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Innovation, Leadership, and Passion -- A Tribute to Lori Garone As She Steps Down From Her Many Roles Within AHA, Inc.

Where does one start, to enumerate all the many and varied educational and board positions  Lori has held in AHA, Inc. over so many years. Lori has served on the AHA Board of Directors at two different times, the first time when AHA became independent and in the past few years. Lori has been Chairperson of the Education Committee both times that she has been on the board and has served on the board’s Executive Committee as Vice President. When AHA was still a section of NARHA, Lori was AHA’s Region 2 representative and has served on the Ethics and Advocacy and International Education Committees. Lori is a Hippotherapy Clinical Certified Specialist and a recipient of the 2013 AHA, Inc.  Barbara Glasow International Therapist of the Year Award. 

Lori became coordinating faculty for AHA in 2000. She has taught Level I and Level II courses, The Neuro Connection Course, The Horse Handling Course and developed and taught the Business Course, being able to teach the specialty Neuro course and the Horse specific courses showcases the breadth of Lori’s therapist and equine knowledge.

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Summary: AHA, Inc. Review of “Optimal Terminology for Services That Incorporate Horses to Benefit People”

Summary: AHA, Inc. Review of “Optimal Terminology for Services That Incorporate Horses to Benefit People” 

On December 1, 2020, the results of the “Optimal Terminology for Services in the United States that Incorporate Horses to Benefit People: A Consensus Document” was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (click here). The terminology work that took place over the course of two years aimed to develop optimal terminology among the various stakeholders that offer services including horses. Much progress was made in clarifying terminology for consistent use and for discontinuation.

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AHA, Inc.'s Position of the use of the Term Equine Assisted Services

The American Hippotherapy Association, Inc. (AHA, Inc.) was pleased to have participated in an effort to develop optimal terminology among the various industries that bring horses and humans together, spearheaded by PATH Intl. AHA, Inc. was represented in the terminology working group by Joann Benjamin, PT, HPCS. Laurie Schick, PT, HPCS and Nina Ekholm Fry, MSSc., CCTP were part of the summit group. AHA Inc. is grateful for the efforts of these long standing and dedicated members who advocated for appropriate terminology on behalf of AHA Inc. members. Terminology has been a long standing challenge; misuse of terminology, unclear terms, and inconsistency of the terms utilized in published research has resulted in challenges with reimbursement for clinical services and lack of clarity and safety for consumers. 


Terms such as “Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies” (EAAT) and now “Equine Assisted Services” (EAS) are problematic as they combine the various industries together under one name despite there being vast differences between the healthcare, horsemanship, and learning industries. These terms do not clarify for the consumer what service will be provided. Healthcare professionals are held accountable by state practice acts and regulations to clearly represent the service being provided in all communication. While the convenience of a unifying term is understood by AHA, Inc. for facilities that offer multiple services, the lack of clarity that this term will bring is equivalent to the challenges seen now with the term EAAT. As stated at the PATH Intl. Virtual Conference Opening Panel on Optimal Terminology on November 6th, 2020, AHA, Inc. does not endorse the use of Equine Assisted Services (EAS) as it relates to therapy in order to avoid potential confusion; we recommend that centers indicate which services they offer (horsemanship, learning and/or therapy). 

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Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology Incorporating Hippotherapy is a Safe Therapeutic Option

White Paper:  Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology Incorporating Hippotherapy is a Safe Therapeutic Option 

The American Hippotherapy Association, Inc (AHA, Inc.) promotes the integration of hippotherapy, or the purposeful manipulation of equine movement, into a client’s plan of care. AHA, Inc’s mission is to “improve lives by advancing education, best practices and resources for licensed healthcare professionals who incorporate horses in therapy”.1 Since its inception, licensed occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), and speech-language pathology (SLP) professionals have worked to ensure the safety of their clients during treatment.  This paper is intended to provide information on the safety of the incorporation of hippotherapy into therapy practice.  

Association-level Supports

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