Equine Therapy Degree Programs

Equine therapy involves using horses to help people with disabilities develop skills like responsibility and self-awareness. Continue reading for information about training options, common coursework and certification. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Courses Will I Take?

A few schools offer programs for training in equine assisted psychotherapy and learning. Some students choose to major in an area of psychology with a focus in equine assisted therapies. As the need for the use of horses in therapy increases, so does the need for more streamlined education. You may find 2-year and 4-year programs increasingly available as this industry's needs are expanding.

Once enrolled in the program of your choice, you begin studying horse anatomy, methods of riding instruction and human psychology. Other classes will cover topics like child development, therapy horses training, equine facilitated learning and business concepts of therapeutic riding. Some schools have therapeutic riding centers open to the public, where you gain hands on experience helping patients with cerebral palsy, autism, behavioral disorders and scoliosis.

If you are interested in distance education, you may find some classes offered online. However, you can expect most of your classes to be offered exclusively on a campus. The on-campus emphasis is a direct result of the experiential nature of learning to effectively work with horses and patients.

Course TopicsChild development, therapy horse training, business concepts, equine facilitated learning
Therapy AspectsAssertiveness, responsibility, non-verbal communication
CertificationGiven by passing the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship exam

What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) requires the expertise of a horse professional and a therapist to aid in the treatment of individuals. EAP does not focus on horsemanship; it focuses on use of horses to develop skills such as assertiveness, non-verbal communication and responsibility. This is a short-term approach, relying on comprehensive and in-depth contact with horses to accelerate the therapy process. Equine assisted learning (EAL) focuses on teaching patients valuable life skills such as leadership, teamwork and self-awareness.

The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) certifies individuals of all levels for work in this field. A college degree is not necessary for certification. In an effort to promote equine assisted activities as a legitimate career choice, PATH recently added the option to enroll in a PATH-approved higher education program in lieu of attending the training workshops necessary for certification.

What Happens After Graduation?

You are now eligible to take the PATH course and exam online. After passing the exam, you must furnish PATH with your resume including experience in therapeutic riding and a letter of recommendation from a professional in this field. You are also required to be First Aid and CPR certified.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • The George Washington University

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  • Colorado State University Global

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  • Colorado Technical University

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  • Widener University

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  • American University

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  • American InterContinental University

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  • Saint Joseph's University

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  • Strayer University

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