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Magnum Opus 06-06-2013 05:36 AM

Timeline of certification/accreditation
Hey, guys! So maybe I'm easily confused. (Okay -- I'm definitely easily confused.) But I'm having a hard time sorting out the timeline of starting a new therapeutic riding center.

The situation now is this: My best friend owns a horse farm where we both live and work. We would like very much to begin a therapy program. I'm a certified special education teacher and we both have experience teaching riding lessons. We have at least two horses who have a lot of potential as therapy horses, with the right training, and we have a fabulous trainer who can help us get them there.

We don't live in an area that has a lot of PATH-certified programs for us to volunteer with. The commute is prohibitive. A while back, I volunteered once a week for about six months in a PATH program. I was a leader and side walker and helped develop strategies for dealing with behavioral challenges, as I knew the kids from my day job. My friend who owns the stable has not participated in a program yet.

We have a couple of options available for certification. We can do the online courses and then commute to a center for our supervised hours, or we can go ahead and get the commute over with by taking therapeutic riding classes at a university that isn't TOO far away. Their program culminates in PATH certification.

Here's what I don't understand from perusing the PATH website:

At what point in the process do we start working on our center? Do we need to be certified before we start getting our center off the ground? Are there things we should be doing now? Of course we're working with our therapy horse prospects and as we make improvements to the facility, we're doing so with an eye for accessibility. But at what point do we actually start the process of registering our center? When do we start taking on students? It seems to me that every time I read how to do one step of the process, there is a previous step referenced, and when I go back to that previous step and read about it, there is a previous step referenced, and I never find the beginning of the process!

If there is like a flow chart out there somewhere of how this works and in what order, that would rock my world.


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