College of Veterinary Medicine |
PATH to Success

Healthy Animals, Healthy People, Healthy Planet

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

PATH to Success an equine assisted growth and learning program directed at healthy youth development started in 2008 as an extension of the Palouse Area Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) program.

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. 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.

This 9-week program features a curriculum 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. Trained volunteers assist in implementing the equine activities.

PATH to Success is offered both fall and spring semesters.  The cost is $150 for the 9-week session

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 MedicineProfessional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl. Certified Riding InstructorProfessional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning

What's Happening in the PPP?

PATH to Success : A Shared Journey

Summer equine facilitated learning program for parent/child team

  • Learn how to improve communication with your child
  • Learn problem solving skills as a parent/child team
  • Build teamwork with your child

PATH to Success Flyer (pdf)

For more information contact:

Sue Jacobson, College of Veterinary Medicine

Phyllis Erdman, College of Education

Washington State University