July 8, 2013 — In June, PATH Intl. was honored to be the recipient of the Equine Industry Vision Award, presented by American Horse Publications and sponsored by Zoetis. The association would like to take this opportunity to thank those who voted for PATH Intl. The quality of work done by all of the individuals and organizations who were nominated further highlights what an honor it is to not only receive this award, but to also have the opportunity to extend the awareness of equine-assisted activities and therapies to the equine industry.
Although 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 activities and therapies (or EAAT). Besides horseback riding, EAAT also includes therapeutic carriage driving; interactive vaulting, which is similar to gymnastics on horseback; equine-facilitated learning and mental health, which partner with the horse in cognitive and behavioral therapy, usually with the participation of a licensed therapist; ground work and stable management; and PATH International Equine Services for Heroes, which uses a variety of EAAT disciplines specifically to help war veterans and military personnel. In addition, many of the 25 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 EAAT.
PATH Intl. upholds its mission to promote excellence in EAAT through four primary program areas: instructor certification, center accreditation, educational opportunities and advocacy work. PATH Intl. certifies instructors and equine specialists 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 EAAT 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 more than 4,300 certified professionals in several disciplines and nearly 850 member centers who confidently provide EAAT services according to PATH Intl. standards. Click here to learn more about certification and center accreditation.
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, mentor programs and peer networking, and regional and national conferences. The annual PATH Intl. conference attracts hundreds of attendees each year, who come to hear lectures by leading industry professionals, learn about the most recent developments in EAAT, and participate in discussions about trends in the medical and equine fields. Click here for information on the 2013 PATH Intl. Conference, Nov. 6-9 in Orlando, Florida, sponsored by Purina.
PATH Intl. also advocates for the application of professional standards in all realms of EAAT and partners with like-minded organizations to promote the use of EAAT in new and innovative ways. The association’s twice-monthly newsletter, PATH Intl. eNews, keeps members and the public abreast of trends in the industry. Click here to read archived issues and to subscribe.