Equine therapy certification can be obtained by professionals who want to practice equine therapy or to be an equine mental health specialist through organizations, such as Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International), formerly the North American Handicapped Riding Association (NAHRA) and Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association (EFMHA).
As professional, you can solidify your accreditation when both entities render their approval for you to practice equine psychotherapy. However, certification for equine health practitioner provided by EFMHA does not require a NARHA certification as a prerequisite.
The approval of respected organizations such as NARHA and EFMHA ensures that the professional has obtained the skills and understanding much needed to effectively tackle any physical challenge the client may impose upon him or her. The accrediting entities also ensure that the practicing individual has a great knowledge of equine facilitated psychotherapy enough to reliably address the psychological state of the patient.
An independent certifying body has not been established for a person to be certified in practicing Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) or equine facilitated learning (EFL). However, persons who practice mental health psychotherapy or therapy and who have the appropriate credentials while legally qualified to practice in their respective state can practice EFP or EFL. Therapists with the proper credentials can provide equine-facilitated or assisted psychotherapy.
An independent board that certifies equine facilitated psychotherapy and learning through competency based testing is the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals (CBEIP). The testing based certification started in 2008 and provides computerized tests for either education professionals or therapists in mental health. Pertinent prerequisites are needed for both classifications when registering for the computerized exams. Horse specialists or horse riding instructors are not advised to apply for the exams since only mental health providers and educators for EFP and EFL will be entertained. The foremost aim of the independent board is to promote credibility in this profession and obtain public confidence by providing a qualifying process for equine interaction professionals.
To learn more about equine therapy certification, read the following articles:
- American Hippotherapy Association
- National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy
- PATH International
- Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association