Many therapists realize the importance of animal interactions in their clients’ lives. Bringing horses into the psychotherapy and counseling setting in an ethical and effective way requires a specialized skillset. The Equine-Assisted Mental Health (EAMH) practitioner certificate program is open to mental health professionals and graduate students who want to enhance their clinical practice through incorporating interactions with horses and the equine environment into psychotherapy. You will receive the education, training, and supervision/consultation necessary for ethical practice within your scope, including techniques tailored to your clinical interests and the clients you serve. 

Want to learn more about the EAMH practitioner certificate? Check out our Digication page!

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Boy grooming horse

An Emphasis on Human-Horse Interactions

The Equine-Assisted Mental Health Practitioner program emphasizes science-based understanding of human-horse interactions and equine behavior, welfare and training. You’ll learn to integrate interactions with horses and their environment into your clinical work, within your theoretical framework and population interests.

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    Theory, Ethics, Research and Knowledge

    A thorough understanding of theoretical foundations and state of research helps practitioners understand how equine interactions and the equine environment are included within psychotherapy and counseling. Advanced knowledge in this area underpins competent practice, builds connections to the larger mental health community and facilitates cross-disciplinary communication.

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    Delivering Treatment and Considerations for Your Practice

    Delivering treatment that effectively and ethically incorporates equine interactions as a therapy technique requires treatment planning specific to the populations and theoretical approaches the practitioner is trained in, intentionality, risk management, facility and environmental considerations, and sound business practices.

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    Equine-Related Competencies

    A core part of competent practice is in-depth understanding of horses, their welfare, behavior, needs and communication, as well as selection, assessment, management and training of therapy horses to create a healthy and sustainable environment for all involved. Careful consideration of the ethics surrounding horses as part of mental health services is necessary, both specific to the therapeutic environment and the therapist-client relationship, and to broader human-horse interactions.

Student with Horse

A Program for Working Professionals

The Equine-Assisted Mental Health Practitioner Certificate equips you with the ability to assess clients, horses and treatment sites for suitability. You will develop advanced skill in incorporating interactions with horses and the equine environment into your psychotherapy or counseling practice. Meeting client treatment needs in multiple ways will enhance and extend your work in an agency, private practice or other mental health setting. The program is designed for completion alongside full-time work or studies.


The certificate earns 52 continuing education units documented on a University of Denver transcript.


More than 115 therapists from 3 continents have completed the EAMH program since 2015.


There are 2 cohorts per year with only 13 students each to ensure a high-quality learning environment.

The program counts toward eligibility for independent national certification by the Certification Board of Equine Interaction Professionals (CBEIP).

Program Format

The 10-month certificate program includes courses, projects, three residential workshops, client work, and additional trainings. You will progress through the program sequentially together with a peer cohort — just 13 students — and complete coursework with weekly deadlines. Experiential activities and client work provides hands-on application of coursework. As you move through the program, faculty will offer guidance, feedback, and individual consultation.

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    Courses and Projects

    Courses are delivered online through Canvas, an award-winning learning platform. In addition to coursework, there are seven projects spread across the duration of the 10-month program. Assignments and projects are based on engagement – peer-to-peer and to instructor, and in your community.

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    Residential Workshops

    Residential workshops provide an opportunity for intensive hands-on skill building and feedback.

    • Residential Workshop 1 focuses on direct engagement in a variety of ways horses can be part of treatment while developing understanding about designing interactions that align with client goals. Principles of experiential practice are introduced and modeled.
    • Residential Workshop 2 focuses on skill development and other practitioner competencies such as risk management and treatment planning through role-play and other forms of experiential engagement.
    • Residential Workshop 3 focuses on advanced applications of equine interactions in therapy session with hands-on practice.
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    Supervised Client Work

    You’ll complete the required 50 hours of client work in your own community. Consultation/supervision will be provided by your site contact and by program faculty. You may complete all hours at a single site or split hours between multiple sites. It is possible to use hours with your own clients for this requirement.

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    Additional Training

    You’ll strengthen your knowledge and skill in a tailored way through 50 hours of additional training in mental health, horses and/or clinical work with equine interactions.

“The program continues to have an impact on my work. I keep going back to the content on attachment disorders, veterans and equine welfare, and the practical applications.”

Veronica Machado, Alumni, EAMH Certificate ’17
IHAC EAMH Alumni Veronica Machado

Upcoming Program Dates


Cohort 10-1

Cohort 10-2

Start of program

August 2024

October 2024

Residential Workshop 1 (in person)

August/September 2024

October 2024

Residential Workshop 2 (in person)

March/April 2025

April 2025

Residential Workshop 3 (in person)

June 2025

July 2025

End of program

July 2025 August 2025

Detailed Schedules


Cost and Requirements


  • Master or doctoral level mental health professional (licensed or pre-licensed), or currently enrolled in a graduate mental health-related program.
  • Eligible mental health professions include social work, mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, clinical or counseling psychology, psychiatry, and psychiatric nursing.
  • You must be eligible to provide psychotherapy as treatment.
  • Prior equine experience.

Program Fee

The program fee includes courses and learning materials, in-person workshops, and faculty consultation. The program fee does not include travel and lodging for required in-person workshops. An additional non-refundable $25 fee is due with your application.

The program fee can be paid all at once, or in installments. Payments are made online by credit/debit card (special arrangements can be made for third-party payers).

Program fees for 2024 cohorts:

Payments Equine-Assisted Mental Health Practitioner
Installment 1 (secures your space in the cohort) $1,630 (due at the time of initial program registration)
Installment 2 $1,630 (due before Course 2 begins)
Installment 3 $1,630 (due before Course 3 begins)

Application Information

Currently accepting waitlist applications for Fall 2024.

Director of Equine Programs Nina Ekholm Fry focuses her work on therapeutic human-horse interactions and horses in communities, including equine welfare and behavior. 

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Nina Ekholm Fry with Horse

Certificate Faculty & Staff

Nina Ekholm-Fry

Nina Ekholm Fry

Director of Equine Programs, Institute for Human-Animal Connection

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Maggie Lantzy

Maggie Lantzy

Adjunct Faculty

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Alumni Stories

Jennifer Dietrich
School Counseling in Western Colorado

Jennifer Dietrich uses the comprehensive knowledge and experiences she gained in the Equine-Assisted Mental Health Practitioner Certificate in her work as a school counselor and in private practice.

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Floerke standing next to a horse
Integrating Equines into Psychotherapy with Children

Jeanne Floerke, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in work with children with medical illnesses, earned the Equine-Assisted Mental Health Practitioner (EAMH) Certificate in 2022. In her practice, Floerke offers inpatient, pediatric consultation for medical teams and outpatient treatment for children and adults. 

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Macie Dominique with horse
EAMH Alumni Integrates Equines into Private Practice and Nonprofit Work

Macie Dominique, a 2017 graduate of IHACPro’s Equine-Assisted Mental Health Practitioner Certificate (EAMH), completely shifted her professional path after realizing her passion involved integrating animals into her professional work. In both of her professional settings, her therapeutic work is supported with equine, canine, and farm animal interactions.

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