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Qualification Requirements

Teams must meet the following standards to take the qualification evaluation

  • Handler or Affiliated Organization must have a current METSA membership.

  • Handler must be able to read their equine's non-verbal communication and recognize when the equine is stressed, anxious, concerned, overstimulated, fatigued or not feeling well.

  • Equine must be at least 1 year old at the time of evaluation.

  • Handler must have owned the equine for at least six months.

  • Equine must be current on vaccines and coggins required by the state in which the equine resides and the state in which the team will be evaluated.

  • Equine must have a good demeanor and no history of aggressive behavior such as  biting, kicking, or striking out.

  • Equine must demonstrate good basic obedience skills.

  • Equine must be halter broke and respond reliably to commands, welcome, not merely tolerate, interactions with strangers.

  • Equine must be potty trained or accustomed to wearing a potty bag.

  • Equine must be comfortable wearing appropriate equine equipment such as rubber soled shoes, therapy vest and costumes if they will be wearing these items during equine facilitated activities.

  • Both equine and handler should work well as a team and enjoy interacting with strangers.

Note: Junior teams (18 years of age and under) may qualify at an Intermediate Level I or II and requires adult supervision for equine activities.

To pass the qualification evaluation the team must:


Intermediate Level I
  • The team must score a minimum of 28 points on the evaluation 

Advanced Level II
  • The team must score a minimum of 59 points on the evaluation

Masters Level III
  • The team must score a minimum of 70 points on the evaluation

  • The handler must be 21 years of age or older.

  • Team must complete 20 visits without incident and Handler must have a letter of reference from 3 facilities.

  • The handler must log 20 hours minimum of academic education and/or hands-on training, specific to equine behavior or horsemanship including the following, or have a current EAGALA or PATH certification:  

    1. Groundwork experience

    2. Horse psychology

    3. Reading horse body language

  • Handler must complete a combined 20 hours minimum of the following activities within the past 5 years participating in EAT, EAP, EAL, traditional therapy, or education; or have a current EAGALA or PATH certification. At least 10 of the 20 hours must be in an EAL, EAP, or EAT setting or equivalent training in EAL, EAP, or EAT. A letter of reference or certificate of completion is required from education provider, mental health professional, behavioral therapist or licensed therapist. 

  • The handler must have current adult & child CPR and first aid certifications. (100% online courses accepted)

Qualification Levels

We recommend teams visit the appropriate facilities based on the teams qualification level.   

Intermediate Level 1

This Qualification allows the horse to visit facilities that are typically quiet in nature and will have high/low staff involvement. (see matrix) i.e. Assisted Living facilities, Ronald McDonald house, small senior care centers.

Advanced Level II

This Qualification allows the horse visit facilities that are typically more active in nature. Most likely have multiple sensory distractions and will have high/low staff involvement. (see matrix) i.e Schools, Children’s Hospitals, Veterans Facilities

Master Level III

This Qualification allows the horse visit facilities that are typically expected to be extremely active in nature. Most likely have constant sensory distractions and will have high/low staff involvement. (see matrix) i.e Hospital Recovery, Dementia Facilities, Schools for Gifted children

Team Qualification Matrix.png
* Junior teams require adult supervision

Definition of Terms

Staff Involvement:

The level of staff involvement during your visit.

High Staff Involvement:

Staff will stay for the entire visit and may help with activities.

Low Staff Involvement:

Staff may not be present during the entire visit.

Quiet Activity:

Facility has few distractions or loud noises. Clients generally stay seated or lie in a bed. People talk softly.

Moderate Activity:

Facility is somewhat active, clients may move around, using walker, wheelchairs, or canes. Facility may have soft music and you may hear laughter and voices and some noises from machines.

Active Activity:

Facility may have a high level of activity and many distractions and loud noises. Clients may be mobile and tend to move around frequently. You may hear noises, music, machines, and intercom systems and notice a higher level of energy.

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