An Equine-Assisted Services (EAS) optimal terminology consensus document was published last week by the JACM - Paradigm, Practice and Policy Advancing Integrative Health (The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine). This first-of-its-kind consensus document recommends optimal uniform terminology for naming and describing diverse services in the United States that incorporate horses to benefit people. The need for this document is underscored by pervasive adverse impacts of imprecise and ambiguous language on stakeholders, including recipients of services and their advocates, providers, funders, policy makers, researchers and regulators.
To address needs for optimal uniform terminology, a two-year consensus-building process funded by the Bob Woodruff Foundation was followed. This inclusive, systematic, and comprehensive process included leaders from all facets of EAS and has been endorsed by the following organizations: American Horse Council, Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA), Horses and Humans Research Foundation (HHRF), The Equine Experiential Education Association (E3A) and Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.). Response is pending from the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals (CBEIP).
“Approving this standardization/uniformity in optimal terminology will be very beneficial, including potential approval for increased funding/services for veterans, and helping physicians and insurance carriers embrace, recommend and fund some of these services. Inconsistent terminology has been a hindrance to advancing and promoting this sector of the equine industry and we applaud the organizations that worked to gain consensus on language,” said Julie Broadway, American Horse Council president.
Kathy Alm, CEO of PATH Intl., stated, “The publishing of this milestone, optimal terminology, is the culmination of several years' work by a broad group of experts from all reaches of EAS. It is our firm assertion that employing the defined terminology will benefit all in myriad ways including safeguarding the public by providing a clear definition ensuring they have a clear understanding of the services they are receiving. This is paramount to PATH Intl. as it supports its members and stakeholders through rigorously developed standards, credentialing and education.”
These recommendations will prove useful over time, and help to enhance the professionalism, scientific advancement, and viability of diverse services that incorporate horses to benefit people. To read about this ground-breaking process, a summary and the full consensus document with terminology recommendations, please click here. To read the published paper and a summary use the links within.
About PATH Intl.
The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) was formed in 1969. The organization leads the advancement of professional equine-assisted services (EAS) by supporting its members and stakeholders through rigorously developed standards, credentialing and education. At 881 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. EAS at member centers may include therapeutic or adaptive riding, interactive vaulting, driving, adaptive equestrian sport, equine-assisted learning and therapy services. Through a wide variety of educational resources, the association helps individuals start and maintain successful programs and professional careers. 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.