Therapeutic Riding

Learn more about our programs by watching this video made possible by The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, Bill Villafranco, and Big Pup Productions.

Did you know the movement of a horse mimics the movement of a human’s walk? When a person riding a horse experiences this movement they receive physical, sensory, and neurological stimulation, as if they are walking long distances. Horses have different styles of movement. Riders with disabilities receive benefits on a horse that they could not receive through walking or other daily activities. A rider may struggle with lateral, rotational or other limited movements. Each horse offers unique primary and secondary movements that are specifically helpful with certain physical or cognitive limitations of a rider.

Benefits of Therapeutic Riding

The benefits include improved posture and balance, stronger muscles, cognitive improvements, improved hand-eye coordination, improved fine and gross motor control, enhanced communication skills, increased self-confidence and self-esteem and new problem solving skills.

Many riders experience a freedom of motion and ability they simply do not or cannot enjoy in other aspects of their lives.

Who is Eligible for the Therapeutic Riding Program?

NTRC offers therapeutic riding lessons to people who have cognitive, physical and emotional disabilities. To enroll in the program, riders must be at least four-years old. While therapeutic riding and equine-assisted therapies address more than 50 distinct disabilities and additional needs, there are standardized precautions and contraindications. At times, we cannot accept a rider based on PATH guidelines.

How Does Someone Enroll in the Therapeutic Riding Program?

If you, or someone you know, is interested in enrolling in NTRC’s Therapeutic Riding program, please visit the “How to Enroll” section by clicking the button below.


When are Lessons?

Lessons are scheduled daily, except for Fridays and Sundays. Due to the heat and summer camps, the schedule for the summer months is limited (June through August). There are no therapeutic riding lessons in August and on certain holidays throughout the year.

Therapeutic Riding Groups

To better identify riders by age and goals, instructors assign each person to a group: Palominos, Appaloosas, Thoroughbreds, Mustangs and Clydesdales. This is a fun way for riders to identify themselves and build camaraderie. Groups are decided based on the following criteria: mounting, verbal skills, physical skills, ability to process, adaptive equipment, sidewalkers needed, leaders required, grooming and tacking, and age.

About Our Instructors

NTRC is accredited at the “premier” level by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.). NTRC’s team consists of six PATH International Certified Instructors, all of whom hold the Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification and two of whom hold the additional Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning certification. All instructors perform evaluations, assessments and create individualized treatment programs for therapeutic riders. Check out our instructors here!

Inclement Weather Policy and Communications

When the heat index is over 100 degrees, lessons will be canceled due to the effect the heat and humidity has on the horses, riders and volunteers. When the wind chill is 45 degrees or lower, lessons will be canceled. If there is lightning or a strong threat of lightning, lessons will be canceled. Cancellations will be affirmed by the Program Director to Participants and Volunteers.