About Us


Welcome to the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals (CBEIP). The premiere independent certification for mental health professionals and educators who incorporate equine into their mental health, coaching or education practice.

The CBEIP is based in the U.S. with Canadian and Australian representation on the board. Examination is internationally accessible and applicants from all over the world are welcome. The CBEIP provided its first examinations in 2007.

The CBEIP Board of Directors actualizes the Mission of the Board.

Our Mission

The Mission of the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals (CBEIP) is to promote voluntary, independent certification by examination and verification of professional experience for those who incorporate equines into their mental health or education / coaching practice.

Our Values

The following are the major values endorsed by the Certification Board for Equine Professionals (CBEIP). These values statements outline the responsibilities and standards which those certified by CBEIP are expected to endorse and uphold.

Equine Welfare

Equine and humans are interacting in learning and therapeutic programs that facilitate healthy human-animal bonds to improve relationships, mental health and overall wellbeing. It is expected that such interactions will take place in a compassionate way that supports and respects welfare and safety considerations allowing for an environment in which both human and equine thrive.

Professional Standards

Those certified are committed to maintaining professional standards by staying up to date on with the most current methods and science through continuing education. It is expected that those endorsed by CBEIP continue in good standing within their individual professional role, along with adhering to the CBEIP overall Code of Ethics.


The certified equine professional has the obligation to behave in a professional and ethical manner, accountable for their actions and behaviors, at all times. The safety of all involved is part of that responsibility. The certified professional has a duty to give greatest consideration to their clients and equine partners, and to ensure that others also respect those persons and animals.


It is expected that all certificants will work to improve internal organizational integrity and empower integrity among our members by always seeking to improve the standards and processes of our certifications. Providing clear and effective support both during certification preparation and to certified members so that “pre- and post-certified” members continue to become industry leaders who uphold sound ethical standards and excellence in practice.


Connection will be enhanced by developing and strengthening a community CEIP network that provides all certificants the ability to be actively connected to the organization, its mission and to other CEIPs. Enhancing the network of human and equine/animal interaction services by developing intentional relationships with targeted organizations and institutes that are relevant to educational and mental health services, such as education and mental health associations, universities, and liability insurance companies.

Meet our Board of Directors

Laura McLaughlin

Laura McLaughlin


Laura McLaughlin is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed mental health counselor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Over the last 25 years, she has worked with individuals and families in residential, community, home-based, outpatient and nature-based settings

She owns North Star Guidance Center, Inc. a virtual group practice and Moonlight Ranch, Inc. a member of the IAHAIO International Association for Human-Animal Interaction Organizations. Moonlight Ranch hosts four licensed mental health professionals that provide individual and family therapy with animal interactions.

For the last 17 years, Laura has maintained Approved Supervisor Designation through the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. In addition, she is a member in good standing with the International Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation and the EMDR International Association.  In addition to clinical supervision, she currently incorporates equine interaction with psychotherapy treatment modalities such as EMDR, Deep Brain Reorienting, IFS, Mindfulness, DBT, CBT, Somatic Experiencing, Polyvagal Exercises, Relational, Experiential and Narrative therapy. She also offers Neurofeedback and Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy which are provided independently from traditional equine interaction.

Cathrin Wilbanks

Cathrin Wilbanks


Cathrin serves as a full-time faculty member at Asbury University in Kentucky, teaching in the psychology department and equine program.

Over the last year, Cathrin had the privilege of spearheading a new major in Equine Assisted Services at Asbury. The new major focuses on providing higher education in the field of EAS to students who seek to pursue a career in Adaptive/Therapeutic Riding, Equine-Assisted Therapies, or Equine-Assisted Learning. Developing this program has been a dream come true for Cathrin, who is very passionate about meeting the need for higher education services in the field of EAS for current and future practitioners.

Cathrin was born and raised in Germany and came to the US in pursuit of a BA that provided her with education and training in Equine-Assisted Mental Health at Asbury University and later on an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Equine Assisted Mental Health from Prescott College in AZ. Cathrin then continued to pursue her license as a professional mental health counselor in GA, practicing at community mental health agencies and non-profit programs, offering nature-based psychotherapy and experiential learning services that incorporate equines and other farm animals. Cathrin also assisted in the development of programs that desired to integrate nature-based and animal-assisted mental health services to their existing program offers. Cathrin is a CEIP-MH and also holds a certification in integrative mental health services (CIMHP)

When Cathrin is not working or playing at the farm with her co-worker and co-lecturer, Eclipse, a 25-year-old Shagya Arabian, you will find her somewhere adventuring in the great outdoors with her husband Mike, their two children Micah and Evie, and their trusted canine companions, Layla and Buddy.

Janet Schieferdecker

Janet Schieferdecker

MBA, CEIP-ED, Treasurer

Janet is a leadership development coach and facilitator who works with the help of horses. She is passionate about helping leaders and their organizations shift from reactivity and toxicity to creativity, positivity, and vibrancy.

Janet believes that the most essential way for the world to become balanced is for each of us to embody our highest values. And she has found that partnering with horses enables humans to create a strong body reference experience for how we really want to show up in the world.

In the 20+ years since she left her international corporate career, Janet has coached/trained hundreds of executives worldwide. She holds an MBA from London Business School, is an NLP Master Practitioner, a Certified Equine Interaction Professional (CEIP-ED), and a Horse Dream Licensed Partner.

Judith Emond

Judith Emond

BSW, AMHSW, Masters Family Therapy, Grad Cert Bereavement Counselling, CEIP-MH

Judith is the founder of Heart to Heart Equine Assisted Therapy a service providing psychological therapies in the presence of horses located in rural Victoria, Australia.  Judith is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AASW), Clinical Family Therapist (AAFT), Bereavement Therapist, and Equine Interaction Practitioner- Mental Health.

Judith has extensive counseling experience working with individuals, children, young people, and families and she provides professional clinical/external supervision to allied health and mental health practitioners.

Judith provides evidence-based treatments to deal with emotional and psychological difficulties drawing on a range of treatment modalities such as animal-assisted therapy, somatic experiencing, behavioural and cognitive interventions, relaxation, grounding and mindfulness strategies, social engagement, family relationship therapies, and bereavement interventions.

Including horses in her practice has greatly enhanced the outcomes of service users. Judith is extremely passionate about advocating the unconditional support and spiritual healing that horses offer humans.

Robin Risso

Robin Risso


Robin Risso received her master’s in counseling from Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA in 2000. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has been a clinical member in good standing with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Robin is an Approved Supervisor for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, coaching clinicians entering the field. Robin’s  has a strong focus in working from a relational perspective with adults, teens, and couples.

Areas of expertise include working with complex family systems, couples counseling, adolescent and transitional age issues. Robin utilizes a variety of therapeutic models including equine and animal interaction, neurofeedback, CBT, DBT, IFS, EMDR, experiential therapy, and discernment counseling for couples unsure of their path.

Intervention techniques are explored to ensure that treatment is always centered on the voice(s) of those she is working with.

Patty Adams

Patty Adams


Patty Adams is the Executive Director and Head Instructor at Spirit Ride Equine Assisted Learning Center located in Banner Elk, North Carolina. Having taught in the public school system as an educator for diverse learners for many years – she now enjoys calling the outdoors her classroom. 

Patty feels that the healing power of nature is closely linked to the success of the experiential education model utilized in Equine Assisted Learning (EAL). Her belief that, like all magic, ‘the trick to a student’s growth lies in the expertise and knowledge of the educator’ is the driving force in her continued passion for studying the language of Equus. She is committed to sharing the science and research-based results of EAL and was honored to be invited to present a TED Talk on the subject in 2019. 

In addition to Equine Assisted Services, Patty has enjoyed a career in Dance Education and Adjudication for numerous years. This understanding of movement and its close connection of body and soul assists her in creating meaningful and successful learning opportunities.

When not teaching with her best friend, Whoopdeedo and his herd-mates, she and her husband, Craig, can be found enjoying their six grandchildren, Parker, Hudson, Lennon, Elizabeth, Cameron, and Ellis.

Terry Chase

Terry Chase


Unique in her field, Dr. Terry Chase offers a deep and multi-faceted background of advanced education and hands-on experience in healthcare. Dr. Chase retired as Associate Professor of Nursing-Mental Health/Leadership at Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, Colorado in 2023.  Currently, Terry is a professional speaker-author-consultant offering individual coaching and group experiences for growth and transformation. Since 2010 she has created and facilitated multiple Equine-Assisted Learning programs for adults and children with disability, healthcare leadership teams, nursing students and individuals seeking personal growth through working with horses.

Terry is trained in an eclectic blend of theory and hands-on practice in the field of Equine-Assisted Learning, including the Certified Equine Interaction-Education (CEIP-Ed) status obtained through rigorous training and continued education requirements. Dr. Chase is a self-motivated, highly educated individual who has lived fully with spinal cord injury for 35 years active in all things outdoors, including kayaking, cross-country skiing, hand-cycling and whenever possible, riding horses.

Suzanne “Silver” Johnson

Suzanne “Silver” Johnson

Past CBEIP Board Chairs

Past CBEIP Board Chairs

Stephanie Holdenreid

Alyssa Aubrey

Nina Ekholm Fry

Libby Smith

Priscilla Marden

Nancy Waite-O’Brien

Molly DePrekle

Shanti-Hill Gauer

Don Zimmerman



Want to Join our Board?

If you are interested in becoming a board member or serving on a CBEIP committee, please contact us!