The Human Equine Interaction Register (HEIR) was launched to a packed room of eminent figures from across the equestrian world at Saddlers’ Hall London on Friday 11th March in preparation for Go live on Thursday 31st March. 

Media Release – Tuesday 23rd March 2022 

Natasha Baker OBE, Patron of the Register said, “It’s a massive, honour to be the patron of HEIR.  I think that coming up through Riding for the Disabled and benefitting not just physically but through friendships, mixing with people with similar interests, and meeting people with different disabilities & challenges, has given me so much and without it, I wouldn’t have 6 Gold Medals to my name. There are so many individuals and organisations out there that provide these services and people need to be able to find them to access the service that best suits their needs. I am really excited to watch the Register grow.”   

The number of Human-Equine Interaction programmes available in the UK have increased significantly over the past decade and the scope, size and professional backgrounds of these services vary greatly, with little co-ordination as to standards of practice for service users, practitioners, or equines.

The Register will be opened to the UK as a voluntary register to bring together everyone involved in the field of human equine interaction, ensuring high quality service provision and create greater awareness of this field of work.

Nigel Payne, MBE said, “At the Sir Peter O’ Sullevan Trust, we get an enormous amount of applications for funding where charities suggest that they are experts in equine assisted therapy but it is vital that we know that they are recognised through a form of ‘kitemark’. This Register is perfect because we would like to be able to access a database, know what they do, where they are located and that they are safe to practice. This is so important as it avoids potential harm to service users and horses. As a Grantmaker we need to know that they have been endorsed to be on the Register.

The Register seeks to provide trust and confidence in the sector to:- 

·         Protect and promote providers

·         Protect the participants of the service

·         Protect the equines

It is hoped the HEIR will provide a forum for organisations to work together to have a louder voice across the industry, for example, in government where there is a need to be able to influence. There is no way of knowing how many practitioners there are in the UK, which is one of the reasons that a Register which pulls together all practitioners, whether they are already regulated through a professional body or working in an unregulated sector is needed. 

Ed Bracher, Chief Executive of RDA UK and Chair of the HEIR Steering Group added. “I think the development of the Register is a huge step forward in getting the field of human equine interaction in the UK working together, building credibility with those that matter and making sure that we are all working to sensible and meaningful standards. It will take the industry forward with a giant leap.”

The Register will provide a place where clients, service commissioners and funders can get information and reassurance that the organisation offering human equine interaction services is credible and works to minimum standards. This will not only help protect the services users and welfare of therapy equines, but also reassure anyone using these invaluable services that they are working ethically and with the horses’ best interests at heart.

Individual practitioners and organisations on the Register will have submitted documents and evidence to confirm that they align to and meet five criteria: 

  • Professionalism: competence to practice and commitment to professional development
  • Equine welfare: high equine welfare and management standards
  • Service provision and service user engagement: communication of services and the potential benefits 
  • Benefits and impact: professional reflection of the benefits and impact of the service being provided
  • Governance: sufficient management and governance structures in place

The register will operate under the umbrella of the Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International(HETI), a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates collaborations between organisations and individuals offering equine-assisted activities and therapies.

More information about the Register can be found here