Best Practice Guidelines

for Eponaquest Instructors of the Eponaquest Approach to Equine Facilitated Learning

Eponaquest® Mission Statement

Eponaquest® (Eponaquest) is a multi-disciplinary educational organization where humans, horses and other animals are supported in co-creating a new way of being, one that emphasizes authenticity, collaboration, and experimentation. The emphasis is on learning how to thrive rather than simply survive, expanding both human and animal consciousness/potential.

Eponaquest considers the constant interplay of body, mind, spirit, and emotion, developing intuition, flexibility, and inter-subjective relationship skills to balance Western indoctrination in logic, rigid methodology, competitiveness and objectivity — ultimately bringing these opposites into an empowered balance. Conventional and unconventional theories on the nature of human and animal consciousness/behavior are investigated, challenged, and constantly updated through a process of experiential investigation.


The Eponaquest Approach to Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) is an interactive, innovative learning format that actively engages horses in the work of advanced human development and leadership training, teaching assertiveness, personal empowerment, relationship, intuition and emotional/social fitness skills. The overarching objective is to assist and support clients in learning a new way of being, one that emphasizes authenticity, collaboration and experimentation in personal and professional interactions. Graduates of an Eponaquest Apprenticeship training program are considered Eponaquest Instructors.

Only those Eponaquest Instructors who are also trained and qualified mental health workers, who are certified or licensed and in good standing according to the regulations of the state or country in which they practice, are authorized to integrate Eponaquest EFL principles and techniques into their therapeutic or counseling practice and to designate themselves as Eponaquest Equine Facilitated Psychotherapists.

Eponaquest Instructors agree to give and receive constructive feedback from one another in order to maintain the highest integrity in the greater Eponaquest community. As individuals we subscribe to the value of self-examination in order to promote personal growth in ethics. We make the following agreements and subscribe to the following Best Practice Guidelines for Instructors of the Eponaquest Approach to Equine Facilitated Learning (“Guidelines”), which specifically apply to our relationship to clients, colleagues and the horses of our Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) Practice.

Any person who believes she/he may have experienced a violation of the Eponaquest Guidelines by an Eponaquest Instructor can request a review of his/her concern(s) by contacting Eponaquest Worldwide using an email link on the Eponaquest website (} which provides instructions for how to proceed. Those requesting a review may be clients, workshop site hosts, other Instructors, the Eponaquest Program Director or collaborators.

The signed Guidelines are not intended to be a legally binding agreement but rather a description of mutually accepted educational, behavioral, and professional goals and guidelines for the practice of the Eponaquest Approach to Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL).  Should there be a pending or active legal proceeding involving an Eponaquest Instructor with regard to the practice of EFL, Eponaquest Worldwide will forego reviewing any complaint pertaining to that Instructor until those legal proceedings have been officially adjudicated, completed, and resolved.


Principles and Standards of Practice Guidelines

Principle 1: Competency

We shall represent ourselves only within the parameters of our experience, competence and professional training and act accordingly. We shall request assistance from our supervisor and/or other Eponaquest Instructors or professionals the benefit and safety of our clients and horses.

Standard of Practice 1.1

We maintain competence in our work. In addition to our original Eponaquest training, we recognize and continually augment our personal contributions, gifts and fields of study that inform our EFL work and we acknowledge the boundaries and limitations of our knowledge and experience. We practice EFL only within these self-identified boundaries and limitations based on our level of education, training, and experience

Standard of Practice 1.2

We refer clients to appropriate professionals when we are unable to address or meet their needs and/or when an unresolved conflict has arisen in our work with them.

Standard of Practice 1.3

We pursue personal and professional development through further education, training, supervision, and practice, including continuing education as provided by Eponaquest. At all times we maintain a level of introspection and an awareness of our own process so as to create a deeper connection to our authentic selves that will translate into effective teaching.

Standard of Practice 1.4

We commit to seeking and receiving feedback from other Eponaquest Instructors in the Eponaquest community, when appropriate, and we are responsible for giving feedback to our fellow Instructors if they appear to be failing to comply with these Guidelines while also maintaining client confidentiality.

Standard of Practice 1.5

We seek professional assistance for our own personal problems or conflicts which may impair our professional judgments and endanger either the clients or the horses.

Standard of Practice 1.6

We understand we are expected by Eponaquest to seek supervision with an approved instructor supervisor for a minimum of 6 sessions during the time immediately prior to and/or after we begin to offer Eponaquest Approach workshops. Subsequently, Instructors are encouraged to have access to a supervisory resource for support as needed.

Principle 2: Confidentiality

We shall maintain confidentiality regarding clients’ personal issues and information, including financial information.

Standard of Practice 2.1

A discussion of confidentiality must occur at the onset of the professional relationship between an Eponaquest instructor and client. We respect the right of clients to decide the extent to which confidential materials are shared. Therefore, we may not disclose client confidences except:

a.) When discussing client issues with our Eponaquest approved supervisor or other appropriate professional or coach, who in turn must maintain confidentiality.

b.) As mandated by law.

c.) To prevent a clear and immediate danger.

d.) Where the Eponaquest Instructor is a defendant in civil, criminal, or disciplinary action arising from EFL services, and is required by law to provide otherwise confidential information.

e.) When there is a waiver/release previously obtained in writing from the client, in which case such information may be revealed only in accordance with the terms of the waiver.

Standard of Practice 2.2

When consulting with an Eponaquest colleague about a client, Instructors shall maintain client confidentiality by not disclosing any information that would identify the client.

Principle 3: Safety

We shall create a safe setting for clients and horses and ask clients to sign a written safety agreement.  A sample of such an agreement, as defined by the Eponaquest Safety Contract is included as Exhibit A in the Appendix of these Guidelines.

Standard of Practice 3.1

We ensure that all EFL activities are designed and conducted in a manner that respects and provides for the safety, dignity and welfare of horses and clients.

Standard of Practice 3.2

Through our interview and/or application process, we make a concerted effort to determine that individuals applying to attend an EFL group possess the ability to participate in and benefit from the group experience and activities with horses.

Standard of Practice 3.3

In choosing instructional activities we make every effort to ensure that the inherent level of emotional and physical challenge will be appropriate to the emotional agility, skill level, and well-being of the horses and clients involved.

Principle 4: Horses as Partners

We honor and respect our horses as our partners and co-facilitators in this work.

Standard of Practice 4.1

We regard the welfare of the horses entrusted to our care as paramount to the work of EFL. The horses’ choice to engage in this work or with a particular client is honored, trusted, and supported at all times, as is their health and care. We are open to constructive feedback on their care and well-being.

Principle 5: Welfare of the Clients

We are guided by our desire to co-create a new way of being and acting in the world with clients and horses and not solely by a desire for monetary gain.

Standard of Practice 5.1

We respect the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual autonomy of our clients. We listen to their sharing and provide a safe container for their personal processes to unfold. To that end we integrate the Eponaquest Values and the Authentic Community Building Agreements into our EFL practice, as found in Exhibits B and C in the Appendix of these Guidelines.

Standard of Practice 5.2

We respect the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality and self-determination in making decisions. We support them in considering the consequences of their choices, and empower them to chart a course for their lives by helping them differentiate between false/conditioned self-beliefs and the activation of the authentic self.

Principle 6: Conduct With Clients

We conduct ourselves responsibly with clients and are sensitive to the real and perceived difference in power between ourselves and our clients.

Standard of Practice 6.1

We understand that in practicing EFL we are facilitating a process that elicits strong emotions and has the potential for activating projection, transference and counter-transference, which need to be recognized, managed, and honored with skill and integrity by Eponaquest Instructors.

Standard of Practice 6.2

We commit to conduct that supports our ability to remain fully present in our work, which includes the time prior to and following facilitating sessions and programs with clients.

Standard of Practice 6.3

We agree not to use any mood altering substances, including alcohol, except those prescribed by a physician, such as anti-depressants, while actively engaged with clients. Use of illegal substances or abuse of psychoactive substances with clients where Eponaquest EFL is being practiced is cause for immediate suspension of Eponaquest Instructor status.

Standard of Practice 6.4

Sexual intimacy with current clients is prohibited. We do not invite, respond to, or allow any sexual contact with our clients or workshop participants.

Standard of Practice 6.5

Eponaquest Instructors engaging in sexual intimacy with former clients bear the burden of proof that no exploitation exists.

Principle 7: Professional Conduct

We are honest, fair and forthcoming in our professional relationships. We work to clarify our roles and obligations, accept responsibility for our behavior and decisions and adapt our methods to the needs of clients and horses.

Standard of Practice 7.1

We maintain an awareness of the effect that our own belief systems, values, needs and limitations may have on our EFL work.

Standard of Practice 7.2

We are aware of our influential position with respect to clients and actively avoid exploiting their trust, skills or inclination for dependency. Dual relationships (that is a situation where the Instructor has a relationship with a client in addition to the Instructor/client relationship, such as: being members of the same organization or acquaintances in the same social circle) create particularly challenging conditions. In situations where such a relationship is unavoidable, it is essential that clear and appropriate boundaries be established to prevent misunderstandings or relationship confusion that could adversely affect the client and/or the EFL work with them.

Standard of Practice 7.3

We are sensitive to and respectful of the fact that clients and horses have varying degrees of comfort with physical contact. Except when safety is a factor, clients and horses have the right to limit or refuse physical contact and to set appropriate boundaries with Eponaquest Instructors, other clients and other horses.

Standard of Practice 7.4

We understand that as Instructors it is not advisable to have family members or close friends as clients in our workshops when non-family members or friends are participating.

Standard of Practice 7.5

When working with a group, Instructors recognize that a qualified co-facilitator or assistant is valuable and encouraged.

Standard of Practice 7.6

We provide referrals or references to clients who, in our judgment, would benefit from support for possible mental health issues or equestrian challenges.

Standard of Practice 7.7

We consult with, refer to and cooperate with other professionals to the full extent necessary to serve the best interests of horses and clients.

Standard of Practice 7.8

We seek to obtain appropriate releases of information from clients to minimize the risk of confusion and conflict. A sample release form may be found as Exhibit D in the appendix of these Guidelines.

Standard of Practice 7.9

Because of our ability to influence the lives of others and affect the field of EFL, we exercise special care when offering our professional recommendations and opinions.

Standard of Practice 7.10

We ensure that all our staff, volunteers and/or assistants involved in EFL programs or trainings are adequately trained to perform their tasks competently, and that they are aware of and knowledgeable about the Eponaquest Best Practice Guidelines for Instructors of the Eponaquest Approach to Equine Facilitated Learning.

Standard of Practice 7.11

All actively practicing Eponaquest Instructors are advised for their own protection to be covered by liability insurance for their practice of EFL.

Principle 8: Eponaquest Instructor Community Relations

We commit to modeling the principles of the Eponaquest Approach by acting in cooperative, mutually supportive, and emotionally/socially agile ways with other Eponaquest Instructors, staff, employees and faculty. We exercise Eponaquest based relationship skills and use appropriate Eponaquest tools and procedures should interpersonal conflicts arise.

Standard of Practice 8.1

As part of our intention to convey the wisdom that horses are bringing for social change in the world, we recognize that we must raise our own personal and professional standards as ambassadors of this new way of relating and leading. We, therefore, commit to developing and abiding by the following qualities and skills:

 a) Competence with The Authentic Community Building Agreements.

b) Sensitivity toward other people’s vulnerabilities and never using their vulnerabilities against them. For the purposes of this standard, we use the definition of vulnerabilities in Patrick Lencioni’s 2002 book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable as “weaknesses [or challenges], skill deficiencies, interpersonal shortcomings, mistakes, and requests for help.”

c) A willingness to assume responsibility for our actions and for making changes as appropriate.
 d) The ability to stay present and thoughtful during difficult situations.

Standard of Practice 8.2

We shall make every effort to address directly with the parties, and in a timely fashion, any issues, concerns or disagreements we have with other Eponaquest Instructors, staff, employees or faculty members involved in a good faith process that includes the following aspects:

a) The issues and concerns involved should never be shared with clients or uninvolved Eponaquest Instructors. Violating this standard is grounds for a complaint to be registered with Eponaquest.

The Instructor is encouraged to use the Eponaquest Conflict Resolution Procedure and/or the Challenging Conversations Structured Format for Feedback procedures as guides for addressing the problem. Information about and formats for both procedures may be found as Exhibits E and F in the Appendix of these Guidelines.

b) To prepare for that conversation, the Instructor may seek confidential support, advice, counsel and coaching from one trusted, knowledgeable and practicing Eponaquest colleague, Eponaquest approved supervisor, or a professional coach or counselor. The person consulted must agree to maintain confidentiality regarding the people and issues involved.

c) When sufficiently prepared, the Instructor will address the issues, concerns or disagreement directly with the party in question.

d) If the Eponaquest individuals(s) involved refuse to engage in either the Eponaquest Conflict Resolution Procedure or the Challenging Conversations – Structured Format for Feedback procedure, the Instructor may file a complaint with the Eponaquest.

Principle 9: Business Relations

We shall maintain clear and honest business practices with clients, employees, other instructors and the public, including making clear agreements regarding appointments, workshop times and fees for clients, clear employment policies and practices regarding hours, responsibilities, benefits and compensation, and explicit and accurate information regarding program ownership and marketing practices.

Standard of Practice 9.1

We make accurate statements to clients regarding our qualifications, training, services, products and fees, and we charge appropriate fees, which are disclosed prior to commencement of services.

Standard of Practice 9.2

We require clients to sign a release and waiver of indemnification/hold harmless form before they may participate in any Eponaquest program that an Instructor is conducting. A sample Release and Hold Harmless Form may be found at Exhibit G in the appendix to these Guidelines.

Standard of Practice 9.3

As Eponaquest Instructors we understand that the privilege of listing Eponaquest introductory workshops we offer on the Eponaquest website is contingent upon there being an Eponaquest policy granting that privilege and that those listings comply with the Listing Requirements, as described in the Eponaquest Introductory Workshop Policy available in the Eponaquest business office:

Standard of Practice 9.4

Clients are to be well informed of the confidentiality, outcomes, risks and mutual responsibilities associated with EFL services and activities prior to their participation. For clients engaged in EFL work with an Instructor beyond a workshop or intensive, we encourage that the above information be provided in writing.

Standard of Practice 9.5

To the extent that sources other than those authored or created as original by the Instructor – such as, but not limited to, written, photographic, artistic, graphic materials, and/or intellectual concepts — are borrowed, referenced, quoted, and/or cited in the Instructor’s workshop, promotional, and/or published materials, said sources are to be explicitly acknowledged.

Standard of Practice 9.6

We will honor the trademark, logo, website and other program identification rights of other Eponaquest Instructors by gaining written permission for their use in marketing or promotional materials when requested.

Standard of Practice 9.7

If we offer training programs in EFL and/or complementary disciplines, we clearly define, differentiate and disclose to prospective clients the designation(s) to be earned and the qualifications they can claim after training completion, including a clear statement in promotional and course description materials that graduates of said program(s) shall not be designated as Eponaquest Instructors.

Standard of Practice 9.8

We recognize that occasional pro bono contributions of our time and expertise can support the greater good of our community and promote awareness of the benefits of EFL.

Principle 10: Eponaquest Commitment to the Best Practice Guidelines for Instructors of the Eponaquest Approach to Equine Facilitated Learning

We shall respond immediately and respectfully to any complaints or concerns brought to our attention by Eponaquest by workshop participants, individual clients, and the public, and/or by Eponaquest Instructors or the Program Director.




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