The PATH Intl. Credentialing Council (PICC) is pleased to formally announce updates to the new PATH Intl. Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification process to be implemented in July 2019! We appreciate the support and patience of the association in the process and believe we have developed procedures that will meet our goals of creating a rigorous, yet accessible, certification process that satisfies the National Council of Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accreditation standards. This new program will award certificants with the credential of “PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor” (CTRI). 

The PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI) is a voluntary, entry-level credential for individuals in the equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) profession who provide riding instruction and therapeutic value to people with disabilities. This may include mounted or unmounted work utilizing an equine. CTRIs will have met established criteria and standards of practice in the field. They will have demonstrated their knowledge of disabilities, equines, teaching and human-animal interactions. Individuals with this credential can be expected to perform as defined by the job description posted here

Below you will find a description of the overall process and the approved prerequisite requirements that have been designed and developed by the PICC. We have taken great care to design a process that anticipates and accommodates the needs of candidate diversity and accessibility to education of equine handling, management and experience working with people with disabilities. To do so, multiple application prerequisite fulfillment options have been created for some parts of the prerequisite requirements. These options also reflect the consideration for keeping the cost of certification lower than the previous application and testing process.

The process is:
1) Apply to the PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI) program NO LESS than 90 days prior to the intended date of sitting for the online certification exam.
2) Provide documentation of having satisfied all prerequisites WITH the application using the approved forms.
3) Upon approval of the application and prerequisite documentation, candidates will receive notification of eligibility to sit for the online certification exam at the authorized testing center of choice (the list of locations will be released in future communications).
4) Register for the online exam at the testing center of choice. Exams will be offered quarterly.
5) Successful completion of the online exam with a passing score within one year of eligibility notification will result in certification being granted. Testing must be completed within 12 months of application approval. This time restriction will be strictly enforced.

The certification prerequisite requirements needed to apply for the PATH Intl. CTRI program directly reflect the five main responsibilities of a therapeutic riding instructor that were identified by the membership in the Job Task Analysis (JTA): 
1) Equine handling skills,
2) Knowledge of equine management,
3) Teaching and communication of riding skills, 
4) Experience working with people with disabilities, 
5) Supervised instruction of therapeutic riding. 

Below is a summarized description of the prerequisite requirements for each of the five essential job tasks identified by the membership.

Part I: Equine Handling Skills : This portion of the application is intended to ensure that candidates meet at least the minimum required level of skills and experience in the direct handling of equines.

Must choose one option :
Option A recognizes candidates with significant past experience working under the supervision of a PATH Intl. Instructor (e.g., therapeutic riding instructor, vaulting, or driving instructor), specifically in a role that handles equines (e.g., leading, grooming, riding, training) as a volunteer, paid employee or other similar role. Attestation of candidate’s equine handling skills signed by a PATH Intl. Certified Instructor must be submitted. 
Option B recognizes candidates with significant past experience and participation as an active member of a recognized equestrian organization within the past 10 years during which the candidate directly handled equines (e.g., leading, grooming, riding, training). Attestation of candidate’s equine handling skills signed by an organization representative must be submitted. This option does not require the candidate to have supervised equine handling experience under a PATH Intl. Certified Instructor. 

Part II: Equine Management Skills: This segment is designed to screen for candidate’s knowledge in equine management (e.g., daily care and feeding, conformation, conditioning). *Note the difference from Part I, which requires equine handling experience such as leading, lungeing, riding, etc.

Must choose one option:
Option A recognizes candidates who have completed the PATH Intl. Equine Management Skills Checklist under the supervision of a PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI).
Option B recognizes candidates who have taken courses in equine management at an institution of higher learning, but who might not have worked under the supervision of a PATH Intl. CTRI. Qualifying coursework must reflect items from the PATH Intl. Equine Management Skills Checklist, and documentation (e.g., course descriptions, syllabi, transcripts) must be submitted for approval. 

Part III: Teaching and Communication of Riding Skills: To demonstrate ability to teach and communicate riding skills, each candidate will be required to submit a video of him- or herself teaching a prescribed riding pattern during a 10-minute lesson to a mounted rider. 

This component is different from the previous video submission option for certification or riding skills test, as it is not a demonstration of the candidate riding, but of teaching ability and communication, which is a more direct reflection of the JTA.

For this requirement, it is important to note that the JTA did not reflect the ability to ride an equine is an essential skill a minimum level CTRI would need to perform their job. However, we realize that the ability to ride and the knowledge acquired from that activity are necessary for teaching a student the fundamentals of riding at all gaits, equine behavior, mounting and dismounting, and other skills that ensure a safe and secure equine activity (safety is one of the JTA requirements). The new requirement will be more accessible to candidates who may not currently be able to ride, but have extensive riding experience and are well-qualified to teach riding. Therefore, the requirement to provide a video of a candidate instructing a rider how to perform certain skills while riding a pre-determined pattern will demonstrate the candidate’s level of teaching knowledge and skill.

There are no alternative options for Part III at this time.

Part IV: Experience Working With Individuals With Disabilities: This section is designed to ensure candidates have fundamental familiarity of interacting with populations with disabilities.

Must choose one option :
Option A is available for candidates with documented experience volunteering or working with people in a therapeutic riding setting. Candidates using this option will need to submit signed documentation from a PATH Intl. Certified Instructor, acknowledging the candidate’s experience working directly with people with disabilities at the program or center.
Option B is available for those who have documented experience working with people with disabilities while working or volunteering in settings such as a school, community program, assisted living center or other equivalent settings. Option B was developed to include people who have experience working with people with disabilities in settings other than therapeutic riding.

Part V: Supervised Instruction of Therapeutic Riding: Candidates must submit documentation of 25 hours of experience teaching a group therapeutic riding class under the supervision of a PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor in good standing, who has a minimum of 120 hours of teaching as a certified instructor. It is the responsibility of the candidate to ascertain that his or her supervising instructor meets the specific requirements listed in the formal application.

There are no alternative options for Part V. 

Additional Requirements (no exceptions) :
  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Obtain and provide proof of Adult & Child CPR and first aid certifications.
  • Complete the PATH Intl. Standards Exam with a passing score.

Any candidate facing hardship that might impede his or her ability to complete the prerequisites is encouraged to contact the PATH Intl. office for assistance.

In the coming weeks, we will be releasing the application paperwork and provide in-depth explanations of the required forms for each prerequisite, one at a time. Once the paperwork has been presented for all sections and options, we will provide sample applications to help create a comprehensive picture of the process.

Again, the PICC thanks you for your support as we continue our efforts, particularly during our intensive two-day meeting in Orlando. 

The PATH Intl. Credentialing Council