Equine Specialist in Mental Health & Learning


Equine Specialist in Mental Health & Learning (ESMHL)

The Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning workshop is a three-day workshop which provides specialized training for equestrians who are interested in equine-facilitated mental health and/or equine-assisted learning programs.  This workshop is not designed to train educators or mental health professionals how to perform their role in equine-facilitated psychotherapy or equine-assisted learning sessions.

This workshop will be taught by some of the most experienced people in the field of equine-facilitated mental health and learning and will give the participants a chance to see what is current in the field.  Each course will be team taught by an equine professional in collaboration with a mental health professional working with several equines.  The workshop is a requirement of the ESMHL certification. It is beneficial to have horsemanship skills and experience when attending the workshop but it is not required. Horsemanship Skills Test: The skills test is held on day 4 following the ESMHL workshop.


Current ESMHL Workshops

Focus of Training

  • The specific role of the equine specialist when assisting or collaborating with human service providers
  • Design safe, mutually beneficial and effective activities to enhance participant outcomes
  • Determining specific equine handling methods
  • Understanding students with mental health and/or learning issues
  • Assessing the equine’s response to student behaviors and needs
  • To help prepare qualified participants to complete the PATH Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning Certification

Training is Designed for

  • Individuals 21 years of age and older with a high school diploma or GED
  • Equine professionals
  • Therapeutic riding instructors looking to collaborate with mental health and education professionals to incorporate equine-facilitated mental health and/or equine-assisted learning sessions into center programing
  • Those who wish to enhance their ability to work with mental health and education professionals and their clients


  • Equine handling skills comparable to those described in the PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor criteria, Pony Club C or CHA Level 1
  • Familiarity with PATH Intl. Standards and code of ethics

Beyond ESMHL- Next Steps!- Workshop

This workshop offers opportunities beyond the PATH Intl. ESMHL course and is designed for EAS professionals seeking an interactive, hands-on, educational, networking experience. It will enhance their understanding of the benefits of Equine Assisted Services and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and present more tools for future lessons or sessions.

PATH Int’l approved CEU’s = 2 ESMHL CR; 6 DE; 8CE


  • PATH Intl. ES Certified Professionals
  • PATH Intl. Therapeutic Riding Instructors
  • EAGALA Certified Professionals
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Education Professionals


  • Expand your toolbox of mutually beneficial equine-assisted activities that can be utilized in mental health and learning lessons or sessions
  • Collaborate with other professionals to develop treatment and education goals and to design safe and effective lessons or sessions
  • Discuss and select equines to work with different students/clients in sessions that we design and implement in the workshop, as well as selection of equines for particular clients/students at their centers
  • Observe equine communication and discuss its use in equine assisted learning and therapy
  • Explore language which can be utilized to describe equine assisted activities for marketing or recruitment efforts


  • PATH Intl. ESMHL

Current ESMHL Workshops

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