Selecting PATH Equine of the Year

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Karen Province, Membership Coordinator for the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH), recently asked Debbie Roberts Loucks, of the Monty Roberts organization, to help in determining the National winner in the Equine of the Year category.

"Determining the winners is a daunting task, and we definitely couldn’t do it without the help of people like Debbie," wrote Province.

There are 11 regional winners in this category to choose from as the national winner. There are over 7,600 equines working at 866 PATH International centers, and obviously without these fantastic and patient equines, equine assisted therapies and activities (EAAT) would not exist. These majestic and big-hearted equines are improving the lives of individuals every single day as they help teach trust, balance, control, and love. It is hard to pick our winners because every nominee is so special, but every year at the award banquet we recognize the eleven regional winners and the top national winner. The centers that nominate the winning equine are rewarded with a lovely watercolor portrait honoring their special equine, a prize they treasure and display with pride.

Every year it becomes more difficult for industry judges to select the PATH award recipients because of the large number of outstanding nominees. PATH International takes great pride in the exceptional equines, certified professionals, volunteers and veterinarians who serve at PATH International Member Centers and the quality of equestrians whose lives--and horsemanship--have been enriched through equine-assisted activities and therapies. PATH International is pleased to announce that the region award winners have been posted on the website http://www.pathintl.org/path-intl-conferences/international/awards/2015-award-winners along with the 2015 PATH International Adult, Paul Spiers Independent Adult, Child, Youth, and PATH International Equine Services for Heroes Equestrian Award winners, Sis Gould Driving Recognition Award and Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy/Equine-Assisted Learning Professional Award recipients.

All award winners will be recognized and the 2015 PATH International equine, certified professional, veterinarian and volunteer of the year and the James Brady Professional Achievement award recipient will be announced at the 2015 PATH International Conference and Annual Meeting Awards Banquet in Cleveland, Ohio, Friday, November 6.

PATH International thanks the judges who selected the award winners and offers congratulations to everyone who was nominated.

Debbie Roberts Loucks offered her congratulations to everyone who was nominated, saying the comments made about each Equine entered were both heart warming and encouraging.

Though PATH International 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). Equine Services for Heroes, which uses a variety of EAAT disciplines, is specifically to help war veterans and military personnel.

The individuals served by PATH International members may face any number of challenges, including paralysis, multiple sclerosis, autism, Down Syndrome, drug addiction, traumatic brain injury, amputation or PTSD. And the amazing thing is that all of these issues can be eased by the power of the horse.

Debbie Roberts Loucks joined her parents, Monty and Pat Roberts, in 2002 to build Monty Roberts’ international training schedule and oversee their publishing, product development and licensing. Monty Roberts is the world renowned Horse Whisperer and New York Times Bestselling author of The Man Who Listens to Horses. Pat Roberts is an internationally acclaimed sculptress of horses. A graduate of UCLA, Debbie has extensive experience in marketing as well as new business development. Debbie’s life-long work with horses, as well as her commitment with Monty to advance his concepts, uniquely qualifies her to extend the MPRI brand into a global leadership organization which has impacted millions of individuals, companies, organizations, governments and industries. She is credited with developing the first of its kind Equus Online University; an interactive online lesson site that is already being considered the most effective educational tool for horsemen on the web. Learn more about Debbie at http://www.linkedin.com/in/debbieloucks.

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 866 member centers, more than 61,000 children and adults may find improved health, wellness and a sense of pride and independence 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 more than 55,000 volunteers, 4,666 instructors, 7,672 equines and thousands of contributors from all over the world helping people at PATH Intl. Member Centers. For more information visit pathintl.org.

Monty Roberts first gained widespread fame with the release of his New York Times Best Selling book, The Man Who Listens To Horses; a chronicle of his life and development of his non-violent horse training methods called Join-Up. Monty grew up on a working horse farm as a firsthand witness to traditional, often violent methods of horse training and breaking the spirit with an abusive hand. Rejecting that, he went on to win nine world's championships in the show ring. Today, Monty's goal is to share his message that "Violence is never the answer." Roberts has been encouraged by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the award of the Membership in The Royal Victorian Order, as well as becoming Patron of Join-Up International. Other honors received were the ASPCA "Founders" award and the MSPCA George T. Angell Humanitarian Award. Monty is credited with launching the first of its kind Equus Online University; an interactive online lesson site that is the definitive learning tool for violence-free training. Join-Up philosophies can be seen at work with both humans and horses across the world, from farms to major corporations. To learn more about Monty Roberts or the many applications of his Join-Up training methods, visit www.montyroberts.com. Horse Sense and Soldiers aired on Discovery Military highlighting the therapeutic effect that horses and Monty Roberts' Join-Up have on PTSD. Monty developed his Horse Sense and Healing program for military and first responder personnel with stress injuries detailed here http://www.join-up.org/veterans.html.