The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) promotes safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs.


The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) is a global authority, resource and advocate for equine-assisted activities and therapies and the equines in this work that inspire and enrich the human spirit.

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.

Who PATH International serves

Today, PATH Intl. has more than 850 member centers and nearly 7,600 individual members in countries all over the world, who help and support more than 54,000 men, women and children with special needs each year through a variety of equine-assisted activities and therapies programs.

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International members, instructors and centers serve participants of all ages and with a range of physical, emotional, behavioral and cognitive challenges. Not all PATH Intl. instructors or programs serve every population, but the following is a very short list of conditions and challenges helped every day through PATH Intl. and EAAT:

  • ADD or other Hyperact. Dis.
  • Amputation
  • At risk-youth
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delay
  • Down syndrome
  • Emotional, behavioral difficulties
  • Family counselling
  • Grief counselling
  • Learning disabilities
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Paralysis
  • Reactive attachment disorder
  • Spina bifida
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Strokes
  • Substance addiction and abuse
  • Terminal illness
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Visual and auditory impairment
  • Weight Control Disorders

PATH International core values

PATH Intl. Certified Instructors use these core values in combination with equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) 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. EAAT 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 in a nurturing environment that is guided by the following core values:

  • Access and inclusion – promoting diversity and opportunity in equine-assisted activities and therapies.
  • Compassion and caring – providing a culture of safety, understanding and ethical treatment of humans and horses engaged in equine-assisted activities and therapies.
  • Cooperation and collaboration – connecting and partnering with those who share the PATH Intl. vision in a mutually beneficial manner.
  • Education – sharing valued knowledge with our constituents to facilitate their success.
  • Excellence – promoting quality in all undertakings.
  • Innovation – encouraging and supporting creativity, inquiry and cutting-edge research.
  • Integrity and accountability – ensuring that all business is based on ethical principles and conducted with transparency.
  • Professionalism – enhancing the value and credibility of the industry.
  • Service – providing effective and responsive information and programs to our constituents.
  • Holism – promoting an awareness of body, mind and spirit in equine-assisted activities and therapies.

About PATH Intl. Certification

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 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 over 3,500 certified instructors and almost 800 member centers who confidently provide EAAT services according to PATH Intl. standards.