Kaufmann Named PATH Intl. James Brady Professional Achievement Award Recipient

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The PATH Intl. James Brady Professional Achievement Award honors those individuals who make lasting contributions throughout the equine-assisted activities and therapies field. We recognize them for demonstrating the highest ethical behavior in their personal and professional life; for possessing proven leadership and dedication through delivery of service, educational contribution, support and promotion of the industry; for bringing innovative ideas to fruition; for creating collaborations and partnerships to advance the work of EAAT; and for enhancing the success and knowledge of others in the association. A panel of judges comprised of past James Brady award winners, a member in good standing and a life member made this year’s selection based on stringent criteria.

PATH Intl. is pleased to name Michael Kaufmann the 2016 James Brady Professional Achievement Award recipient.

Michael has been actively involved in human and animal interaction programs, animal welfare and in humane education for more than 25 years. In 2005 he joined Green Chimneys Children’s Services as Farm and Wildlife Director and in 2012 was named Director of the Sam and Myra Ross Institute at Green Chimneys, a program dedicated to education and research on the human connection to animals and the natural world. At Green Chimneys Farm, a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center in Brewster, New York, he directs all aspects of the nature based therapeutic/educational programs and supervises the Institute dedicated to education and research on the human connection to animals and the natural world.

Michael worked on instructor certification and criteria, creating the professional standards for our industry. He took Strides Magazine to the award-winning publication it is today. With the PATH Intl. Board and Staff he gathered professionals for the Terminology Summit, building the language for our burgeoning field, and he helped guide and shape equine-facilitated psychotherapy, one of the fastest growing parts of our industry, through the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association of which he was a founding board member. 

PATH Intl. Certified Master Instructor and past James Brady Award winner Boo Martin said, “Michael’s expertise, leadership skills, personality, hard work, dedication and commitment to professionalism have been the guiding light for us all. His mark of excellence has left an enduring legacy in the field of therapeutic horsemanship, making it the internationally known field that it is today.”

Michael has worked across disciplines and organizations to better promote human and animal interactions. He has worked with the Humane Association, the ASPCA, the International Association of Human Animal Interaction Associations, the Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International, the Denver University Graduate School of Social Work Institute for Human and Animal Connection and chaired the Humane Education Advisory Council for the Latham Foundation, and was a board member for the Horses and Humans Research Foundation as well as PATH Intl.

Molly Sweeney, the founder and vice president of Horses and Humans Research Foundation and past James Brady Award winner, said, “Animal welfare is a central core of his being. Michael’s curiosity makes him a lifetime learner. I remember when he brought in two camels to Green Chimneys. He said no one really understood camels, so they began paying very careful attention to camel behavior patterns, and discussing what those behaviors might mean. Then they began paying closer attention to the farm animals they thought they knew, and they started noticing other behaviors among the familiar animals. The camels Michael brought in initiated new learning about all the animals. 

“I don’t know a more honest, sincere and dedicated man to both EAAT and human animal interaction, whose thirst for knowledge constantly leads him to new levels of meaning and understanding of the work we all share in.”

Judith Lightfoot, former PATH Intl. president and past James Brady Award winner, said, “The man is a gem and richly deserves the broadest recognition as an influential leader of and spokesman for our field. I know of no one more deserving than Michael.”

James Brady was the press secretary to President Ronald Reagan who was shot during an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981. The failed attempt left Brady paralyzed. To make his physical therapy more enjoyable, Brady began therapeutic riding with his horse. He said that the riding helped him improve his balance and muscle control more than traditional physical therapy. Brady was an ally of then NARHA, and subsequently the association named its most prestigious award in his honor.

Click here to read about all the 2016 award winners. Pictures available on request. 

The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International® (PATH Intl.®) was formed in 1969 to promote safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for individuals with special needs. At 877 member centers, more than 62,400 children and adults, including 5,500 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, ground work and stable management. Through a wide variety of educational resources, the association helps individuals start and maintain successful EAAT programs. There are nearly 55,000 volunteers, 4,846 instructors, 7,546 equines and thousands of contributors from all over the world helping people at PATH Intl. Member Centers.