European Equine Assisted Therapy Network (EEATN)

Inspiration for learning and sharing through open-minded collaboration

1st meeting of European Hippotherapy Association Network

Prague, 5 – 7 April 2019

Věra Lantelme, Chair of The Czech Therapeutic Riding Association organised the first European Hippotherapy Association Network at Sdruzeni Sraz EAAT training centre in Prague with the aim to bring practitioners of hippotherapy together in order to get agreement over the definition of hippotherapy, to develop an approach for recognition of hippotherapy, to share and exchange good practice and education models and to set up a website for networking.

Therapists from different professions came together, e.g. Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Psychologist as well as Association Representatives, Sanna Mattila-Rausiainen, President of HETI and Anton Saratov, Board member of HETI. The following nations were represented:

Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece, Russia, Malta, Finland, United Kingdom, Norway, Ireland, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.


The conference was opened with a workshop led by Anne Rokka, head of hippotherapy education and  Sanna Mattila-Rautiainen, hippotherapy teacher, both from Finland. The workshop was about equine and human movement. We all took something with us to consider.

During our discussion times on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday morning we covered subjects such as common terminology, exchange of good practice, communication within the network and Education.


Because the term hippotherapy has a very different meaning across professions and countries, it makes it very hard to communicate with each other and to compare research. The group agreed that it wanted a term which included clarity about the profession providing the therapy, that the therapy was facilitated by an equine and that it was a clinical treatment following an individual assessment of the client. Documentation is used to note the assessment and treatment results with appropriate outcome measures. After a long discussion the majority of the group decided that it would be better to use the term Equine Facilitated Therapy instead of Hippotherapy. Using the term Equine Facilitated Physiotherapy or Equine Facilitated Speech and Language Therapy for example would make it clear what kind of therapy was being delivered with the use of an equine. This term can then also be used as Medical Subject Headings (MeSH terms) for medical databases such as MEDLINE®/PubMED®.

This also means that the name European Hippotherapy Association Network is now changed to European Equine Facilitated Therapy Network (EEFTN).

Best Practice:

A large amount of subjects were touched upon, which need further exploration in future meetings as well as online. The subjects were horse welfare, education, discharge and transition planning, session types, outcome measures, resources, equipment, research and communication.


In order to continue our networking and exchange of ideas, EEFTN has decided to communicate via Facebook and email and to develop a webpage for summaries of EEFTN’s activities, announcements of international meetings and conferences and links to relevant documentation. There will also be a member only section.


An education sub-committee has been formed to develop a process for acquiring an Equine Facilitated Therapy Certificate which would allow professionals practising equine facilitated therapy to gain recognition in other European countries to practise. The ideas are to develop an on-line exam and submission of video evidence.

Future network meetings:

EEFTN is planning to meet yearly and next year it aims to receive feedback from the Education Sub-committee, to discuss how to get recognition and funding for Equine Facilitated Therapy in the different European Countries and to exchange good practice via workshops. If you would like to be part of the EEFTN please contact Věra Lantelme, EEFTN coordinator at

Irma Prins
International Officer CPTRH
Chartered Physiotherapists in Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy
United Kingdom

HETI 2019 Spring Newsletter