The St. Andrews University Ride Like a Knight program has received Premier Accredited status from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International.
“This is a process we go through every five years,” said Liz Dulski, director of Ride Like A Knight. “Premier is the top level of accreditation and we are proud to be able to continue that tradition of excellence with the therapeutic horsemanship program at St. Andrews.”
Accreditation through PATH, Intl. is a voluntary peer review process during which trained volunteers visit and review that the center is run in accordance with the PATH Intl. standards.
“The accreditation procedure starts with attending a Standards course, either in person at a conference or online,” said Pebbles Turbeville, director of therapeutic horsemanship at St. Andrews.
As PATH, Intl. recommends that two representatives attend, Turbeville and Dulski attended the Center Accreditation Training (CAT) course provided during the regional conference held in Virginia last year.
“The CAT course helps you update standards and practice proper risk management,” Dulski said. “Each center gets to create their procedures based on that information and the accreditation is about making sure that you do what you say you are doing.”
After the course, the next step is to submit a form to the association for a review.
“You schedule a date with two site visitors randomly selected by PATH,” said Turbeville. “The visitors come to view the facility and watch a lesson while also randomly selecting riders and volunteer folders to check for compliance. Then the staff and visitors go through the center’s standard book for scoring of compliance.”
The process was a success for St. Andrews as Ride Like a Knight passed the accreditation visit with a score of 98 percent.
“The visitors were very impressed by our facility,” said Dulski. “Our barn staff was a big help in making sure that we presented the best way possible and our volunteers were really able to show what Ride Like a Knight is about.”
As a Premier Accredited Center, St. Andrews receives a variety of benefits, such as recognitions in publications, quality assurance for riders, and promotional support through PATH, Intl.
The association was founded in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) to promote safe and effective therapeutic horseback riding throughout the United States and Canada. Today, PATH, Intl. has nearly 800 member centers and over 6,300 individual members in countries all over the world, who help and support more than 42,000 men, women and children with special needs each year through a variety of equine-assisted activity and therapy programs.