What is PATH Intl.?

PATH Intl. was founded in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) to promote safe and effective therapeutic horseback riding throughout the United States and Canada. Today, PATH Intl. has 873 member centers and nearly 8,000 individual members in countries all over the world, who help and support almost 69,000 men, women and children--including more than 6,700 veterans--with special needs each year through a variety of equine-assisted services programs.

Though PATH Intl. began with a focus on horseback riding as a form of physical and mental therapy, the organization and its dedicated members have since developed a multitude of different equine-related activities for therapeutic purposes, collectively known as equine-assisted services (or EAS). Besides horseback riding, EAS also includes therapeutic carriage driving; interactive vaulting, which is similar to gymnastics on horseback; equine-assisted learning, in which those licensed in human development or teaching partner with the horse in those fields, and licensed PT, OT, PT/SLP, and mental health professionals utilize treatment strategies incorporating the horse; ground work and stable management; and PATH International Equine Services for Heroes®, which uses a variety of EAS disciplines specifically to help war veterans and military personnel. In addition, many PATH Intl. volunteer-driven committees are working on identifying and refining even more disciplines and activities that might be put to use in the world of EAS.

PATH Intl. Certified Instructors use these equine-assisted services to help tens of thousands of individuals each year with physical, mental and behavioral challenges gain strength and independence through the power of the horse. EAS helps people from all backgrounds and all walks of life in a variety of ways, including increasing strength and flexibility, improving motor skills, promoting speech and cognitive reasoning, and building relationships and social skills. The individuals served by PATH Intl. members may face any number of challenges, including paralysis, multiple sclerosis, autism, Down syndrome, substance abuse, traumatic brain injury or amputation – but all benefit from the power of the horse.

PATH Intl. upholds its mission to promote excellence in EAS through four primary program areas: instructor certification, center accreditation, educational opportunities and advocacy work. PATH Intl. is the credentialing organization that certifies instructors and accredits centers according to a set of field-tested standards designed to ensure the highest levels of safety, ethics and effectiveness in the industry. Instructors must attend workshops and pass both a written and practical exam to become certified to teach EAS programs, and centers may undergo a voluntary site visit to become accredited service providers. The process is led by trained PATH Intl. members who volunteer their time and expertise to help teach, test and grade fellow professionals seeking certification or accreditation. To date PATH Intl. has nearly 4,800 certified instructors and equine specialists in mental health and learning in several disciplines and 873 member centers who confidently provide EAS according to PATH Intl. standards.

In addition to certification and accreditation, PATH Intl. offers many different educational resources to its members and other industry professionals, including hands-on workshops, educational publications and industry newsletters, online education, mentor programs and peer networking, and regional and national conferences. PATH Intl. conferences attract hundreds of attendees each year, who come to hear lectures by leading industry professionals, learn about the most recent developments in EAS, earn continuing education to maintain the highest level of professional credentialing and participate in discussions about trends in the medical and equine fields. In addition to these educational opportunities, PATH Intl. also advocates for the application of professional standards in all realms of EAS and partners with like-minded organizations to promote the use of EAS in new and innovative ways.

markel-insurance-company

markel-insurance-company

American Regent Animal Health

equisure headercrop

Therapeutic RidingTherapeutic DrivingInteractive VaultingEquine Services for Heroes

Additional Sponsors

EQUUS FoundationMarkel Insurance CompanyCavalloRIDE TV