Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program

​​​Therapeutic Horseback Riding is for individuals with physical, cognitive or psychological challenges that limit their ability to participate in a typical riding program.

The purpose of this activity is to provide a safe, structured environment for individuals with challenges. This activity allows participants to engage in meaningful, age appropriate activities and/or as a viable compliment to physical, occupational or speech therapies.
The multi-dimensional movement of the horse has been shown to positively affect physical, psychological and behavioral functioning in individuals with barriers such as Spina Bifida, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, visually or hearing impaired, emotional, developmental and learning challenged. It has also been shown to be effective in seniors as a viable recreational activity with aerobic advantages. All the participants we serve benefit directly from: increased mobility, flexibility and strength as well as an improved sense of responsibility, self- control, and self-esteem and team dynamics.

Due to the special needs of our participants, The CENTER is a highly specialized program, capable of meeting their needs. Through modified equipment, modified instruction, rider evaluation, progress reporting, qualified staffing and horses not found in a standard riding facility. Specifically, there will be one instructor present during each riding session; all lessons are one on one instruction. Group lessons are done only at the request of riders or parents requesting a socialization component be added. The ability of the rider determines if additional staffing is needed and to what extent.

Maximum staffing per rider is three, as balance and stability are gained, the need for help may be reduced. Horsemanship skills are taught to the individual rider’s ability and are not the primary focus of the session. Increasing strength, flexibility, mobility and balance are stressed. In consideration of individuals within the Autism Spectrum Disorder or with learning delays, educational aspects can be incorporated in the lessons using shapes, letters, numbers and sight cards. As skills are developed, they will also be challenged by following directions that are more complex or chained. Individuals can be exposed to different tactile experiences as well as sight and smells. Individuals with emotional challenges can use the horse itself as a mode to healing. The horse and the relationship that develops provides companionship, trust, understanding and unconditional love.

The CENTER provides a resolute standard of operation that is reassuring and consistent.
This provides stability and a safe environment in which to grow and learn.




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The CENTER for Therapeutic and Educational Riding, Inc.
At-Risk Youth/Trauma Informed Care Program

The purpose of this program is to provide a safe, structured environment designed for youth that exhibit at risk behaviors such as delinquency, school dropout or suicidal thoughts. We also would like to find youth in which participation may stop the behavior before it begins to be problematic. By using horses, animals and the farm itself, The CENTER provides a positive alternative to after school, Peek-A-Boo weekend and summer activities that simply compound the problems of this population.

​One program for at-risk youth and prevention includes an 8-week/ two times weekly class of six (6) participants with a staffing ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 (depending on the specific needs of the group) minimum. The program will be run with the cooperation of the neighboring public school districts, neighboring counseling services, as well as alternative school programs throughout Delaware. A qualified instructor, assisted by trained volunteers, will staff this program and staff from each of the participating agencies accompany the students.

Our goal is to equip youth with real life skills taught on the farm, practiced on the farm and transferred into their everyday lives. Concepts such as self-esteem, confidence, team dynamics, trust, respect, decision making, ownership, responsibility and appropriate risk taking are all addressed in the program. Activities are designed to encourage these skills
and are based on the specific needs of each group.

This program uses all the assets available to The CENTER. Programming will primarily be group participation and in a set number of sessions. Lesson content is developed to accommodate the needs of each particular group. Horses are used in husbandry, developing work ethic and trust and are offered as a riding opportunity that is reward based. The largest component consists of all the opportunities our farm program allows. Participants learn how to care for the animals and birds, conservation practices, renewable resources, stewardship and giving back. A greenhouse and garden program allows the participants to experience a “seed-to-table” project. This directly ties into opportunities to learn healthy eating habits.

​Mini workshops introduce the population to carpentry building and other skill-building projects. Other workshops address team building and problem solving.

​This At Risk Youth and Prevention Program is unlimited in its ability to meet the requirements and needs of any collaborating program.
Seniors Active Living Program

Our interest is to provide an additional recreational or rehabilitative activity to the seniors in our community. Our facility is designed to accommodate the special needs of individuals with physical challenges thus allowing us too easily accommodate the special needs of the average senior. Use of the handicapped ramping system allows the rider to easily mount the horse, specialized horse, trained to accommodate individuals with balance and strength issues make excellent mounts. Riding meets all the criteria for aerobic exercise except for intensity. Riding skills are taught to the level of interest and ability of each rider. This program is offered as either a group or private lesson format. All participants are encouraged to come early and help groom their horse, socialize and share in all the farm has to offer.

Adult Day Program
The purpose of the Adult Day Program is to incorporate memory, social interaction, physical activities and motor skills. In this way, adults with varying backgrounds and situations will have an activity that will enhance their quality of life.

The Adult Day Program offers sessions running for six weeks with up to six adults attending once a week for 1-2 hours. They will be introduced to a variety of activities including grooming and communing with the horses and other animals on the farm in addition to gardening. All areas are ADA accessible with restroom facilities.

A qualified instructor assisted by trained volunteers and accompanied by staff from each of the participating agencies will staff this program.


The CENTER reaches out to Adult Day Care facilities, Alzheimer/Dementia organizations, and adult Autism facilities, people that have aged out of other programs and Group homes for individuals with physical/mental challenges. Outcomes for this program are measured using an entrance and exit client and/or caregiver questionnaire using a rubric and/or Likert scale to calculate outcomes and track progress over time.
Our Farm for Everyone (OFFE)

OFFE is a fully immersed, on the farm program using farm animals, horses and the land itself. It is designed to be a fun and interactive experience that has a little hard work hidden inside.

​OFFE is offered as a 4, 8 or 12 week program and can accommodate class sizes up to six participants. Single day opportunities can be arranged. For those in weekly sessions, lesson content is designed to build on the previous week’s content.

This program has been developed to serve any population that will find value in the empowerment, camaraderie, and educational opportunities OFFE can afford them. Lesson content will be tailored to the needs of its participants and all activities will be ADA accessible.

OFFE program outcomes are measured using an entrance and exit client and/or parent questionnaire along with a pre/post skills checklist for clients using a rubric and/or Likert scale to calculate outcomes and track progress over time.

We are proud to present the following components of the program developed by The CENTER for our OFFE project:

● Seed to Table Program – A Gardener’s Adventure
● Going Green – Exploring how easy it is to help and heal our environment
● Release and Habitat Improvement – Giving back to the environment and building new homes for wildlife
● Husbandry – Hard work with a sense of pride.
● Horsemanship – Learning responsibility, taking ownership all while adding a lot of love
● Babies Meeting Babies – ages 1-4 years to learn how to care for animals as facilitators for developmental milestones. Learning colors, numbers, and shapes
● Growing Young Minds on the Farm – ages 3-8 years old with 75% of the children having a low socioeconomic status and/or developmental delays