For those unfamiliar with equine therapy, it seems the most common question is whether or not the horse is going to be ridden. Complicating this question is that for most people, the exposure to equine therapy has been that of therapeutic riding programs. Naturally then, when hearing the words “equine therapy,” the assumption is that the horse will be ridden.
In fact, the term equine therapy itself can be a bit misleading, as it is used to describe both therapeutic riding, which of course is done for the physical rehabilitation of those with disabilities, and equine facilitated mental health programs, which are conducted for the psychological rehabilitation of those involved.
Making matters even more complicated, one of the largest governing bodies of equine therapy, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH), stemmed from the North American Handicapped Riding Association, (NAHRA), and now offers certifications for both the Therapeutic Riding Instructor (who would do mounted work with children with physical disabilities) and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (who would do unmounted work with those with psychological distress).