What is PATH International?
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. Today, PATH Intl. has nearly 800 member centers and over 6,300 individual members in countries all over the world, who help and support more than 42,000 men, women and children with special needs each year through a variety of equine-assisted activity and therapy programs.
Though 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 use the horse as a partner in cognitive and behavioral therapy, usually with the participation of a licensed therapist; ground work and stable management; and PATH Intl. Equine Services for Heroes, which uses a variety of EAAT disciplines specifically to help war veterans and military personnel. In addition, many of PATH Intl.’s 25 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 International Mission
The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) changes and enriches lives by promoting excellence in equine-assisted activities and therapies.
PATH International Vision
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.
Membership in PATH Intl. is voluntary. SMILES, Inc. has been a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center since 2000. The instructor staff at SMILES has participated in training and evaluation through PATH to become Registered Instructors. Both the accreditation process and the instructor process require maintenance standards and education that set SMILES apart.
PATH Intl. is a leader in therapeutic horsemanship.