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Protecting Service Users and the Public

A key objective of the Register is to create and maintain professional ethics and standards that prioritise the health and wellbeing of clients and public and protects them from harm or injury in the field of Equine Facilitated Interactions.

Equine Facilitated Interactions can provide powerful and therapeutic benefit for service users and clients. The Register’s commitment is to make sure that everyone who might access the service can benefit from the best standards of practice and care.

The Register not only strives to set standards of practice, but also acts to protect public interest by providing a means by which service users and clients can safely raise concerns or complaints about services being offered or provided.

The Register is committed to the conditions of the Equality Act (2010) and expects all Practitioners to act with similar respect at all times. Read our Equality Diversity and Inclusion statement.  

Promoting professional standards

Raising and promoting standards across the field of Equine Facilitated Interactions is an important part of the work we do. We aim to provide resources and services to help our members develop and maintain effective and competent practice.

Practitioners are expected to maintain accountability, honesty, openness, integrity and respect throughout the provision of service. In support of this we have created a set of Ethical Principles with the purpose of guiding and inspiring Practitioners towards achieving the highest ideals of the profession. In establishing these principles we invite all Practitioners to consider their own practice with direct reference to each of these.

In applying to join the Register Practitioners also declare their compliance to a defined set of Professional Standards that set out to establish best operational practice and establish a foundation which protects the interests and wellbeing of the service users or clients. Similarly, they are expected to commit to the Athena Herd Foundation ethical framework for the treatment of horses.

Working with horses

The Equine Facilitated Interactions market in the United Kingdom has been growing significantly over the last decade. However, whilst people are generally aware of the benefits of therapeutic riding through the work of organisations such as Riding for the Disabled (RDA) in the United Kingdom, general awareness of ground-based Equine Facilitated Interactions for wellbeing and therapeutic benefit is more limited.

To find out more about what you might experience in such a session please read the short guide to Equine Facilitated Interaction sessions.

Maintaining a public register

The Register is a public record of professionals who deliver Equine Facilitated Interactions and in so doing meet or exceed our recommended minimum quality standards.

These standards cover minimum qualification requirements, supervision, continuing professional development and a contractual commitment to the Athena Herd Foundation Ethical Principles, Professional Standards and Ethical Framework for the Treatment of Horses.

Choosing a Practitioner who is listed on the Register offers service users and clients the assurance that their Practitioner meets expected standards of proficiency and ethical practice.

Find a Practitioner

Standards of Education and Training

The Register accepts applications from individuals who have met it’s Standards of Education and Training.

For courses to be recognised by The Register they must provide Practitioner training in Equine Facilitated Interactions that enables them to work with service users and clients safely, to a recognised level of professional standards, as well as with sensitivity to the needs of the horse(s) at all times.

Standards of Education and Training are currently defined as follows:

  • successful completion of the Athena Herd Foundation Level 4 Equine Facilitated Diploma; or
  • successful completion and proof of qualification for non Athena Herd Foundation training. These must be recognised regulated qualifications, at a minimum Level 4 (England and Wales, or local equivalent).

The Register maintains a list of recognised qualifications which is reviewed on a regular basis. Potential applicants are invited to enquire about the qualifications that they hold.

At this time there is no permitted definition of equivalence to recognised qualification.

Creating a safe space and committing to the ethical treatment of horses

It is important that all parties, clients, practitioners and horses are kept safe in these interactions. To find out more about creating and maintaining a physically safe-space for these sessions click here.

The Register also provides clear standards in respect of the Ethical Treatment of Horses engaged in this work. Practitioners are expected to commit to, and comply with, these standards at all times.

Service users or clients who feel that the horses engaged are not appropriately respected or supported within the sessions, or are more generally not properly cared for, can raise their concerns directly with the Register. Any concerns raised will be pursued with appropriate confidentiality.


All Practitioners must have their own complaints policies and processes in place and we encourage wherever possible service users and clients to seek resolution directly. However, we recognise that it will not always be resolved satisfactorily, or that service users and clients may not always feel comfortable raising concerns or complaints directly with Practitioners and as such complaints can be raised directly with the Register.  

If you would like support with a concern of complaint that you have please see how we might help you.

Alternatively, you might want to find out more about our complaints process.

All complaints received will be heard and acted on by our Professional Conduct Review Committee. We rely on service users, clients, the public and members to bring poor and unethical practice to our attention so we can take appropriate action, and ultimately protect the public and the reputation of the profession.

All complaints that are upheld by the Professional Conduct Review Committee are published on our Professional Conduct Notices page, where we believe it is appropriate to do in the interests of public protection.

Raise a complaint

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