Hippotherapy Treatment Principles – Part I 

Please read the information below before registering

*Registration is limited

  • It is a pre-requisite for attending an AHA, Inc. Hippotherapy Treatment Principles – Part II Course.
  • It is the first of two courses required for the AHCB Certification Exam and is recommended for the HPCS certification.
  • This course is currently required by PATH Intl for PATH Intl Registered Therapist status.

This course has been approved for continuing education credits by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Intended Audience:

This course is designed as an entry-level course for therapists (PT, PTA, OT, COTA, SLP, and SLPA) to learn how to utilize hippotherapy as a treatment tool/strategy. Hands-on practicums with horses are included.  Recorded attendance and completion of the course evaluation form is required prior to receipt of the course certificate of completion.


Successful completion of the Equine Skills Test and Online Learning Module. You will be automatically enrolled in the Equine Skills Test once you have purchased the Part I course. 

Course Overview: This course is an overview of the principles of hippotherapy,  designed for therapists  (PT,  OT, SLP, PTA, COTA, SLPA) interested in utilizing hippotherapy in their practice. The course is equivalent to 4 days total instruction – the first day day of the course consists of an on-line study component of approximately 4 1/2 hours of study to be completed prior to first day of the three days of in person instruction. The on-line study consists of foundational information required for an understanding of the principles of hippotherapy. 

Please see approved faculty for this course at the bottom of this page.  Click on their name to link to a full bio and disclosures.

Part I Learning Objectives and Outcomes: Occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists taking this course will gain an understanding of the rinciples, history, theory and research of the application of hippotherapy –skilled equine movement–as a treatment strategy/tool within a plan of care (POC) in OT, PT and SLP practice.  Therapists will observe and analyze a therapy treatment with skilled equine movement, and discuss the adaptive responses in the patient. Therapists will be introduced to skilled equine movement and the effect of the horse’s conformation and movement on the systems of the human body for implementation in a POC for a variety of diagnoses and patients.  The following learning outcomes will be assessed during participation in active learning activities, learner demonstration of skills during practicums, and class discussions and small group work.

Learning Outcomes for Hippotherapy Treatment Principles – Part I:

  • Therapists will be able to define the term hippotherapy, skilled equine movement and identify at least 3 primary principles of hippotherapy.
  • Therapists will be able to list and describe at least 5 key considerations in patient evaluation for determining if hippotherapy, skilled equine movement, should be included in a patient’s Plan of Care.
  • Therapists will be able to list and describe at least 6 precautions/contraindications that should be considered when deciding on the inclusion of hippotherapy, skilled equine movement into a patient’s plan of care and describe appropriate safety procedures during intervention.
  • Therapists will be able to list and describe the 5 primary parameters with respect to matching patient impairment, size and functional limitation and horse size, gait and temperament for optimal and safe incorporation of skilled equine movement into a POC to maximize functional outcomes.
  • Therapists will be able to describe the effect of skilled equine movement on at least 3 different patient diagnoses as related to their systems impairment, participation restriction and functional outcomes through participation in a treatment planning practicum.
  • Therapists will demonstrate correct documentation in writing treatment and progress notes related to the current use of equine movement in OT, PT and SLP practice.
  • Therapists will be able to list 3 examples of how the therapist using skilled equine movement incorporates the AHA Best Practice Guidelines into practice.
  • Therapists will be able to cite 3 current research articles applicable to hippotherapy, skilled equine movement.
  • Identify the professional relationships between AHA, Inc. and its educational offerings, PATH Intl., and the AHCB by giving 3 examples of how these relationships impact Best Practice when incorporating hippotherapy as a treatment tool into a therapy plan of care.

Course Schedule:

Online Study Module (day one of the complete 4-day program) – 1st day of training for this course is to be completed  three (3) days prior to the in-person training start date.

Tentative In-person training schedule:

Day 1
7:30am       Registration & Introductions – Discuss therapy and equine background
8:15am       Review Objectives (need for continuing education credits) Hippotherapy – Rationale and the AHA description, Horse Gaits, Desirable Qualities of Equine Motion,
Aspects of the Horse’s walk that can be manipulated, Training and Maintenance, Horse Handling
9:15am       Conformation and Movement Analysis of 3 – 4 horses
10:15am      BREAK
10:30am      Human and Horse Movement Interaction Posture and Balance
12:30pm      LUNCH
1:15pm       Tour of facility Tour of Facility and Tack Room
1:30pm       Horse Handling and Safety Demonstration
2:15pm       Leading  Demo  and Practicum
3:15pm       BREAK
3:30pm       Mounted Practicum #1 opportunity to experience 3 dimensions of motion
4:30pm       Review and Discussion
5:00pm       Day Concludes

Day 2
8:00am       Faculty demonstration  and Participant practicum – Motor Tasks and Impairment
10:00am      BREAK
10:15am      Theory of Dynamic Systems
11:00am      Practice Transfers with horses – Practice Emergency procedures, Side walker training, working with Horse Handler
12:00pm      LUNCH
12:45pm      Mounted Practicum # 2
1:45pm       Review of mounted practicum as a treatment session Horse Selection and Patient Selection; Unique Contributions of the Horse; Position Options and Alternative Positions
3:15pm       BREAK
3:30pm       GROUP WORK – Treatment Teams develop treatment plan for a paper patient
5:00pm      Day Concludes

Day 3  
8:00am       Treatment Plan Presentations – Group Discussions
9:15am       Practicum – Position Options & Alternative Positions
10:45am      BREAK
11:00am      Review of ICF model
12:00pm      LUNCH
12:45pm      Patient Demonstrations
2:00pm       Discuss Patient Demonstrations and their observations; Review AHA and PATH Relationship; AHCB and credentialing; Review other AHA Courses;
Final Question and Answer discussion
3:00pm       Day Concludes


Course Pricing:

Early registration (closes three weeks prior start of course)

$875.00 for AHA, Inc. Member

$975.00 for Non-AHA, Inc. Member

General Registration

$950.00 for AHA, Inc. Member

$1,050 for Non-AHA, Inc. Member

Webinar and On-Site Practicum Registration 

$655.00 for AHA, Inc. Member

$755.00 for Non-AHA, Inc. Member


Register Here: 

 Webinar Courses 


April 8-9, 2021 12:00 pm - 4:30 pm EST  

Faculty: Lisa Harris, MSVS, PT, HPCS & Karen Gardner, MOT, OTR, HPCS

April 20- May 1, 2021 12:00 pm - 4:30 pm EST  
Faculty: Meredith Bazaar, MA, CCC-SLP, HPCS & Joann Benjamin, PT, HPCS

May 21, 2021 2:00 pm - 6:30 pm EST & May 22, 2021 10 am - 2:30 pm EST 
Faculty: Mary Helene Chaplin, PT, HPCS & Lesley Lautenschlager, MS, OTR, HPCS
Register Here 


*Registration is limited

* Certificates of attendance will be provided to attendees at the conclusion of the course.  Contact hours vary depending on the course.  No certification will be granted upon completion of an AHA, Inc. course.


AHA, Inc. is an AOTA Approved Provider of continuing education. Provider #: 11414. Full attendance at this course qualifies for 25.5 contact hours or 2.55 CEUs in the Category of Domain of OT, Occupational Therapy Process, and Professional Issues . The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA. Course Level: Introductory.


This program is offered for 2.55 ASHA CEUs (Introductory level, Professional area).

A Certificate of Attendance will be provided.  Contact hours are 25.5.  There are no continuing education credits for the Equine Skills pre-requisite.  Students will receive continuing education credits for the one day online module.

Cancellation  Policies:  AHA,  Inc. reserves the right to adjust course dates, times and faculty to accommodate unforeseen circumstances including cancellation of the course due to insufficient registration up to 3 weeks prior to the scheduled start date. Notification will only be made to advanced registrants. Neither AHA, Inc. nor the course location is responsible for any expenses incurred by registrants due to such adjustments.

Participant cancellation requests must be made in writing no less than 3 weeks prior to the course start date to receive a refund, minus a $100 administrative fee. No refunds will be given for cancellations received within three weeks prior to the start of the course.

*** Please do not make travel arrangements until you receive confirmation from the AHA, Inc. office

Faculty who are vetted to teach this course are:

You may read their bios and disclaimers by clicking on the individual’s name.