The Challenge of Finding a Curriculum

Many people contact me for information about an educational path to the profession of equine therapy. At the present time there is no college level program in the US that offers a degree in equine therapy. I have always felt that a college education was essential to the equine therapist because one must be able to read and understand the scientific literature that supports this profession. Therefore, I have always recommended that one pursue a degree in athletic training to get the necessary background knowledge in exercise physiology, kiniesology, anatomy, sports medicine, the use of physical agents, and sports rehabilitation. This curriculum is, of course, in human sports, not equine, but it was the educational route I followed and it was an excellent preparation.

Horsemanship is the other essential piece to the whole picture, and for this, nothing replaces experience. There are workshops and clinics going on all the time across the country that focus on the skills of various equestrian disciplines, as well as on natural horsemanship. Understanding the nature and language of the horse is paramount for a safe and effective equine therapy practice. Exposure, indeed immersion in the activities of an equestrian discipline will give the equine therapist credibility with the horse owners and veterinarians with whom you must communicate.

Short Courses and Continuing Education

TALLGRASS ANIMAL ACUPRESSURE INSTITUTE has led the way in providing short courses that now comprise a complete curriculum in acupressure for horses and small animals. They can be reached by phone at 303.681.3033 or visit their web site at The founders of this excellent program have joined with Hocking College to form the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage (NBCAAM). This board was founded in the spring of 2008, for the purpose of establishing and to uphold professional standards for animal acupressure and massage practitioners.

HOCKING COLLEGE has recently developed an associate degree in applied science in Equine Health and Complementary Therapies, pending the Ohio Board of Regents Approval. To learn more about this program visit

EQUINOLOGY, INC has offered a long list of courses in massage, complementary modalities and equine health care for the past 15 years. Their courses can be taken for personal interest or in a series that culminates in a certification. Their web address is

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