The programs of the Hippotherapy* and Therapeutic Riding Center are geared toward physically and mentally challenged children and adults, who, because of trauma, debilitating illnesses, birth defects or life-threatening diseases, require rehabilitation.

These individuals improve muscle strength, coordination, flexibility, balance, self-discipline, self-esteem and their sense of accomplishment.



Patients who are terminally ill or have experienced major trauma benefit from the motion of the horse that moves their joints and stretches their muscles more effectively and less painfully than conventional therapies.

The most unique component of riding therapy is the movement of the horse. This three dimensional movement has proven extremely effective in establishing balance, co-ordination and perception. The movement so closely resembles our human gait that for those that cannot walk or have suffered head trauma, it initiates the rhythm needed for their own independent steps. For those students that will never walk, the horse’s steady movement stimulates their brain and neurological system, along with their legs and hips, preventing atrophy of the walking muscles.

The movement of the horse stimulates the brain and neurologic system, and maintains flexibility of the legs and hips, thereby helping to prevent atrophy of the walking muscles.



"They leave their limitations outside the ring and ride these gentle horses. They have self-esteem. They are doing something that even their parents and even able-bodied brothers and sisters often can't do." Irene Gaven, Times Chronicle



In the past, the medical community as well as the general public underestimated the effectiveness of riding therapy. As positive research evidence mounted, its benefits could no longer be ignored. Medical doctors and therapists alike have discovered that riding therapy can achieve results that cannot be achieved in the gym or in other traditional therapy settings.

Riding therapy has also found to be effective with mentally challenged, as well as emotionally disturbed and behavior challenged individuals. The development of a relationship with the horse who offers unconditional love and who is non-judgmental creates a bond. This allows the student to relate his human/horse relationship to those around him, often forming a bond and improving communication skills, socialization, personal development and self-esteem.


By participating in the care of a horse and being recognized in a public situation, a behaviorally challenged student learns self-discipline and a sense of accomplishment. This inevitably leads to elevated self-esteem and self-confidence.


Our Goal

At The Four Harmony Foundation, our goal is to develop a program suited to individuals with mental, physical, emotional and behavioural challenges.

The following are immediate needs that would allow us to enhance our program and serve the disabled/challenged community:

  • Suitable horse donation
  • Sponsorship of therapeutic horses
  • Wheelchair accessible mounting ramp
  • Driving carriage for wheelchair bound students
  • Funds for employment of in-house physical, recreational, occupational and speech therapists
  • Lesson sponsorship for under-privileged students.

Many emotions that we experience on a daily basis are second nature to us, but challenged individuals may not experience these emotions because of the way society has labeled them. It is our desire to offer challenged individuals the same opportunities as the able-bodied individuals. To offer main-stream riding, develop horse shows in affiliation with Special Olympics, to involve juvenile delinquents in the participation of helping the physically and mentally challenged, and to help agencies recognize that an opportunity to give to others is therapeutic for those who have this label.


Our goal is to study our behaviorally challenged individuals through interaction with the horse and begin rebuilding their learning foundation based on the four domains of learning: cognitive, psychomotor, organic and affective.



Often students who have learning disabilities that are not recognized are labeled with an attitude. Students that are products of dysfunctional families are often overloaded with the same sensory input and are unable to affectively process organic and cognitive information. This causes a malfunction in the psychomotor domain of learning and creates teaching, learning and behavioral frustration.

We offer a learning situation conducive to success for all our participants. Through participation in our program students/patients take an active role in their own therapy, often reaching goals more quickly because of their increased motivation and commitment.


At The Four Harmony Foundation, our goal is to offer more opportunity for disabled students to apply their skills and be accepted and recognized in society. Our challenged riders are often segregated from society and do not have opportunities to interact and participate in events that able-bodied individuals do. Riding is a skill that can be learned by all and our desire is to give these challenged individuals an opportunity to participate, practice and experience the thrill and challenge of riding, as well as the physical experience of the event and the self esteem of participating in a discipline with able-bodied riders.



A. Expand our existing Hippotherapy & Therapeutic Riding Program to include the following:

HEAD TRAUMA PROGRAM - to work closely with residential and nonresidential rehabilitation centers, with the major goal being to help them regain their independence

DRIVING PROGRAM - an opportunity for special needs students to expand their knowledge in other equine related avenues as well as to provide an alternative to riding. A wheel chair accessible carriage will allow students with severe physical disabilities, as well as those with mild disabilities, to participate

VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAM - To become associated with schools and hospitals and offer a program to people from the community with disabilities to expand job opportunities in the equine field

EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY - to use horses to help students assume responsibility and to understand the need for careing and nurturing. This therapy provides the student with an unconditional love and acceptance that only animals can provide

TERMINAL ILLNESS - an opportunity for self-love and involvement with a horse out of the sterile setting of a hospital. A hands on therapy program to integrate the outside world and the healing powers of an animal in a nurturing yet constructive environment that involves both mind and body

B. Our existing program includes students with Autism, learning disabilities and developmental disabilities. From the existing 4 students, our goal is to increase the number of students to 10, as well as acquire 5 additional students from each of the categories above. In order to accommodate 40 students per week, the following objectives for the fiscal year beginning 11/10/01 must be met:

a) Funds for staff and volunteer training and certification in order to expand and meet the above criteria. Instructor training - 4 instructors needed $1,000.00 per instructor for training = $4,000.00 Volunteer training course - 20 volunteers $100.00 per volunteer for training = $2000.00

b) Funds for non-volunteer therapists - 40 hours of equine assisted therapy per week $1,000 per week *

c) Instructors salary - 40 hours of therapeutic instruction per week - $1,000.00 per week (40 x $25.00)*

d) Horse donations - 5 therapy horses donated or purchased. Approx. funds for purchase $2,000.00 per horse=$10,000

e) Horse trial testing and training period, one month of board and training - $1,000.00 per horse x 5 =$5,000

f) Daily horse sponsorship, including hay, feed, bedding, stall and care $15.00 per day, $465.00 per month per horse x 5 = $2,325.00 per month*

g) Annual preventative care, worming, inoculations, dental car and vet checks $83.00 per month per horse x 5 = $415.00 per month*

h) Monthly farrier expense $30.00 per horse per month x 5 = $150.00 per month*

i) Operating expenses, including but not limited to facility use, electricity, office supplies, telephone expenses, billing, insurance $500.00 per month

j) Therapeutic accessories wheelchair accessible mounting ramp $2,000.00, safety belt $20.00, natural ride bareback pad $$120.00, safety stirrups $54.00, saddle $500.00therapeutic riding surcingle $150.00, driving carriage $2,500.00, therapeutic reins $100.00, riding helmets x 10 = $400.00

k) Therapeutic riding sponsorship $35.00 per child per week =$140.00 will sponsor a child for a month

l) Grooming utensils, blankets, buckets, halters, donations or $200.00 per horse x 5 = $1,000.00



One time only:

$400.00 will purchase 10 riding helmets
$2,000.00 - a wheelchair accessible mounting ramp
$200.00 - 10 safety belts
$240.00 - 2 bareback pads
$108.00 - 2 pair of safety stirrups
$500.00 - a saddle
$150.00 - a riding surcingle
$2,500.00 - wheelchair accessible driving carriage
$200.00 - 2 pair or reins
$120.00 - 2 bridles
$200.00 - grooming utensils, buckets and halters and a blanket for one horse
$2,000.00 - a therapeutic riding horse
$1,000,00 - will sponsor a horse for training and suitability trial month
$1,000.00 - will put one instructor through training
$100.00 - will put one volunteer through training


$1000.00 will support 40 hours of therapist or instructor salary per week
$465.00 - one horse for one month with feed, care, bedding, supplements and hay
$85.00 - one horse for medical and preventative care per month
$30.00 - farrier expenses for one horse for one month
$500.00 - operating expenses for one month
$140.00 - one student's riding therapy per month

* HIPPOTHERAPY - a physical therapy using the horse's three dimensional movement as a therapeutic tool. Physical therapists who volunteer their time work with students that are severely physically disabled. This is one of the most progressive treatments used to improve posture, balance, mobility and function in select students.


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