VHAT is a certified PATH International Member Center, ensuring that we follow established “best practice” guidelines for teaching students with disabilities. VHAT also favors the Centered Riding® model in its teaching approach and lessons.

PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) is widely recognized as the “gold standard” in delivering equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) to special needs students. With over 7,600 members, 4,600 certified instructors and 866 member centers worldwide, PATH has helped over 62,000 children and adults with physical, mental and emotional challenges find strength and independence through the power of the horse. PATH Intl. is a federally-registered non-profit, formerly know as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA).

Click here for more information about PATH International.

Pioneered by Sally Swift (1913-2009), Centered Riding® borrows from the practices of yoga and tai chi, relying on breath and body awareness to connect with the horse. Centered Riding, Inc. is a Vermont-based not-for-profit educational organization with worldwide membership. Its mission is to qualify instructors and to teach, maintain and promote the concepts of Centered Riding® in all disciplines of horsemanship. Instructors are individually certified to Level I, II, III or IV based on their training.

Click here for more information about Centered Riding®.

Therapeutic riding originated in Europe in the 1950s after Lis Hartel, an award-winning dressage rider from Denmark, took the silver medal in Grand Prix Dressage at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics despite being physically impaired by polio.

Medical and equine professionals throughout Europe soon began implementing programs using riding as a form of physical therapy. The concept spread and in 1969 the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (now PATH Int’l) was formed.