College - Author 1

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Department - Author 1

Animal Science Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Animal Science



Primary Advisor

Mark Edwards


Equine-assisted activity and therapy incorporates physical, mental and language treatments through equine movement to remediate medical conditions or impairments in clients. For all the opportunities that equine-assisted therapy provides there is little education on the practice. The focus of this project is to present the process, benefits and limitations of adopting an equine-assisted therapy course at California Polytechnic State University so it may be used as a reference for future course proposal.

Objective: The aim of this proposal is to offer insight into Equine-assisted therapy, understanding how to integrate the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International curriculum into the university and interpret the process of creating an equine-assisted therapy course at California Polytechnic State University. PATH International provides three levels of membership for higher learning institutions that allow for the education and certification of therapeutic riding. Cal Poly must complete a course proposal, apply for Level I PATH membership and create a course based on equine-assisted therapy.

Three aspects of this proposal pose a challenge for the university: appointing a faculty member to teach the course or hiring a specialist; ensuring that a sufficient number of students are interested in taking the course; and determining if the course would be a worthwhile investment for the university.

Although there are challenges, they are minimal and the addition of a Level I PATH course at Cal Poly would not only benefit the students but also attract additional attention to the university. Equine-Assisted Therapy is an ideal candidate for a Cal Poly course because it encompasses the true modus operandi of the university - “learn by doing.”