Professional Education/Fieldwork

Professional Education/Fieldwork

Learning Lab & Leadership

As a professional learning community, we train students and teach working professionals in the equine-assisted services field, helping the industry evolve while promoting best practices from established sources. Our credentialed staff partner with universities to conduct evidence-based research, provide college-level course work, and provide 12-week clinical practicums for occupational therapy students to satisfy their academic fieldwork requirement. With a variety of PATH, International and Para-Equestrian accredited programs to explore, we can offer unique opportunities for career and clinical training. 

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Academic Fieldwork & Research – Clinical Education for Occupational Therapy

photo of an intern working with a boy in the therapy room

The Therapy Center at Carlisle Academy partners with universities around the country to provide college-level course work as well as onsite academic fieldwork credit and capstone research for university students participating in supervised practical learning in occupational therapy. The clinical educational areas involve the intersectionality of occupational therapy theory and practice with all aspects of the CA’s Therapy Center services, including Hippotherapy/Equine-Assisted Therapy, Mental Health/Equine-Assisted Learning, Adaptive Equestrian Sports, and Working Farmscape. These programs have science and education-backed outcomes with therapeutic benefit impacting broad populations of individuals with special needs. The philosophy of the Therapy Center follows a whole person approach to health and healing, and we use horses and the natural farm setting to enhance our work. 

We offer Level 1 & 2 occupational therapy clinical placements for both short-term and long-term immersion programs. Students have an opportunity to work with children as young as 24 months old through adulthood with a variety of social, emotional, developmental and acquired conditions. Students follow a rubric which meets AOTA fieldwork standards as well as learning objectives emphasizing the biomechanics of equine movement and its impact on human function, the human to animal bond and its impact on human behavior, farm-based enrichment therapies, and treatment competencies in this non–traditional setting. All students are supervised by on-staff licensed occupational therapists as well as other site managers and field experts. All clinical placements are tuition-based programs. Students receive a bound manual of field best practices, reading guides, journaling support, and weekly riding lessons included in the tuition cost. All graduates receive a certificate of completion. 

Time & Tuition:

Occupational Therapy Clinical Education – Level 1 (full time – 1 week) – $250
Occupational Therapy Clinical Education – Level 2 (full time – 12 weeks) – $3000

A $250 deposit is required upon acceptance. Please inquire with the office for an application packet, as space is limited, and must be done in conjunction with a university partner/fieldwork coordinator. Partial scholarship funding may be available through the Carlisle Charitable Foundation, under Professional Education Scholarships.

Certificate Programs

Sam proudly displays certificate

Carlisle Academy provides Certificate Programs for a variety of equine-based skills. These programs take place onsite at the Academy and combine practical, hands-on learning with lecture-based education, adding to a person’s vocational training, micro-credentialing, career preparation or continuing education credits. These programs emphasize best practices in the chosen scope of study as well as effective teamwork and communication in the work environment, providing support for college or job applications. All graduates will receive a certificate of completion. 

All programs span 8 weeks for a total of 100 hours. Schedules can be customized to different configurations of days and hours per week. All certificate programs have a tuition of $2000, and a $250 deposit is required upon acceptance. Please inquire about an application packet. Partial scholarship funding may be available through the Carlisle Charitable Foundation, under Professional Education Scholarships.  

Carlisle Academy Certificate Programs include: 

  • Equine-Assisted Services Certificate (A Field Overview/Career Exploration) – 100 hours
  • Therapeutic Horse Handler Certificate (Industry Best Practices) – 100 hours
  • Stable Management Certificate – (Industry Best Practices, based on the Pony Club Curriculum, C-Level) – 100 hours


Carlisle’s Service-Learning Program offers community members a valuable educational exchange based on a service-learning model.  

We offer ongoing opportunities for weekly helpers known as our Apprentice Program. Apprenticeships are managed in three tiers: Side-walker, Lesson Assistant, and Equine Assistant. Our tiered system is designed to safely place any qualified participant into a role which will maximize their learning while providing valuable assistance to the programs. All apprentices will be given a training class, will gain access to approved community service credit, as well as discounted riding lessons and free auditing at all of Carlisle’s educational events. There is no fee for service-learning programs.

Photo of a therapy student throwing a ball into a hoop while on horse back.


Carlisle provides ongoing educational clinics and train the trainer programs throughout the year to the general public as well to coaches and therapists. Each opportunity is listed on the annual calendar and is eligible for continuing education credit. Recently we worked with United States Equestrian Federation to pilot the Para-Dressage Coach Certificate Program and have an ongoing relationship with the University of New England to provide a unique undergraduate course, the “Introduction to Equine-Facilitated Therapy & Wellness”, where Carlisle’s faculty combine classroom time at the University with hands-on experience at the farm to create a veritable learning lab. 

The greatest strength of this course was the format (half lecture, half lab). Most of the learning which took place was during the hands-on portion. It allowed students to discover the ins and outs of equine therapy and interact with clients in real time, observing how interesting and (at times) challenging that could be. I enjoyed learning about all the theoretical evidence/knowledge surrounding hippotherapy but then experiencing it in person as well.

– UNE Student, Occupational Health & Wellness Program


Carlisle Academy offers mentorships for equine therapy and sports professionals/ practitioners to advance their personal and professional development. Carlisle Academy staff have obtained a unique set of credentials from Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist, to PATH, International Advanced Instructor, to Silver Level Para-Dressage Coach. All mentoring is priced per the estimated project and timeframe, based on a rate of $60 per hour. Please inquire with the office for details

For more information, contact the office at 207-985-0374, or email your inquiry to