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Therapeutic equine Programs

Misty Meadow’s Therapeutic Equine Programs allow people with special needs to receive the holistic benefits of horseback riding under the care of skilled instructors.

A disability does not prevent someone from riding horses. In fact, people with special needs, in particular, can benefit from the increased flexibility, strength, balance, confidence and relationship building that comes with Therapeutic Riding.

Students in the TR programs at Misty Meadows are assisted by trained staff and volunteers who walk alongside and also lead the horse. Activities such as a simple obstacle course and an outdoor Sensory Trail further encourage mobility and coordination, along with verbal and non-verbal communication among riders, staff, and horses.

All of our riding instructors are certified by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Division of Animal Health. Our Therapeutic Riding instructors are also certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH), and our Equine Assisted Learning instructors by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA).

What Are Therapeutic Programs?

Therapeutic programs encompass many activities that partner with the horse. Based on input from therapists, teachers, doctors, and parents, the client's individual goals are designed to complement ongoing therapy and education.  Benefits of the equine experience are threefold: 

1. Physical - The motion of the horse stimulates the rider much like the motion of walking. Riding also relaxes and strengthens muscles while improving muscle tone, posture, balance, joint mobility, and coordination. 

2. Emotional - Interactions with horses provide a noncompetitive setting for learning new abilities, self-discipline, and improved concentration which all help in building self-confidence. 

3. Social - Horseback riding nurtures a positive self-image. Riders and handlers experience independence plus a sense of being part of a team.

Equine-related therapy and activities don't always involve riding. Everyone can benefit from being around our horses! They are fun, curious and loving animals. Come by the center to meet our herd. Experience for yourself how horses can change lives!

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Our Therapeutic Programs


Individual Therapeutic Sessions

Our instructors work with each individual to establish goals with our clients, their families, medical and psychological professionals. Each lesson is specifically designed for the individual rider. Lessons are typically half-hour or one-hour, and include tacking a horse, work in our indoor or outdoor arena or short trail rides.  Thanks to donors to our scholarship fund, no one will be turned away for inability to pay.


Semi-Private Therapeutic Sessions

We offer groups of two riders for
semi-private lessons. Goals are assessed for each rider and our instructors tailor the lessons to integrate with each riders goals.  Semi-private lessons are
one-hour long.