Frequently Asked Questions

My current PT (or OT, or SLP) recommended hippotherapy, what exactly does that mean?
The term hippotherapy refers to how occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology professionals use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement to engage sensory, neuromotor, and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes.  In conjunction with the affordances of the equine environment and other treatment strategies, hippotherapy is part of a patient’s integrated plan of care.

How can I become a certified hippotherapist?
The term “hippotherapist” is not used in the United States. Individuals are identified by their profession of licensure: OT, PT, SLP.  For example, Andrea is a physical therapist who incorporates hippotherapy into her clinical practice.

How do I start integrating hippotherapy into my clinical practice?
For the therapist:  Begin with appropriate training and education through AHA, Inc. coursework. Find a mentor to assist you in your training. Develop a working relationship with an appropriate equine facility that can provide the staff and equine resources necessary, unless you are developing your own. Market your service to your referral sources and identify those clients who are appropriate for this treatment strategy. AHA, Inc. also has a business course that can help you get started.

For the facility administrator:  If you are currently affiliated with a consulting therapist in your adaptive riding program find out if they are interested in acquiring the training to start this service. If not, you can search the AHA, Inc. website on the “Find a Therapist” tab to locate a qualified therapist in your area. While this service will remain separate from your other programs, patients may progress to levels that are appropriate for transition into your adaptive riding/driving programs.

How do I make a donation?
Click here to make a donation to AHA, Inc. and support “treatment with the help of the horse.”  If you are interested in 2017 Conference Sponsorship, Legacy Giving Opportunities and/or setting up recurring donations please send an e-mail to Jacqueline Tiley, AHA, Inc. Executive Director, jtiley@theahainc.org.

I am confused by terminology, what is EAT?
EAT stands for Equine Assisted Therapy, click here to see AHA, Inc.’s “Terminology Paper.”

Where do I find educational courses that would allow me to start integrating hippotherapy into my clinical practice?
As a basic foundation, AHA, Inc. best practice statements recommend taking both Level I and Level II Treatment Principles courses.

Level I Treatment Principles is a four-day course designed for therapists new to incorporating hippotherapy into their plan of care (OT, PT, SLP, COTA, PTA, and SLPA) and their team members.  Lecture/practicum format including hands-on learning with horses.  Pre-requisite: AHA, Inc. online “Intro to Equine Skills.,” click here to sign-up for this course now.

The Level II Treatment Principles course is an advanced level four-day course focusing on treatment plan development and knowledge necessary for effective use of equine movement.  Lecture, discussion, collaborative work, and actual patient treatment are included.  This course is for licensed therapists only.  Pre-requisite: AHA, Inc. Level I Treatment Principles course.  Click here to learn more about all of AHA, Inc.’s courses.

Can I get CEU’s if I attend your Level I and Level II courses?
Because PT, OT and SLP CEU’s are all approved independently please refer to the specifics by specialty.  AHA, Inc. courses are not currently approved for CEU’s at a national level.

Occupational and physical therapy practice boards approve CEU’s by state.  Some hosting facilities may have applied to their state boards. If it is not listed on a course brochure it is recommended you check before assuming you can get CEU’s in a given state.  California’s PT Board has approved our Level I and Level II Treatment Principles courses.

AHA, Inc. is not a provider of CEU’s for speech – language pathologist at this time.

How do I become certified?
AHA, Inc. is an educating organization and provides educational opportunities in Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT).  The American Hippotherapy Certification Board (AHCB) offers two different exams.  If you are interested in sitting for one of the AHCB certification exams to obtain your credentials contact them directly. Follow this link to the Hippotherapy Certification Exam, open to those with 2,000 hours of professional experience, and the Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist Certification Exam, known as the HPCS, open to those with greater than 6,000 hours of professional experience.  Visit the AHCB exams website or contact the AHCB board chair, Carol Huegel, directly for details at hippopt@aol.com.

Does AHCB have their own website?
AHBC launched their own website this year, 2016.  The link is www.hippotherapycertification.org.

What is my member number?
Please check your annual membership renewal email for your membership number.  If you cannot locate this, email Seana Pratt our Membership Coordinator at spratt@theahainc.org.

What is my password to log into the Member’s only area of the AHA, Inc. website?
Click the log in button on the top left corner of the home page of the website.  Under the log-in click on “Lost Password” and it will ask for your email or user name, then send you a new password.  The AHA, Inc. office staff cannot reset your password, if you forget your username or email the staff can assist with that information.  Passwords must be reset through the “Lost Password” link.

Why doesn’t AHA, Inc. list Level I and/or Level II Therapist after my name on their “Find a Therapist” listing of the website?
Therapists are listed according to location, name, licensure, and any additional credentials. Level I and Level II denotes AHA, Inc. educational courses not credentials.   Contact American Hippotherapy Certification Board (AHCB) for information on credentialing exams via their board chair Carol Huegel at hippopt@aol.com.