Therapeutic riding centers: Unexpected benefits


  • Kathy L. Shapley, PhD
  • Perry F. Flynn, MEd
  • Sarah Raven, BS



therapeutic horseback riding, equine-assisted activities and therapies, recreational therapy, PATH international


The benefits of therapeutic horseback riding for clients has been shown to improve physical, emotional, and communication skills.1 However, there is no research examining the benefits of owning or operating a therapeutic horseback riding center. The purpose of this study is to understand the benefits of owning/working at a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International Certified Riding Center. A multisite case study using semistructured interviews was used to complete this study. Fifteen 1-hour interviews were collected from individuals who own or work at a PATH center. Three themes emerged: Rewards, Cultivating Community, and Elements for Success. The outcomes of this study may provide centers who have not sought PATH certification incentive to seek that level of accreditation.

Author Biographies

Kathy L. Shapley, PhD

Speech Language Pathology, Mississippi University for Women, Columbus, Mississippi.

Perry F. Flynn, MEd

Communication Disorders, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina

Sarah Raven, BS

Communication Disorders, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina


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How to Cite

Shapley, PhD, K. L., Flynn, MEd, P. F., & Raven, BS, S. (2018). Therapeutic riding centers: Unexpected benefits. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 17(3), 9–14.