SUNY Cobleskill announces the launch of a four-year bachelor of technology degree program in Therapeutic Horsemanship to commence in the fall of 2016.
The college will be the first in New York, and one of less than a dozen institutions of higher education across the country, to offer certification by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International as part of the degree program.
Therapeutic Horsemanship uses interaction with horses to help people with special needs overcome physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges.
Students in the program will study a broad range of subjects — from equine science to education and psychology — while working with other students, volunteers, clients, parents, teachers and therapists through partnerships with community organizations.
The depth of study will prepare students to pursue certification with PATH, enter the field of therapeutic horsemanship, or continue with graduate studies.
“Equine-assisted therapy is a novel approach that weds a passion for equine studies with a drive to help others. We’re proud to bring our expertise in horsemanship together with the humanities to offer this valuable new program in New York State,” said SUNY Cobleskill President Dr. Marion A. Terenzio.
The practice of Therapeutic Horsemanship uses the horse as a motivational tool for people with special needs, from young children to at-risk youth and veterans. With professional guidance, interaction with the animals helps improve listening skills, focus, sequencing, and coordination, as well as develop greater self-confidence, patience, and control.
The Therapeutic Horsemanship program is based at the SUNY Cobleskill Equine Center, which has stabling for 60 horses, a 100 x 200 indoor arena, and two 100 x 200 outdoor riding rings.
Students enrolled in Therapeutic Horsemanship have the opportunity to enhance their riding and horsemanship skills through a variety of riding and training courses and through participation in the Varsity Hunt Seat and Western IHSA Riding Teams.
The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship is an international nonprofit organization that promotes safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted therapy for people with special needs.
SUNY Cobleskill faculty will guide and assist students in obtaining “Instructor in Training” status through PATH, completion of PATH-required mentoring hours on campus, and will accompany students to off-site PATH Certification Examinations.