College of Veterinary Medicine

PATH to Success

PATH to Success

PATH to Success was featured in the July 2010 Newsletter
of the American Psychological Association,
Animal-Human Interaction: Research & Practice Section


What's Happening in the PPP?

PATH to Success : Fall Equine Program
  • For children, grades 6-8
  • 9 Week Course, Mondays 3:45-5:00
  • September 15 - November 17
Information and application meeting
for the Fall Equine Program
When: Monday, August 25, 7:00 – 8:00 pm
Where: Lincoln Middle School Library

For more information contact:
Sue Jacobson, College of Veterinary Medicine

Phyllis Erdman, College of Education

PATH to Success is an equine assisted growth and learning program that is directed at healthy youth development. It was started in 2008 as an extension of the Palouse Area Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) program at Washington State University. Our program is conducted with the help of 4 gentle equine partners.
The goal of PATH to Success is to improve children's wellbeing by enhancing their social competence and ability to respond to common life stress. We believe that all children encounter stressful events throughout the normal developmental process. This includes situations at school and home, many of which are part of everyday life (e.g., academic and athletic demands, peer pressure, sibling rivalry). Additionally, some children are exposed to more severe stressors (e.g., family instability due to parental job loss, financial pressure, illness and family conflict). It is our goal to help children develop strengths and skills to respond to these stressors in a positive and productive way that is built on resilience, competence, and the ability to make good choices.
This10-week program features a curriculum and lesson plan that is centered around a series of weekly themes and activities. Themes are varied (e.g. Friendship/Boundaries, Respect, Teamwork) and serve as a tool to help our participants focus on a common goal for that week's lesson. Activities include a series of recurring activities that emphasize basic horsemanship skills and knowledge of horse behavior (e.g., grooming, horse care, horse body language), as well as those that are theme specific.
Although the curriculum features varying lesson themes, each lesson is designed around a set of touch points that are consistently infused. Touch points inform activities targeted towards increasing self-and social awareness, self-management, goal-directed behavior, relationship skills, personal responsibility, decision making, and optimistic thinking. We focus on improving these social competencies as they contribute to improved coping skills and hence reduced stress in children.
Participants of our program are 11 years, or older, and physically-able.   Each session is conducted under the supervision of an experienced PATH Intl.-certified riding instructor and a mental health counselor. Four volunteer horse specialists assist in implementing the equine activities. Fees for this program vary depending on the availability of external funding to support program costs.


Washington State University Program Staff

Phyllis Erdman
Associate Dean
College of Education
Family therapist and facilitator

Sue Jacobson
People-Pet Partnership/PATH Program Coordinator
College of Veterinary Medicine
North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) certified instructor

Last Edited: Aug 18, 2014 8:52 AM   

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