Becoming a Certified Equine Interaction Professional

In the world of equine interaction, becoming a Certified Equine Interaction Professional is a significant achievement. This certification reflects a commitment to excellence, ensuring that professionals are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to facilitate effective and safe interactions between humans and horses.

Understanding the Role

To embark on this journey, aspiring professionals must first understand the multifaceted roles of the equine interaction professional. This involves not only a deep understanding of equine behavior but also the ability to facilitate therapeutic and / or educational experiences for individuals with diverse needs. 

Educational Requirements

Certification requires a foundational education. Depending upon whether you are looking to qualify for a CEIP-ED or a CEIP-MH, the coursework may be different. It may include counseling, mental health, social work, education, nursing, coaching, equine studies, horse anatomy, behavior, and the principles of equine interaction. The cumulative experience for each applicant may look different as many have taken a different path to get to this point. One thing is for certain, a solid understanding of safety and welfare protocols is crucial to ensure the well-being of both participants and equines.

Practical Experience

Hands-on experience is invaluable in the journey toward certification. Prospective professionals typically need to accumulate a specified number of hours working directly with horses and engaging in equine-assisted activities. This practical experience allows individuals to refine their skills and develop a nuanced understanding of the dynamics between horses and humans.

Specialized Training

Model based equine assisted services can offer certification programs which often include specialized training in three different areas: therapy, learning and horsemanship. Therapy can include, counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychotherapy and speech and language. Learning can include, equine assisted learning in education, equine assisted learning in organizations, and equine assisted learning in personal development. Horsemanship can include, adaptive riding or therapeutic riding, driving and interactive vaulting. These areas of focus provide professionals with the expertise needed to tailor interactions to the specific needs of participants, whether they be children with disabilities, veterans, individuals seeking a licensed healthcare professional or those seeking other means of personal development. For many reasons, it is important to understand and maintain a distinction between the professionals and the services they provide.  

Certification Process

The certification process typically involves a combination of written exams, practical assessments, and, in some cases, a supervised internship. This comprehensive evaluation ensures that professionals not only possess theoretical knowledge but also have the practical skills required to excel in their roles.

Professional Ethics

Certified Equine Interaction Professionals adhere to a strict code of ethics, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the welfare of both participants and horses. Ethical considerations and guidelines for professional conduct are integral components of the certification process.

Continuing Education

Certification is not a one-time achievement; it’s a commitment to continuous learning. Certified Equine Interaction Professionals engage in ongoing education to stay abreast of developments in the field, refine their skills, and maintain the highest standards of practice.


Becoming a Certified Equine Interaction Professional is a transformative journey that blends passion for horses with a dedication to improving the lives of others. As the demand for equine interaction in the areas of mental health and education continues to grow, certified professionals play a crucial role in ensuring the effectiveness, safety, and ethical standards of these interactions. Embarking on this certification journey is not just a career choice; it’s a commitment to making a positive impact through the powerful bond between humans and horses.


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