Shining Hope Farms Receives Renewed Premier Accredited Center Status

Jan 24, 2023 | News, Press Releases

News Release:
For Immediate Release




MOUNT HOLLY, CHARLOTTE, & CONOVER, NC (January 24, 2023) – Shining Hope Farms is excited to announce that they have again achieved their Premier Accredited Center status with PATH Intl. (the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International), the governing organization for equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with disabilities and Veterans.


By achieving this benchmark, the Shining Hope Farms organization continues to be one of only two Premier Accredited Centers offering hippotherapy (their specialty) in the state of North Carolina, and the only one in the Charlotte Metro Area covering Mecklenburg, Gaston, and Catawba Counties. They also offer Therapeutic Riding lessons, a curriculum based Saddles & Salutes Veterans Program, and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) mental health services.


The Premier Accredited Center program provides an evaluation process that determines if a center’s programs meet the highest standards for health, safety, and the well-being of all participants and equines. Ultimately, it is designed to help the public in selecting centers that meet and exceed established industry standards, and provide the highest level quality of care.


This distinguished achievement for Shining Hope Farms demonstrates their commitment to fully satisfying industry standards. Those seeking equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT), can make an informed decision when selecting a Shining Hope Farms center by having confidence in the center’s credentials and efficacy.


Achieving this accreditation required passing a rigorous on-site visit at Shining Hope Farms’ Charlotte, Conover, and Mount Holly facilities. In doing so, Shining Hope Farms had to meet a wide range of standards in areas such as administrative practices, horse management, safety equipment, quality of instruction and treatment, facility operations, and volunteerism. Compliance with these standards was judged through interviews with staff, participant’s families, and volunteers, an audit of paperwork, and multiple demonstrations of hippotherapy, therapeutic riding and EAP sessions in action. Shining Hope Farms met 99% of all 98 standards at all locations—a rare occurrence- with three locations across the region.


“We’re thrilled to have successfully completed our accreditation” says Milinda Kirkpatrick, Executive Director, “Our priority is the safety, quality, and transparency in all we do, which we believe is echoed in this recent achievement. We are proud to serve our communities in this way.”



About Shining Hope Farms

Shining Hope Farms is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to enable children and adults to reach their full potential through the use of equine assisted activities and therapies. Programs provided include physical, occupational, and speech therapy utilizing equine movement as a treatment strategy called hippotherapy. Shining Hope Farms is the only facility offering this treatment strategy in the counties that they operate in. Equine assisted mental health counseling is also offered along with therapeutic riding for children and adults including Veterans. They are a Premier Accredited Center of PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International) as well as a member of the American Hippotherapy Association. Locations include sites in Charlotte, Mt. Holly, and Conover, NC. Between the three locations there are 30+ horses and 50 staff members consisting of occupational and physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, PATH Intl. certified riding instructors, and administrative staff, plus many wonderful volunteers. Shining Hope Farms is also a GuideStar Exchange Gold participant, a leading symbol of transparency and accountability among nonprofits. For more information, please visit the website at or call 704-827-3788.

Media Contact:

Patrice Gibson, Development Director, (813) 597-9178,

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