairs administrators, medical professionals and volunteers across the country, propelling PATH Intl. and EAAT into all major media outlets across the globe.

As much as PATH Intl. is the voice of the EAAT field, Mary Jo is the voice of PATH Intl. Horses for Heroes and is the “go-to” person for answering questions about how to implement and sustain a program working with wounded military and veterans. She not only answers questions from centers but also coordinates efforts across the country, meeting with members of Congress and the Veterans Administration to help facilitate funding for all PATH Intl. Horses for Heroes services.

Through her efforts to serve both the veteran community and the EAAT field, she has brought additional international visibility and credibility to PATH Intl. Her contributions and untiring commitment make her the well-deserving recipient of the 2011 PATH Intl. James Brady Professional Achievement Award.

Corie Brooks
According to those who have worked with her, Corie Brooks at EQUI-ED in Santa Rosa, CA, exemplifies outstanding dedication to the development and promotion of driving for individuals with disabilities through her continuous work on the PATH Intl. driving program. Over the past 10 years, Corie has served on the PATH Intl. Driving Committee, has written numerous articles and presented at regional and national conferences, and was instrumental in helping to write the driving workbook, which is the criteria for the driving workshop and certification. She is currently engaged in conversation with the American Driving Society to create webinars on therapeutic driving.

Corie has been around driving all her adult life. She has been involved in breaking and training horses to drive and competes in combined driving events in shows. Her extensive driving experience includes her own PATH Intl. Level III Driving certification, and she is a PATH Intl. Lead Evaluator.

Corie's contributions to the therapeutic driving field continue as she strives to increase the number of PATH Intl. Certified Driving Instructors and centers that provide driving. It is an honor to name her the Sis Gould Driving Award recipient for 2011.

Tracy Chapman-Radley
Instructors often need to think outside the box when it comes to gaining the trust of their riders as well as creating lessons and helping them to develop confidence. Trudy Chapman-Radley at Horses with H.E.A.R.T. in Region 10, is just such an instructor. According to her fellow instructors, Trudy shows creativity in each lesson. On one occasion, Trudy had a new rider with autism come in for an intake interview. She asked the parent whether or not the child had ever worn a helmet, and the parent said that it might be an issue. Trudy gave a safety helmet to the parent to take home so that the rider could practice wearing it before she came for her lesson in two weeks. Trudy even suggested that the child decorate the helmet. When the rider came two weeks later, the helmet had colorful stickers on it. The rider calmly put it on and wore it for the entire lesson. A fellow instructor said, “This creative thinking and foresight prevented stress and a possible struggle and set the stage for rider success.”

Trudy, who has been with PATH International since 1995, volunteers full time at Horses with H.E.A.R.T., logging in over 3,600 volunteer hours in the past three years. In addition to being a PATH International Certified Instructor, she has served as president of the board, executive director, board member and riding director at the center. She has missed only one national conference since 1997.

“I can’t say enough about this instructor,” says a mother of three riders with special needs. “Not only has she changed my family’s lives, she has changed hundreds of lives in the special needs community. My family is so blessed to have her in our lives. She is a special person and deserves to be named the best instructor in the country.”

Heather Hoff
Heather is the Farnam Senior Vice President; Equine Products. Heather joined Farnam in 1997. She holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University. Under Heather's guidance, Farnman has donated dewormers to PATH Intl. centers and also funds grants for PATH Intl. centers through America's Horse Cares. She was raised in North Dakota where she and her family raised horses and cattle. She was active in 4-H and has been a rodeo competitor since the age of 4. She currently competes in breakaway roping.

Milee Huffman
It’s not unusual to see a child look forward to riding lessons or being in the barn. But Milee Huffman doesn’t just exhibit a love of horses but also empathy for them. She is truly interested in learning about and practicing horse care and always takes care that her horse is comfortable.

This 11-year-old has been riding for six years and in that time has learned to read equine body language and interpret what her mount is feeling. One day at the end of a lesson, Milee’s instructor took her for a short field ride to cool down. As they were walking, Milee’s horse stepped in a patch of very loose dirt and sank to his knee. The sidewalkers provided the support she needed while the horse hopped back up. Everyone was a little shaken by the incident and paused for a moment to catch their breath. Milee reached down to tell her horse it was okay. After the ride, she checked his legs and gave him extra attention to make sure he wasn’t hurt. She put aside any fear she might have felt and instead reacted like an equine professional – all about the horse!

Milee accepts all challenges placed in her way with a glorious smile and an attitude that says she can overcome anything. Even her favorite horse, who is sometimes picky with his riders, is in love with her. You can see it on his face whenever she is getting ready to ride.

One of her sidewalkers at St Andrews Ride Like a Knight says about Milee, “She has an infectious smile and laugh that impacts everyone who crosses her path. She is a true horseman and understands that every day and every ride offers something new to learn, and she is anxious to absorb it. I couldn’t think of a better recipient for the PATH Intl. 2011 Child Equestrian of the Year Award for everything that both it and PATH Intl. stands for.”

Michael Kaufmann
Michael is earning the award this year because of his relentless efforts in organizing standards for equine-facilitated learning. He managed to keep an enthusiastic task force focused on the objective that resulted in EFL guidelines that are included in the 2011 edition of the PATH Intl. Standards for Certification and Accreditation. Michael’s name has long been connected with the association’s history, having served on the board in the ’90s, participating in the formation of the mental health and learning community, chairing many task forces and committees and even serving on the association’s staff from 2000 through 2005. He now serves as the director of the Farm and Wildlife Conservation Center at Green Chimneys in Brewster, NY, one of the preeminent PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Centers.

Pat McCowan
Pat leads the review of the process for selecting and training the faculty for the association’s various programs as chair of the Faculty Development Task Force. Given the number and levels of our certification programs, this is a daunting task. This task force this year took on the project of updating the Association Visitor Training Course. Pat has been a PATH Intl. Life Member since joining the association in 1989.  She is an advanced instructor, a lead site visitor, faculty for the Center Accreditation Training course and the Associate Visitor Training course. She has been a member of the Accreditation Subcommittee. She also coordinated the Margo O’Callaghan Competition Fund.

Martha McNiel
Martha is the founder and director of DreamPower Horsemanship in San Martin, CA. Additionally, she is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice, a PATH Intl. Registered Riding Instructor and a Certified Equine Interaction Professional in Mental Health. Martha served on the EFMHA Board of Directors for five years and worked on the committee that brought about the merger with PATH Intl.

Martha presents seminars on equine-facilitated psychotherapy at regional and PATH Intl. conferences, and her seminars are used by mental health professionals to meet continuing education requirements. She currently supervises six psychotherapy interns in the practice of EFP and has successfully mentored six PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructors through the certification process.

A gifted practitioner of equine-facilitated services, Martha reaches out to all the stakeholders in the field. Her center helps foster emotionally disturbed youth, veterans and their families, and others with mental and physical health challenges. Through her leadership positions at PATH Intl., she has encouraged others to reach for excellence and increased the professionalism for our industry.

Priscilla Marden, the executive director of Horse Warriors in Wyoming, said, “No one I know works longer, harder and more diligently to further and better the quality of work done by all of us in the field. Martha defines dedication to this field and has set the bar for the rest of us to strive toward.”

Shellie Muzzey
If there is an embodiment of the PATH Intl. vision to enrich and change lives through equine-assisted activities and therapies, it is Shellie Muzzey. Born with several physical challenges, Shellie has been in a wheelchair her entire life. Social struggles made her life even more difficult, and everything around her seemed to tell her that she couldn’t accomplish anything.

When she first came to Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped in Hailey, ID, Shellie was closed, quiet and depressed, and she couldn’t read. Thanks to her team of volunteers incorporating word puzzles on the ground in the arena into her regular lesson plan, she is now able to read stories with only a little bit of assistance. Through her years at Sagebrush, Shellie has grown more confident. While her life has been hard, she has developed perseverance and an attitude that says she can do anything.

When she first came to Sagebrush, she was very afraid: of the horses, of the lift used to help her mount, of being up off the ground. Despite her concerns, she would take a big breath and say, “Okay, I’m ready!” She has bravely faced her fears with smiles, hugs, growing self-confidence and a huge amount of courage.

Despite her struggles, she is committed to coming to her session each week. She is always concerned about the health, happiness and overall wellbeing of the horses, the volunteers, the center’s staff, and all the other riders. Each week before her lesson, she takes a moment with her team to say a prayer for everyone who participates in the program. She recognizes the blessings she has received through therapeutic riding, and she wishes to give back what she can to everyone involved with the center.

Lindsey Jameson, Sagebrush’s program director, says, “No matter how bad Shellie is feeling, she always feels better when she comes to the center. This is a place where she can relax, be herself, open up and confide in her team, and enjoy the experience of riding. It is as if when she’s on the horse, her spirit is set free.”

It is with great pride that we name Shellie Muzzey the PATH Intl. Adult Equestrian of the Year.

Jacob O'Brien
It has often been said that PATH International Centers couldn’t do the wonderful work they do without volunteers. No one exemplifies that more than Jacob O’Brien of Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center in Richland, MI, region 4. Jacob has been with the program since he was 9, first as a student and then as a volunteer when he was 13, and he does anything that needs doing, logging now more than 200 hours a month.

As anyone who works in a center knows, there are many times that volunteers fluctuate, and Cheff is no exception. But Jacob comes in on a regular basis on days he is not scheduled simply because he heard that the center might be short and he wanted to be available.

Jacob is an integral part of the center’s activities, including interaction with riders. A new rider was very nervous about the entire horse experience. Jacob took notice of his nerves and stepped in to offer his assistance, sharing with this rider his own experiences from when he first started riding. In his calm, quiet and reassuring manner, he worked with this new rider, assuring him that the experience would be safe and fun. He worked as the off-side spotter in the mounting process and reassured the rider that he would stick with him throughout the ride. He helped give the rider the confidence and reassurance he needed. Kim Henning, the volunteer coordinator and instructor at Cheff, said, “It is at times like this that as an instructor I truly appreciate the impact a really wonderful volunteer can have on a rider and a lesson.” Tara East, Cheff’s executive director, said, “He is a shining example of everything a great volunteer should be and everything our program stands to accomplish.”

It is an honor and a privilege to name Jacob PATH International’s Volunteer of the Year.

Ryan Ohrmundt
Ryan Ohrmundt first came to BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center in Harvard, IL, region 7, because of high anxiety and stress when he returned home from War. His anxiety interfered with his life so intensely that he had to quit his job and find one less intense. Ryan soon found what can be accomplished through the power of the horse to change lives.

Ryan has been able to use riding as a detachment to clear his mind and reduce his anxiety levels. He enjoys riding because, as he says, he does not associate it to anything else in his life. It is the one time he truly is at peace. As soon as he enters the barn for his lessons, his entire demeanor changes. He lights up as he sees his horse and immediately appears calm and collected. He is gentle, loving and kind to every horse he rides.

Ryan’s gratitude for the Horses for Heroes program comes through as he introduces others to the program and as he helps out before and after lessons to keep the facility clean.

Whether it is grooming and tacking his horse, riding independently or participating in therapeutic driving, Ryan exhibits and eagerness to learn. In fact, he chooses to ride the horses that others feel can be difficult at times so that he can challenge himself. He rides once a week preparing for upcoming horse shows, demonstrations and drill team events.

Ryan truly deserves the PATH International Horses for Heroes award as he is the essence of what equine-assisted activities and therapies can accomplish.

Lara Oles
Lara Oles first became involved at National Ability Center in Park City, UT, a few years after an accident left her with limited use of her right side. Prior to her accident, she had been an avid equestrian and dressage competitor, and although she had worked herself up to riding her own horse independently, she was still lacking the confidence and skills to progress her skills to her pre-accident level. Shortly after attending the World Equestrian Games and witnessing the Para Dressage competition, she was inspired to reach farther than she thought possible and dream of one day competing herself in Para Dressage.

Toward this goal, Lara has been determined and hard working. Her drive to increase her skills and get back to the level she once rode at is amazing and her positive attitude is infectious.

Her instructor says, “The day Lara came into our center for the first time, I knew I had to be on top of my game! She came in with such determination and drive to start training for her personal goal of one day being in the Para Dressage games that there was never a moment of down time. From the start, we were setting goals only to break them in a matter of lessons.”

She had only been with the center for a few weeks when she first cantered. The sense of accomplishment that spread over her face was a joy to see. She told the staff that it had been since before her accident that she had allowed herself to trust the horse and herself enough to canter. Through this special relationship with her horse, she has allowed him to teach her the idiosyncrasies of the cues and feel of how they are supposed to be executed as he allows her to learn.

Lara’s drive for personal achievement has been an inspiration to other participants and staff, making her worthy of being name the PATH Intl. 2011 Independent Adult Equestrian of the Year.

Carly Renguette
Life changes in the blink of an eye. Most riders at PATH Intl. Centers come for equine-assisted activities and therapies because of a disability they were born with. But for Carly Renguette, our Youth Equestrian of the Year, life changed dramatically when she sustained a cervical spinal cord injury that left her a spastic quadriplegic and placed her first on a ventilator then in a wheelchair. Carly knows in a way that others sometimes do not what she has lost. And yet this 16-year-old young woman doesn’t complain and is always smiling. Her therapist at Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program said, “Even on the days she is in pain or having difficulty breathing, she always wants to try ‘just one more thing.’” 

Carly is a vocal proponent of EAAT, sending an email update about her progress to over 100 people. She has given speeches about program benefits and has participated in fundraisers. Most notably, she gave a 15 minute presentation in which she told her story to over 160 people and created a slideshow showing her progression since beginning her equestrian activities. 

Carly has progressed from a wheelchair to a walker and is now using arm crutches. Just recently she walked independently. As with most people, she was excited but a little scared on her first ride. Her white knuckles as she held on to the reins showed her nervousness. She needed side walkers to hold on to her to keep her balance and she only made it a few laps. But now? She rides rarely touching the saddle except to take a break. She once challenged herself and stood up in the stirrups for 20 laps just to say she could do it.

Carly credits her progress to horseback riding and wants to become either a physical or occupational therapist, incorporating hippotherapy into her practice. She says she wants to make a difference in other people’s lives. Little does she know, she already has. We are proud to name her PATH Intl.’s 2011 Youth Equestrian of the Year.

Sometimes a horse seems destined to work with those who have special needs. Valentino, a Tennessee Walking Horse Cross in Region 5, was abandoned as a yearling and left completely alone in a pasture. Neighbors fed him when they could and called an equine rescue when he turned three, after he had been alone and neglected for more than a year.

At the same time, Therapeutic Animal Partners in Spring Hill, TN, was looking for fresh horses for its center. “We decided to consider bringing this one particular horse to our center,” says Director Terri Knauer. “After watching his training sessions at the state horse fair we were hooked. He was young, the perfect height for a therapy horse and full of potential.”

Valentino was adopted and trained specifically for EAAT. Every center needs a “go-to” horse, and Valentino is that. He is quiet, intelligent, kind and patient with his riders, intuiting when to respond to an exact cue and when to build confidence in a rider by giving the intended response. His eager attitude for interaction with participants shows that he loves his lessons. He loves toys and games and sometimes breaks a tense moment by picking up a toy in his mouth to help a frustrated rider.

One child came to the center missing the horse she used to ride at another center. On being introduced, Valentino gently blew on her neck then dropped his head so they could look into each other’s eyes, and the two held each other’s gaze for half a minute. That moment bonded these two and gave this young girl the hope that she could find love, trust, confidence and companionship with another horse.

Like many of PATH International participants, Valentino has overcome adversity and has found a permanent home as the rock of Therapeutic Animal Partners’ program.

Tracy Weber
Tracy Weber is the chair of the Community Initiatives Work Group behind the launch of the new member benefit, Community Connections. This effort grew out of the EFP/EFL Membership Task force chaired by Leif Hallberg, who is now working with PATH Intl. on a contract basis to launch the community initiative. Tracy is a relatively new volunteer to PATH Intl. although she has logged many volunteer hours with other organizations. Her unique approach has been refreshing as this new membership program takes off. She has experience as a marketing director, researcher, executive director of a non-profit, entrepreneur, farm owner and is considered a pioneer in the field of equine-assisted learning. She is passionate about integrating experiential learning and a holistic world view in to her farm program and faculty work with several universities where her focus is on leadership and relationship management. With a master and doctorate in the field of education, she has helped those launching PATH Intl. Community Connections embrace a member-driven, user-defined initiative.



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