AHA, Inc. Alert: Are you putting yourself at risk?

Read More

Understanding AHCB

The American Hippotherapy Certification Board (AHCB) was created in 1998 to develop and maintain a method to validate the knowledge of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-­language pathology professionals using hippotherapy in clinical practice. This directly supports the AHA, Inc. mission: improve lives by advancing education, best practices, and resources for licensed healthcare professionals who incorporate horses in therapy. To provide evidence of advanced education and use of best practices, the ACHB’s certification tests were developed.

Read More

Joint Terminology Summit Update

The long-awaited summit for reaching consensus on baseline terms and definitions for Human-Horse Interaction Services and Methods took place in Denver, July 20th – 22nd.  Funded by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, seventeen dedicated people bringing different and varied perspectives, expertise and association representation, gathered together and, with the facilitation assistance of Zia partners, tackled the issue of inconsistent terminology. Laurie Schick and Nina Ekholm-Fry joined me in representing AHA, Inc. in the group of 17, who participated. Laurie and Nina did an outstanding job representing the viewpoints of the AHA, Inc.


Read More

Marketing Your Practice: Terminology Dos and Don’ts

With all the nuances in terminology in our industry, it is hard to know the right way to say
things in order to market yourself appropriately. With more ways than ever to reach a growing audience, clinicians who utilize hippotherapy as a treatment tool in their practice need to be cognizant of not only their print marketing, but their digital and social marketing as well. It is often hard as professionals to find the right balance between using the appropriate words to describe our profession and the tools we use, and using words that laypeople understand and use in everyday language.

Read More

Unlicensed Practice: How to File a Complaint with Your State Licensing Board

Unlicensed practice may be defined as a person claiming to perform activities of a licensed healthcare professional such as Physical Therapy, Speech Language Pathology, and/or Occupational Therapy. When you become aware of unlicensed practice in your state (or another) as a licensed healthcare professional you are ethically* required to report this activity. The best way is to contact that state’s Professional Licensing Board. The best process is to:

  1. Look up the Professional Licensing Board website for the profession the person is claiming to perform.
  2. Verify the licensure status of the individual you are researching.  Is the license current, expired, or unlicensed?
  3. Next find the location on the site to “File a Complaint”.
  4. Find the “Forms” section. You may need to print a form and mail it, or file electronically: this varies by state.
  5. Complete the form using as much detail as possible. If the unlicensed practice has a website or Facebook page promoting the unlicensed activity, take a screenshot for your records. You may need to provide a copy to the Licensing Board, as well.
  6. Most complaint forms may be completed anonymously, however, this makes the complaint hard to track.
  7. The State may choose to investigate.

It is also recommended that you contact the applicable state’s professional therapy organization(s), as they may take immediate action. State OT/PT/SLP associations have been know to write a cease and desist letter regardless of involvement with the licensing board. A list of the state associations for AOTA, APTA and ASHA are found on the AHA, Inc. website under the Resources tab.

Read More

A Tribute to our Pioneers- Nancy McGibbons, PT, HPCS and Claudia Morin, OT, HPCS

Read More

Clarity and Transparency- we can all play in the sandbox together

Are you  confused by terminology? Did you know that it can be really easy when we consider how we  practice with any tool we use in our therapy practice. Are you a swiss ball therapist or a PT, OT or  SLP? Are you a playground therapist, or  dressing therapist? Do you do sand box assisted therapy? Balance board assisted therapy ? Toy assisted therapy? …….I could go on and hopefully you answered “No, I  am a PT and the therapy is physical therapy or I am an OT and the therapy is occupational therapy or I am a SLP and the therapy is speech and language therapy.” 

Then why do we need the terms EAT, EAAT, ET?………we do not define what we do by the tools we use. We define  what we do and that is the therapy by our Education, Training and Professional Licensure to deliver the therapy as PT, OT and SLP’s and Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy are ” Protected Terms” to only be used by those with the Education, Training and Professional Licensure.
 It also makes it confusing for  our consumers. So lets take a look at how confusing it is and I guarantee that you too will see why clarity and transparency in the words and terms we choose can make it easier for everyone to have a clearer understanding of  how therapist deliver their skilled service. The choice of  diverse tools as developed  and implemented into a therapy plan of care after an initial therapy evaluation depends on the scope of practice of the licensed PT, OT or SLP as well as clinical expertise, training and education of the therapist.
Always remember tools do not define the therapy- the Education, and Professional license designates our scope of practice and that defines our therapy practice. Therapy tools, strategies and interventions are the ones that we are trained to skillfully apply because only as a trained, licensed and educated professional can the consumer receive this skilled service.
Please sit back and see this free webinar on Terminology to help you with clarity and transparency:

Click Here to see a free webinar presentation on Terminology and its effects on research and reimbursement that was presented at the HETI 2018 Congress in Dublin Ireland.

The “T” Word: A Riding Instructor’s Perspective


Read More

Purposeful Horseplay- Hippotherapy as a valuable physical therapy treatment tool

“A young woman we’ll call Sally seemed to have it all. She had been married for a year to the love of her life, had a new job as a teacher, and had many friends. The daughter of a pastor of a large church, Sally was popular and happy. But when she returned to her office one night to retrieve an item she’d forgotten, all that changed.”
Read the full article from PTinmotion here

Critical Inquiry- Considerations for Evaluating Research in Evidence-Based Practice

Our everyday practices are informed by our professional knowledge base and personal experiences. We blend this information to guide us and rationalize that our actions in practice are evidence-based. During our professional education, we learn that evidence-based practice (EBP) is “the integration of best research evidence (when available) with clinical expertise and patient values” (Sackett et al., 1996, p.312). In the absence of research evidence, we must rely on our clinical expertise and the values and preferences of our clients.

Read More

Addressing Issues Related to Professionalism and Ethics: What is Your Responsibility?


  1. A branch of philosophy dealing with values pertaining to human conduct, considering the rightness and wrongness of actions and the goodness or badness of the motives and ends of such actions.
  2. Systematic rules or principles governing right conduct. Each practitioner, upon entering a profession, is invested with the responsibility to adhere to the standards of ethical practice and conduct set by the profession.


Read More


“. . . when describing human-horse interactions in relation to human services. It is essential that terminology, as outlined, be used to promote clarity, consistency, and transparency in settings including marketing, research, and clinical documentation . . .

Read More

Certification Information from AHCB

The following is an article written by our Research Committee Chair Ellen Erdman It covers details about the AHCB including it’s history and function. 

The American Hippotherapy Certification Board (AHCB), was created in 1998 to develop and maintain a method to validate the knowledge of Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech/Language providers using hippotherapy in clinical practice.  This directly supports the AHA, Inc. mission “Improve lives by advancing education, best practices and resources for licensed healthcare professionals who incorporate horses in therapy”.  To provide evidence of advanced education and use of best practices, certification tests were developed.

Read More

AHA, Inc. Spotlight- Tina Rocco


Read More